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Options menu from a single game hacked version of PocketNES.

PocketNES is a freeware (100% free) NES emulator for the Game Boy Advance and, at the same time, the most capable one on this handheld. It was originally developed for hobbyists to use with their own ROM collections and rewritable flash cartridges, but a few game publishers ended up releasing multicarts of their old NES games for GBA, as did pirates. They didn't need to ask permission because the PocketNES developers had released the emulator to the public domain. Pirates would often change the name of the program from PocketNES to VisualNES.


Since its creation, PocketNES had a lot of features and add-ons, with, perhaps, the most important ones being a huge range of mapper support and link cable play.

Usage in Pirate Multicarts[]


Game select screen of a VisualNES compilation, courtesy tORP.

In pirated multicart releases, the PocketNES program is used in the following ways:

  • A couple of "native" Game Boy Advance games are occasionally placed in the top of the menu selection, with removed intros. The pirates insert ROM selection into the GBA's boot process much as the "warez" scene inserts its own intros.
  • As with most pirated multicarts on actual Famicom/NES hardware, the game selection is often comprised of NROM-based games. However, due to the larger memory capacity of GBA cartridges and the mapper emulation of PocketNES, some included games can be larger, later titles.
    • Interestingly, a few early PocketNES releases typically used NTDEC copyright hacks of the games.
  • A large number of late 90s/early 00s fan-made hacks are included, typically of NROM games. Sometimes freeware homebrew titles are included as well (such as Damien Yerrick's Nibbles).
    • Several bootleg PocketNES multicarts are known to feature highly offensive game hacks; such as a version of Tennis using a racial slur in its title, and a version of Dig Dug where the player controls a penis. The Game Boy Advance 369-in-1 features a particularly high number of appalling hacks.
  • Several pirate originals like Somari or Pocket Monster may be included. Games from the Doctor PC Jr., as well as Hua Rong Dao (from Waixing), are also frequent inclusions.
  • The SRAM is known to be unstable on the cartridges with these multicarts, with savegames appearing and disappearing in most unexpected cases.

Single-Game PocketNES cartridges[]

PocketNES is often bundled with a single NES/Famicom ROM and packaged as a new or unique GBA game. Both licensed and unlicensed titles are used, and often the name used on the packaging may differ from the actual game itself. Many of the ROMs used are an existing mapper hack, or normal ROMs with a small change such as credits obscured or a new title screen.

Name Original Game Notes
Batman III Batman Returns N/A
Batman Returns N/A N/A
Contra Force Contra Force Discussion link
Crash Bandicoot 4 Werewolf: The Last Warrior Obscured credits, new title screen added.
Finding Nemo 3 N/A N/A
Kirby's Star Red Diamond Kirby's Adventure Splash screen reads "Kibby's Star Red Diamand"
The Lion King 3 Super Lion King Super Game logo changed to The Lion King III.
Mario & Sonic (at the Olympic Games) Somari Splash screen reads "Mario Vs. Sonic"[1]
Mario Is Missing! Mario Is Missing! N/A
Mulan ExtremityTask ExtremityTask is a very rare Inventor hack of Code Name: Viper, which is otherwise only known to have been released on an (equally obscure) "Mulan" GBA bootleg.[2]
Pocket Monster Blue Diamond  Pocket Monster (Famicom) A sprite color hack
Pokémon 2002 Kero Kero Keroppi no Daibouken 2: Donuts Ike ha Oosawagi Famicom sprite hack known as "Pocket Monster Green"
Pokémon Crystal Version Barve Boy - Kung Fu Pokechu An Inventor hack of Jackie Chan's Action Kung-Fu. Splash screen reads "Pocket Man"; the actual title screen is removed.
Spiderman 4 Spider-Man: Return of the Sinister Six Possibly a mapper hack.
Super Aladdin II Super Game's Super Aladdin mapper hack Discussion link
Super Luigi Advance Luigi Bros. Fan made hack of Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. 3 Super Mario Bros. 3 [citation needed]
Super Panda Panda World Hack of Pocket Monster.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game N/A