What is a ROM?Edit
A ROM image, or ROM file, is a computer file which contains a copy of the data from a read-only memory chip, often from a video game cartridge, a computer's firmware, or from an arcade game's main board. The term is frequently used in the context of emulation, whereby older games or computer firmware are copied to ROM files on modern computers and can, using a piece of software known as an emulator, be run on a computer.The extension depends on the console,for example if the ROM is from an NES cartridge,the extension will be .nes ;usually the CD-ROM based consoles have the .IMG extension.Emulators can also use CDs.
Where is it used?Edit
Emulators typically take ROM images as input files.Edit
ROM images are used when developing for embedded computers.Software which is being developed for embedded computers is often written to ROM files for testing on a standard computer before it is written to a ROM chip for use in the embedded system.
Hacks and fan translationsEdit
Once games have been made available in ROM format, it is possible for users to make modifications. This may take the form of altering graphics, changing game levels, tweaking difficulty factor, or even translation into a language for which a game was not originally made available. Hacks can often take humorous forms, as is the case with a hack of theNES version of Mario Bros., entitled Afro Mario Brothers, which features the famous brothers wearing Afro haircuts. The Metroid Redesign mod is a hack of Super Metroid that revamps the game and adds new objectives.
A large scene has developed to translate games into other languages. Many games receive a release in one part of the world, but not in another. For example, many role-playing video games released in Japan go unreleased in the West and East outside of Japan. A group of fan translators will often translate the game themselves to meet obvious demand for titles. For example, the 1995 game Tales of Phantasia was only officially released in Japan; DeJap Translations translated the game's on-screen text into English in 2001. Further to this, a project called Vocals of Phantasia was begun to translate the actual speech from the game. An official English version was not released until March 2006, some five years after the text translation was released. Another example was that of Mother 3, a Japan-only sequel to the cult-favorite Earthbound. In spite of massive fan response and several petitions for an English translation, the only response from Nintendo was that Mother 3 would be translated and released in Europe, which it never was. Instead, the fan website Starmen.net undertook a massive translation project and released the translated version of Mother 3 in October, 2008. The translation was praised by fans and even employees from Nintendo, Square Enix, and other industry professionals.
The Japanese N64 game Dōbutsu no Mori (Animal Forest) has also been translated into English. The game was originally only released on N64 in Japan, but it was ported toGameCube and renamed Animal Crossing.
Hacks may range from simple tweaks such as graphic fixes and cheats, to full-blown redesigns of the game, in effect creating an entirely new game using the original as a base.
One of the oldest games that has an active ROM hacking scene to this day is Super Mario Bros.