This page will describe the current methods of playing GBA (as well as GBC games) on a TV or monitor. Original Game Boy games can also be played on the Super Nintendo via the Super Game Boy.
Here are the current methods for playing GBA games on a TV or monitor:
The GBAz allows you to install an FPGA kit into an original GBA and get true digital HDMI output from the console. Please check out the full review for more info: https://youtu.be/GG8uTePBI3k / https://www.game-tech.us/product/gba-consolizer/
Much like the Super Game Boy, the Game Boy Player (abbreviated as ‘GBP’ on this page) is an attachment for the Game Cube that allows you to play GB, GBC and GBA games through your Game Cube’s output. If you use the Game Boy Player hardware with the homebrew Game Boy Interface software (as opposed to the original GBP disc), you’ll get an excellent experience with tons of options.
While the MiSTer can’t read original GBA carts, it’s an excellent and lag-free way to play ROMS. The games can also be played on an RGB monitor, VGA monitor, or through the MiSTer’s HDMI output in all resolutions up to 1440p. Overall, the MiSTer allows the most output options for playing GBA games, but can’t use any original hardware or accessories.
The Wii U has Virtual Console versions of some GBA games that look great. As long as the game you’re looking to play is available, it’s a great choice. Please check out the GBA on Wii U page for more info.
The Retron 5 can play GB/GBC/GBA cartridges, but it has some shortcomings. There’s much more info available in the Retron 5 Review Page, but to summarize: There is a lot of controller lag on the Retron 5 when playing GB/GBC games, but not much delay at all with GBA. Overall, it isn’t a bad solution, but I’d prefer to use official Nintendo hardware.
There is an adapter available that allows you to play GBA games (but not GB or GBC) “through” your SNES. It plugs in just like the Super Game Boy and is powered by your SNES…but it has it’s own separate video output, which is composite-video only.
A company called Innovation made a TV-out kit that can be installed in the GBA. This had the potential to be an excellent solution, however it only outputs in 480i, resulting in a “flickery” picture. Also, a proper installation can be quite tricky.
The Wide Boy 64 is a Super Game Boy-like adapter for the N64. There are a few different versions, each designed so game reviewers can capture audio and video of handheld games using the N64’s multi-out. There are two versions: One that only plays GB/GBC and one that plays GBA/GBC and GB. They are rare and REALLY expensive, but produce a decent picture. More info below.
GBA systems display video at a resolution of 240×160 at a non-standard frequency (about 59.xHz). For it to be displayed on a TV or monitor, it needs to be converted to standard resolutions and their matching refresh rate, often resulting in frame stutter and windowed gameplay. The best solutions above won’t have and stutter or screen tearing, but won’t always fill the screen top-to-bottom.
Overall, there’s now excellent options that cover every setup. My personal favorites are the top three, but check out each and see what you prefer.