This release (1.0~rc1) is the first official release candidate of the Super Mario Bros. Special for NES port. SMBS is a SMB based game licensed by Nintendo and created by Hudson Soft for the Japanese PC8801 computer. It was later ported to the Sharp X1, as well as the Korean Samsung SPC-1500 computer. However, beyond these (now) obscure platforms, it was largely ignored and forgotten until suddenly becoming a cult hit in the emulation scene.
This 8-bit machine was the home of many incredibly influential games: Super Mario Bros., the original Metroid, and The Legend of Zelda. All of which became ongoing money-making franchises for Nintendo.
Not satisfied with the sprites in your NES game? This guide will show you how to hack the ROM from a Nintendo Entertainment System* (NES) game to make your favorite games even better by allowing you to change the sprites and graphics within the game! Change the main character to your own creation! Or simplify the game into a mediative floating cloud paradise. The power is in your hands!
ROM stands for "Read Only Memory" and is a file that contains data from a read only memory chip such as a video game cartridge. ROM files are often run in video game emulators to play the games they are copied from. But if ROM means read only memory, how can we write over it to add our own sprites? That's where the hacking comes in :)
For me, I played my first Zelda game when I was pretty young, and at the time, I thought the game did star Princess Zelda. I figured I'd get to play as a magical battle princess that saved her kingdom. The game was fun, but I was bummed out that I never got to play as Zelda. But like I said, I'm an adult now. There's no one to stop me from eating candy before bed and there's nothing standing in the way of me creating the games I want to play.
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ROM hacks have been around for decades. The internet has allowed for these modified games to be easily showcased and distributed, causing the ROM hacking community to only grow in popularity. There is a large variety of ways that ROM hacks modify their original game such as fan translations, adding additional features, or even completely re-imagining the gameplay.
ROM hacks of Nintendo games seem to be especially popular, with most being made for retro games on consoles like the NES, SNES, and Game Boy. Sometimes, these fan-created ROM hacks provide a more fulfilling experience than what can be found in the official game.
Updated October 13, 2022 by Declan Lowthian: ROM hacks are a great way for old games to get a new lease on life and for gamers to design the games they always wanted to play. This list has been updated with even more info about the best ROM hacks available today.
Pokémon Unbound is the culmination of the first 20 years of Pokémon games. This ROM hack builds upon the foundation of Pokémon FireRed while also taking inspiration from other generations of the series. Unbound has a Pokédex that features Pokémon and moves from the first seven generations.
Unbound presents a wholly original story that takes place in the Borrius region and boasts plenty to do, including missions, mini-games, and substantial post-game content. In addition to a plethora of quality-of-life features, Unbound also uses a battle engine custom-made for the hack that perfectly captures the classic Pokémon gameplay.
Hyper Metroid is a ROM hack that completely re-envisions the world of Super Metroid. Hyper Metroid takes place in an alternate history from the official Metroid timeline and is backdropped by a considerably darker and more intense tone. This hack builds upon Project Base, another popular Super Metroid ROM Hack, to create a very fulfilling gameplay experience.
One of Hyper Metroid's standout features is the brand-new ammo system that streamlines gameplay by having all weapons share the same pool of ammo. The re-imagined Zebes features rooms that are much more open than those found in Super Metroid, further encouraging vertical and horizontal exploration.
Deadpool also features a variety of weapons new for players to use throughout. Everything from the environments and the enemies to the music and the story has undergone a complete makeover. Deadpool is also chock full of cameos and references to classic video games and comics.
The Jiggies of Time keeps the gameplay, collectibles, and humor that fans love from Banjo-Kazooie and merges it with the world of Zelda. The locations and music may be taken from Ocarina of Time, but they have been expertly adapted to fit the style of Banjo-Kazooie, creating an experience that is distinct from both games.
The underwater and snow-themed worlds, which were not present in the original game, were even created using existing graphics. In this way, Return to Dinosaur Land is reminiscent of the types of levels that can be created in Super Mario Maker.
Return of the Dark Sorcerer is a very extensive ROM hack of Final Fantasy VI that greatly modifies many aspects of the game. The massive story includes several expanded events and plenty of brand-new scenarios. The combat and item mechanics have been heavily retooled for Return of the Dark Sorcerer.
The character roster, map, music, and sprites have all been changed from Final Fantasy VI. Return of the Dark Sorcerer is not only a celebration of Final Fantasy, with its addition of characters from across the series, but it also contains numerous references and cameos from characters from other video game and pop culture franchises.
Smash Remix is a ROM hack that substantially expands upon Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64. The gameplay remains faithful to Smash 64, with the original 12 characters behaving as they normally would. Multiple characters and stages from future Smash Bros. titles have been seamlessly translated into the look and feel of Smash 64.
The Legend of Zelda: Outlands is a ROM hack of the very first Legend of Zelda for the NES. Outlands provides the same gameplay as the original but presents it on a different map with totally new quests and dungeons. The story of Outlands sets up Link having a rematch with the same Thunderbird that was the final boss of Zelda II.
In many ways, Outlands can be viewed as what the sequel to the first Zelda game could have been. It stays true to the basic gameplay of the original while presenting players with a brand-new world to explore.
Dante Walton is a List Writer for CBR who is a lifelong fan of movies, TV, and video games. He is especially a fan of Nintendo, the MCU, and all kinds of animation.Follow him on Twitter at @DanteEWalton
ROM hacking is the process of modifying a ROM image or ROM file of a video game to alter the game's graphics, dialogue, levels, gameplay, and/or other elements. This is usually done by technically inclined video game fans to improve an old game of importance, as a creative outlet, or to make new, unofficial games using the old game's engine. ROM hacks either re-design a game for new, fun gameplay while keeping most if not all the items the same, or unlock/reimplement features that exist in the game's code but are not utilized in-game.
ROM hacking is generally accomplished through use of a hex editor (a program for editing non-textual data) and various specialized tools such as tile editors, and game-specific tools which are generally used for editing levels, items, and the like, although more advanced tools such as assemblers and debuggers are occasionally used. Once ready, they are usually distributed on the Internet for others to play on an emulator or games console.
Fan translation (known as "translation hacking" within the ROM hacking community) is a type of ROM hacking; there are also anti-censorship hacks that exist to restore a game to its original state, which is often seen with older games that were imported, as publishers' content policies for video games (most notably, Nintendo's) were much stricter in the United States than Japan or Europe; as well as randomizers for certain games which shuffle entity placements. Although much of the method applies to both types of hacking, this article focuses on "creative hacking" such as editing game levels.
Most hacking groups offer web space for hosting hacks and screenshots (sometimes only hosting hacks by the group's members, sometimes hosting almost any hack), a message board, and often have an IRC channel.
A hex editor is one of the most fundamental tools in any ROM hacker's repertoire. Hex editors are usually used for editing text, and for editing other data for which the structure is known (for example, item properties), and Assembly hacking.
Editing text is one of the most basic forms of hacking. Many games do not store their text in ASCII form, and because of this, some specialized hex editors have been developed, which can be told what byte values correspond to what letter(s) of the alphabet, to facilitate text editing; a file that defines these byte=letter relationships is called a "table" file. Other games use simple text compression techniques (such as byte pair encoding, also called dual tile encoding or DTE, in which certain combinations of two or more letters are encoded as one byte) which a suitably equipped hex editor can facilitate editing.
A hex editor is the tool of choice for editing things such as character/item properties, if the structure and location of this data is known and there is no game-specific editor for the game that can edit this information. Some intrepid hackers also perform level editing with a hex editor, but this is extremely difficult (except on games whose level storage format closely resembles how it is presented in a hex editor).
Another basic hacking skill is graphics hacking, which is changing the appearance of the game's environments, characters, fonts, or other such things. The format of graphics data varies from console to console, but most of the early ones (NES, Super NES, Game Boy, etc.) store graphics in tiles, which are 8x8-pixel units of data, which are arranged on-screen to produce the desired result. Editing these tiles is also possible with a hex editor, but is generally accomplished with a tile editor (such as Tile Layer or Tile Molester), which can display the ROM data in a graphical way, as well as finding and editing tiles. 2b1af7f3a8