The concept of other entertainment properties is vastly different in many ways from that of video games. Music, for example, is entertainment in the form of sound, so this, of course, can easily transcend the limitations of dated technology. An audio file from a CD can be copied to a USB device in a matter of seconds. For video games, ROM files are housed on and read from proprietary storage media. Due to this, there are certain limitations.
Copying a file from a proprietary cartridge, for example, would be different from copying an audio file. In fact, with a video game’s ROM file, there is a more technical process involved. One has to have a certain level of knowledge combined with the right hardware and software to rip these files. As a result of this, game preservation may become a problem. Unless a game is remastered or re-released on a more modern platform, one would have to rely on the outdated technology in order to play it. This is where ROM sites play an important role. These websites house the ROMs from previous generations.
Is using ROMs illegal?
In terms of legality, there is a grey area here. A website that hosts the intellectual property of a company (in this case ROMS of their games) may be considered to be engaging in piracy. In fact, Nintendo recently issued several ‘cease and desist’ orders to some of the biggest sites on this basis.
There were several lawsuits filed on behalf of the company. This, of course, comes on the basis that these sites were distributing their properties in a commercial way. However, while there is some legal ground here, the aforementioned grey area comes in the form of private use. If I purchase a game cartridge or disc, do I have the right to use it in any way I see fit?
The general consensus is, yes. Private use cannot be restricted. If I own a copy of a game, then I am free to rip the file. The problem comes if I decide to sell or otherwise distribute that ripped ROM file.
Why are ROM sites important for Gamers?
If one could point to the importance of safe ROM sites to gamers, the concept of preservation is a factor that stands out. As we mentioned before, video games are usually segmented and distributed using proprietary storage media formatted for specific consoles. However, technology keeps advancing and the video game industry is restricted by its generational characteristics.
A Sega Genesis cartridge is formatted for use with a Sega Genesis console, which has long since been discontinued. How would I be able to play a Sega Genesis game in this day and age? While one may argue that some of these consoles are being released in ‘mini’ versions or that there are dedicated retro services like Nintendo’s Virtual Console, ultimately the best way to experience these games is through emulation. It is easy to download and format an emulator, then download (or rip) the ROM files. The legality of this as we mentioned before is a grey area.
As we mentioned before, Nintendo recently went on a ‘takedown spree’ issuing lawsuits and shutting down dedicated ROM websites in an effort to protect its intellectual properties. Therefore, the ROM market is a shell of its former self. That being said, there are still some very good ones out there.
Best Safe ROM Site for Gamers
By far, one of the best, this platform hosts a generous helping of ROM and ISO files from many different retro consoles. ROMs and ISOs are organized by console, with easily accessible menu potions.
One of the main victims of Nintendo’s aforementioned ‘takedown spree’ this website is still standing. It no longer hosts as many ROMs and ISOs as it used to, however, the website still operates cautiously, propped up by Ad revenue.
Romulation stands tall with its intricate subscription-based hosting. However, it is very cautious in its approach to Nintendo IPs for obvious reasons. You may find it difficult to download most first, second or third party Nintendo ROMs. However, there is still a generous helping.
This website hosts a variety of ROMs and emulators, with in-depth tutorials on the use of the latter. With an easily navigated platform, it will satisfy your needs.
This website formerly known as doperoms provides a generous helping of arcade and console ROMs and ISOs. Menus are easily accessible and overall well presented. The site hosts over 580,000 files.
One of the most recent but also fully equipped retro games website with various console ROMs and ISOs. Featuring a ROM section that can be filtered by downloads and tags, but also a cool emulator section that will allow you loading and playing the ROMs.
So in terms of game preservation, one may want to utilize the emulator and ROM options that are out there. While there is a grey area surrounding this as we mentioned before, there is also another argument to be made. Yes, there are legal platforms on which retro games can be purchased.
However, we are yet to see a platform that hosts all the classic retro games. They are usually limited. This is where game preservation in terms of the use of ROMs has its best argument. How are we going to play classic games that are not supported by modern platforms?
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