How to Run .IPS on VBA

By Naomi Bolton

Updated September 22, 2017

VBA, or Visual Boy Advance, is an emulator that enables players to play Nintendo Gameboy games -- from the original up to the Gameboy Advance -- on PC. The emulator reads these games from the read only memory, or ROM, format, which is a backup of the original game cartridge. Special "International Patching System," or IPS, files can have different effects when you apply it to the ROM files. For instance, an IPS file can change the language of the game in order to enable English-speaking players to play Japanese titles. The IPS file only contains the information needed to change the ROM, and not the game information itself.

Download the IPS file for the ROM you want to patch in Visual Boy Advance. Websites such as Pocketheaven have many free IPS files available.

Download the ROM file that you want to use the IPS patch on. Websites such as ROM-Freaks and Romhustler have many games available, including Japanese titles.

Extract both the ROM file as well as the IPS file you downloaded to the directory where Visual Boy Advance is installed. Rename the IPS file to match the name of the ROM file. For example, if your ROM file is called "Game01.gba" the IPS file must be "Game01.ips."

Start Visual Boy Advance and click "Options." Select "Emulator" from the drop-down menu and click "Automatic IPS Patching." This runs the IPS file directly from within the emulator without the need for any external patching. This only works if the IPS file name matches the ROM file name.

Click "File" and then "Open" to select the ROM file. The game will load and apply the IPS file automatically. You will now be able to play the game with any modifications that the patch made to it.


While IPS files are not illegal to download, it is illegal to download and play ROM files if you do not own the original Gameboy Advance cartridge. Only use IPS files on games that you legally own.