Here’s Tomb Raider Running On A GBA

Gif: Timur Gagiev / Kotaku

Here’s a port I never expected to see, but is now real and can be downloaded today: Tomb Raider on for the Game Boy Advance handheld console. It’s true. And this wild port is only possible thanks to the flexible open-source “OpenLara” project.

Tomb Raider running on a Game Boy Advance comes courtesy of modder XProger. They uploaded a clip of the classic action game running in real-time on a GBA to Twitter and the video quickly went viral. I assume because a lot of people, like myself, were shocked to see such a technically advanced 3D game running on hardware like the GBA, a console that was never very good at high-quality 3D graphics.

And yet despite the weaker hardware and other technical limitations, like cartridge space, Tomb Raider on GBA looks shockingly playable even if the framerate isn’t rock-solid.

According to XProger, who has spent over a year working on this port, when they started they weren’t even sure if Tomb Raider could run on a GBA. But after enough optimization, they got it working well enough for this initial build which XProger calls an “Alpha Version.”

“There are many further improvements [I have planned],” explained Xproger over on the GBATemp forums. “As well as optimization of content and video to fit the entire Tomb Rader game in a 32 MB cartridge. But so far only 3 levels are available.”

This is built using “OpenLara”, an open-source port of the original Tomb Raider engine also created by talented modder Xproger. Thanks to “OpenLara” you can run the classic game across a bunch of platforms including the original Xbox, 3DO, iPhone, and 3DS. And now you can add GBA to that list, too

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C. Clarke

“Holy shit, this is Tomb Raider running on a GBA!?!” – Zack Zwiezen

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