The Pokemon GBA games are arguably some of the best Pokemon games ever made. They have the retro vibe of the originals while adding extra content and some quality of life changes.
My first game was Pokemon Ruby, and while the remakes were fantastic, they still do not give me the same nostalgia I get from firing up a Ruby Rom on my computer.
However, we all come to a point where we’ve beat our favorite Pokemon game too many times and the novelty has worn out. This is where Pokemon GBA Rom hacks swoop in to save the day!
What are Pokemon GBA ROM Hacks?
The word “Hack” may sound a bit scary, but don’t worry Pokemon GBA Rom hacks are completely safe as long as you follow our download guide.
Pokemon Rom hacks are simply Pokemon games that have been altered by a programmer in order to add features to the game, or in some cases, perform a complete overhaul of the story and Pokemon.
These hacks are a fantastic way to rejuvenate your love for your favorite Pokemon games. They offer new stories, Pokemon, and worlds to explore. Some also offer very nifty features, like Gym Leader rematches and extra starter Pokemon.
How to Play Pokemon GBA ROM Hacks
In order to play Pokemon Roms, you will need to download an emulator and the Pokemon ROMs that you wish to play.
What are Pokemon Roms?
Pokemon Roms are just Pokemon games that have been transferred to a computer file. They can be played via an Emulator, like mGBA or VisualBoyAdvance.
So, to play Pokemon GBA games on your computer, you will need to download an Emulator here (I recommend VisualBoyAdvance, but either is fantastic)
Next, you will need to download the Pokemon Roms you wish to play, boot up your emulator, and open the Rom. It’s really that simple!
I’ve done the honor of including the download links in each of my favorite hacks, so you can easily download them.
If you’d like to simply try out Pokemon GBA games, then you can download those here:
Note: You do not need to download the original ROM in order to play the hacked version. Just open up any .gba file with mGBA or VisualBoyAdvance
The Best Pokemon GBA ROM Hacks
Now, without any further ado, let’s get to the List!
I took my time making this and tried to make it as diverse as possible. There are so many fantastic Pokemon Roms, each with its own story and adventure.
However, there are also plenty of weird and unique GBA Pokemon Rom hacks around, and I wanted to ensure you got a taste of those too (thank me later.)
1. Pokemon Vega
You’ve followed the buff Pikachu breadcrumb trail all the way here, and it has finally paid off. Pokemon Vega is a Fire Red ROM hack, and while the Pikachu may look silly, this is one of the best Pokemon Roms you can pick up.
Vega offers over 150 new Pokemon (Fakemon) to capture, plenty of new moves for your Pokemon to learn, and a few quality of life changes such as Trainer rematches.
Pokemon Vega takes place in the Tohoak region (Created by the developers) and offers a new story as well as great post-game content.
As you may have noticed (Buff Pikachu), this hack includes its own custom-made Pokemon. They all are crafted with the pixel art we all know and love, and I think they matched the original’s style perfectly.
Vega also brings over many of our favorite Pokemon from Hoenn, Unova, and Signet so don’t worry you can still find your OGs.
ii. Tohoak (The Story)
The story takes place in the Tohoak Region, which is made up of brand new cities and routes to explore. The story remains true to the classics. Kick Gym Leaders, take badges, and defeat the Elite Four.
The characters are quirky and original, and the extensive post-game allows for continued play even after you’ve beaten the main storyline making this one of the most well-rounded Pokemon Roms.
2. Pokemon FireRed: Rocket Edition
Time to hit you with a weird one! Do you remember when Team Rocket asks if you’d like to join them?
Did your devious little fingers spam the “Yes” button only to be disappointed by the game’s unfair restriction on Evil? Well then, this is the hack for you.
In Pokemon FireRed: Rocket Edition, you join Team Rocket as a grunt and explore a new side of the Kanto Region. This Rom offers very unique insight into all of the classic characters and situations from the originals and is one of my personal favorite hacks.
You wouldn’t really be a member of Team Rocket if you weren’t trying to snag Pokemon from other weaker, more pathetic trainers. Now would you?
In Pokemon FireRed: Rocket Edition, you get to do just that, and it is just as fun as it sounds (So I’ve heard… shhh)
ii. Morality System
That’s right. A Pokemon game with a morality system. This is why I love Pokemon ROM hacks. They offer depth that the originals just can’t, due to their target audience and the time they were made.
The Morality system makes the game more immersive and adds quite a bit of replayability to the game which is fantastic.
iii. The True Story
Rocket Edition includes branching sidequests, and a story fit for M. Night Shyamalan himself. I’m not going to spoil anything for you.
But I will leave you with a couple of questions. Is it possible there’s a connection between Oak and Giavani? What really went down in the fabled Pokemon War.
3. Pokemon Snakewood
For my… edgier readers, I’ve thrown the controversial Snakewood on this list. Snakewood is a Pokemon Ruby Rom hack that players either love or hate. There really is no in-between.
I for one, enjoy the game for what it is, a fun little fanfic created by one zombie-loving hacker. As long as you do not take the hack too seriously, there is a lot of fun to be had in Pokemon Snakewood.
i. A Darker Timeline
Pokemon Snakewood takes place in an apocalyptic world full of zombies and edgy characters. The story is a lot darker than anything seen in the original games. So if you have a craving for an edgy Pokemon game, here you go!
Keep in mind while the game is “edgy” it isn’t for everyone and can be quite campy or corny at times. However, if you’re like me, that just makes you want to play it more.
ii. Denjuu & Zombiemon
Despite the corny story, Snakewood has awesome Fakemon, such as Skylax (Flying evolution of Snorlax). It also includes Zombiemon such as Boilbasaur and Electabugs (notice the corniness yet?).
Other than the Fakemon, Snakewood sports a new species known as Denjuu, which are creatures from the Denjuu world.
These creatures can actually talk and are integral to the story of Snakewood. They also make Snakewood one of the most unique Pokemon Roms, whether you love it or hate it.
4. Pokemon Glazed
Finally, a game for us Johto lovers. Johto Journeys is my favorite series in the Anime and has some of my favorite Pokemon.
Unfortunately, we never got to see a Gen 2 Pokemon game on the GBA. Pokemon Glazed takes place across three regions; Tunod, Johto, and Rankor.
Glazed has its own rich story, featuring a scarfed Pikachu seeking revenge. I put it so high on this list because it feels like a full game, and obviously had a lot of care and effort put into its development.
i. Five Starters
Pokemon Glazed lets you choose between five starter Pokemon. You have the choice between any of the gen 4 starter Pokemon (which were never on the GBA!), Riolu, or Shinx.
Lucario is a lot of people’s favorite Pokemon, so I think it was a very smart move to include Riolu as a starter. It also helps the game stand out as unique by diverting from the classic Fire, Grass, Water trio.
I’ll also note that in Glazed, you can capture every starter Pokemon on your own. So no matter which one you choose, you are not limited to only having them at your Party.
ii. Quality of Life
Glazed has many of the quality of life features we’ve seen in previous Pokemon GBA ROM hacks.
As mentioned before, you can catch all of the game’s starters. You can also rematch trainers and Gym Leaders in order to train your Pokemon Easier, which is a fan-favorite feature of these ROM hacks.
5. Pokemon Gaia
This is by far the best Pokemon GBA ROM hack for hardcore fans of the series. I’m talking about players that love creating competitive teams, and have played every game in the series (up to Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire at least).
Pokemon Gaia has a fantastic story and so many features that it feels like a modern Pokemon game created for the GBA.
i. Modern Battles
Well, not exactly modern, since this Rom came out long before the Nintendo Switch games.
However, the battle system was created to be on par with Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire for the 3Ds. This means Pokemon Gaia has Mega Evolutions, competitive items like choice specs and assault vests, and updated Pokemon moves to teach your party.
6. THE POKEMON!!!
My favorite part about Pokemon Gaia is that it includes Pokemon from Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, Unova, and Kalos.
There are so many Pokemon to find and collect, and it’s beautiful and nostalgic to see newer Pokemon in a GBA game. It’s hard for me to describe the feeling, but I absolutely love it.
The story is great. There’s no shtick like Pokemon Snakewood or crazy twists like Pokemon Vega. It is just a well-made story that does the rest of the game justice.
Pokemon Gaia really made me feel like a kid firing up Pokemon FireRed for the first time. It’s the perfect mix of nostalgia and modern Pokemon gameplay.
Honorable Mention: Pokemon Renegade Platinum
This ROM hack is actually a Pokemon Platinum Rom hack for the Nintendo DS. I put this Rom on here because it is one of the best Pokemon ROM hacks available today, especially if you were a fan of Gen 4.
In order to play this game, you will need to grab a DS emulator for your computer, which you can do so here:
Then you will need to download the Pokemon Platinum Rom from here:
Lastly you will need to download this Zip file and follow the instructions for patching your Pokemon Platinum game included in the folder:
This game takes a bit more work than the other Pokemon GBA games but it is definitely worth the effort if you enjoy Pokemon Platinum.
It keeps the great Platinum story but adds a lot of new features, like hundreds of new Pokemon, tougher trainer battles, and the removal of trade-only evolutions.