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GoBoy is a multi-platform Nintendo GameBoy and GameBoy Color emulator written in go. The emulator can run the majority of GB games and some CGB games. There is also colour and sound support. This emulator was primarily built as a development exercise and is still work in progress. Please feel free to contribute if you’re interested in GameBoy emulator development.

The program includes debugging functions making it useful for understanding the emulator operation for building one yourself. These functions include printing of opcodes and register values to the console at each step (although will greatly slow down the emulation) and toggling of individual sound channels.


go get github.com/Humpheh/goboy/cmd/goboy

The program has been tested on MacOS and Windows 10, and is likely to work on Linux. Building on Windows 10 requires MinGW.

GoBoy uses the go library pixel for control binding and graphics rendering, which requires OpenGL. You may need to install some requirements which can be found on the pixels readme.


goboy zelda.gb

Controls: Z X Enter Backspace

The colour palette can be cycled with = (in DMG mode), and the game can be made fullscreen with F.

Other options:

    	set to force dmg mode
    	mute sound output

Debug or experimental options:

  -cpuprofile string
    	write cpu profile to file (debugging)
    	set to disable vsync (debugging)
  -load string
    	location of save state to load (experimental)
    	step through opcodes (debugging)
    	if to unlock the cpu speed (debugging)


There are a few keyboard shortcuts useful for debugging:

Q - force toggle background
W - force toggle sprites
A - print gb background palette data (cgb)
S - print sprite palette data (cgb)
D - print background map to log
E - toggle opcode printing to console (will slow down execution)
7,8,9,0 - toggle sound channels 1 through 4.


If the loaded rom supports a battery a <rom-name>.sav (e.g. zelda.gb.sav) file will be created next to the loaded rom containing a dump of the RAM from the cartridge. A loop in the program will update this save file every second while the game is running.


GoBoy currently passes all of the tests in Blargg’s cpu_instrs and instr_timing test roms.

These roms are included in the source code along with a test to check the output is as expected (instructions_test.go and timing_test.go). These tests are also run on each commit.


Please feel free to open pull requests to this project or play around if you’re interested! There are still plenty of small bugs that can easily be found through playing games on the emulator, or take a task from the TODO list below!

Known Bugs



A large variety of resources were used to understand and test the GameBoy hardware. Some of these include: