Every now and then, I get the urge to fire up Pokemon Crystal, grab my Cyndaquil, and bathe in the Nostalgic goodness. The only problem is that I don’t have a Gameboy or Pokemon Crystal!
There is another option, though. I’m going to explain what Emulators and ROMs are, and how to play a Pokemon Crystal ROM on your computer.
What is a ROM?
If an emulator is a console, then the ROM is the game! For example, a Pokemon Crystal ROM contains all of the game data of the original Pokemon Crystal game. It has just been loaded onto a computer into a file form (.gbc).
Is Emulation Legal?
Like most laws, it depends on your location. In the U.S, it is completely legal to download an emulator. Downloading ROMs is a gray area, but not explicitly illegal.
Uploading ROMs for other people to download is illegal, though, so as long as you’re just downloading for personal use, you will be in the clear.
Pokemon Crystal Emulator
Once you’ve downloaded your Pokemon Crystal ROM (we’ll supply you with our favorite), all you need to do to play it is find an Emulator (we will supply this as well!).
There are a lot of Emulators to choose from, many of which will require a download, but some can be played online. Many online Emulators do not even require that you download the Pokemon Crystal ROM yourself!
Play Pokemon Crystal Online
If you decide that you don’t want to download anything yet, then an online emulator is the perfect option for you. Online emulators will sometimes be more buggy than downloaded emulators, but for classic systems, they usually work perfectly.
We are providing a link to play Pokemon Crystal online no download is necessary. This means you do not need a Pokemon Crystal emulator or a Pokemon Crystal ROM.
Play Pokemon Crystal Online here
Download Pokemon Crystal Emulator
Now, if you prefer to download the emulator and ROM so that you can play the games offline, we have the perfect place!
The advantages of having the tools right on your PC are pretty simple. It allows you to have more save states, you can play offline, and you can play any Rom (game) that you want.
Download Gameboy Emulator (mGBA or VisualBoyAdvance-M)
Pokemon Crystal Download
Now that you have your emulator downloaded, you’re going to need to download the Pokemon Crystal ROM.
I’ll provide the link to my most trusted Pokemon Crystal download. This site has two versions, the US version, and the US/EU version. Either Pokemon Crystal download will work just fine, no matter which emulator you use.
How to Play Pokemon Crystal Rom on Emulator?
Now that you’ve got your emulator and your ROM downloaded, let’s do a quick run-through about how to actually play Pokemon Crystal on PC.
I’ll be using VisualBoyAdvance, but the steps will be the same for any emulator you decide to use.
Launch your Emulator. The screen will be black.
Click on File > Open
Navigate to your Pokemon Crystal Rom Folder
Change File Type (Bottom Right) to Gameboy Files or All Files
Double click the Rom file to Open it in the Emulator
And there you have it! Now you can play Pokemon Crystal on PC all you want! Some quick things to note:
- You can save in-game just as you would with a real game. But make sure to keep the .sav file in the same folder as your .gbc file
- You can change the Keyboard or Controller Controls by going to:
- VisualBoyAdvance: option > input > configure
- MGBA: tools > settings > controllers
Get your controls set up to a comfortable button scheme for you, and then you’re ready to play!
Once you’re used to the controls and how emulation works, you can start experimenting with other nifty emulation tools like speed boosts and save states.
How to Play other Pokemon Games?
The great thing about our guide is that if you’ve made it this far, then you can play any other Gameboy game as well!
If you downloaded the Emulator, then you will just need to find the ROM for whichever game you want to play. Simply open the ROM the exact same way you opened your Pokemon Crystal ROM, and voila.
Play Pokemon Online
One of my favorite websites to play classic games online is Emulator Games Online. They have a nice selection of every Pokemon game, and even some Pokemon ROM hacks, which are fan-made Pokemon games.
Download Pokemon Games
Now, if you’d rather have the Pokemon games on your computer, then I recommend the same site as before. Vimm’s Lair is the best one-stop emulation resource, no matter what console or ROM you want to play.