To play those retro titles of consoles and systems of the past we need the roms or ISOs of the original games, we can download them from several internet sites. Here we will explain the safest sources and give some tips to make them work without problems in our emulators.
What is a ROM or ISO?
Retro and modern games can be found in various formats, the most popular are ROMS and ISOs. Older systems with cartridges are usually packaged in a ZIP or similar, on consoles with CD-ROM or DVD discs the game content is in an ISO file. There are other ROMS formats that depend on the original distribution of the game.
ROMS or game formats
- Cartridge consoles: Files that extract the game from the chips of the boards in ROM format.
- Disk consoles: The game is an image of the original optical disc in ISO format.
- Digital format: Some games can be found in the download format of the console and its online store.
- Complete software: If we are talking about an old PC game usually all the files are found.
- ROMS can have different SETS (internal file structure) and can make them incompatible with some emulators. It is necessary to look for the correct ROMSET for our emulator, it is to go testing if it is not indicated.
- Some games may be limited to a world REGION, EU, USA, JP… you have to take this into account and maybe we have to configure the system and the BIOS of the emulator.
Download ROMS or ISO from the internet
If we use Google to search for the ROM or ISO of the game we are interested in we can find plenty of results, many of them may be down or simply be a trap to see advertising without getting the game. Here we will explain how to get them in a fairly safe site. Do you know another safe download site? Comment and we will add it to the article.
Download games from /r/Roms
Undoubtedly one of the best sites to download roms and ISOs is the site /r/Roms, we have all console systems, arcade and others sorted in a simple way. This list is based on the files hosted on Internet Arcade from Archive.org which has an impressive collection of titles.
- In the upper area of /r/Retro we have links to download ROMs from Nintendo, Retro, Sega, Sony…
- We also have a selection of Retro games and another one for the most Popular games.
- If a padlock icon appears in the ROM to download we have to create an account in Archive.org.
How to install ROMS or ISO in our emulator
Many of the most common emulators offer us the option to load the ROM or ISO individually from a file explorer. We can also configure a folder where to put all the ROMS and display them in a list. In the case of emulation-oriented operating systems such as Emuelec the process is somewhat special.
- Many emulators have a Menu where to select the ROM file or the folder where they are hosted.
- Guide for Emuelec, we explain where to copy the ROMS or ISO files.
- Guide for Batocera, we indicate the directory to copy the games.