Installing the GBA BIOS¶
For most of the systems higan emulates, the console itself contains (almost) no actual software, so emulating the system does not require infringing the copyright of the hardware manufacturer. However, the Game Boy Advance is different: every device contains a standard library of software routines for common functions games require, often called a “BIOS” by analogy with the Basic Input/Output System used in IBM PC compatibles. Although the GBA BIOS is required in order to emulate GBA games, it cannot be distributed with higan for the same legal reasons that commercial games cannot be distributed with higan, so you’ll need to obtain a copy of the BIOS for yourself.
If you have a real GBA and a flash-cart,
the Internet contains many tools
that will extract the BIOS image so it can be copied
to your desktop computer.
The correct GBA BIOS file is exactly 16384 bytes long,
and has the SHA256 hash
Once you have the correct BIOS file:
- rename it to
- if you’re using Windows,
turn off “hide extensions for known file types”
so you don’t wind up with a file called
bios.rom.dator whatever the file’s original extension was.
- if you’re using Windows, turn off “hide extensions for known file types” so you don’t wind up with a file called
- Copy the file into higan’s
Game Boy Advance.sysfolder, alongside the
manifest.bmlfile that is already there.
- In Windows,
Game Boy Advance.sysin the same folder as
- In Linux,
Game Boy Advance.sysin
- In Windows, find
If you upgrade this version of higan to a newer version,
make sure the
winds up in the
Game Boy Advance.sys folder
of the new version.