There But For The Grace Of ROMS: Favorite Games Saved For Posterity Through Emulation

Related to the thread about failures of game preservation, and in the wake of Emuparadise and several other emulation sites stopping distribution of ROMS - I’m wondering - what games have you played that would have been lost to the either without preservation through emulation? Alternatively, are there any ROM hacks that fundamentally changed the nature of games that you’ve played and enjoyed?

While I haven’t played the old Satellaview SNES games, I did find out about one title that was only distributed in Japan through Nintendo of Japan’s Nintendo Power Flash Cartridge service: Wizardry I-II-III: Legacy of Llylgamyn. In addition to an overhaul to the audio and graphics, it had a couple quality of life improvements - in particular, the location spell could show a map of the areas of the dungeon you’d traversed, instead of just your coordinates and your compass direction, allowing you check your work when you’re mapping - which is absolutely invaluable when you start running into warp and rotator tiles.


Randomizer romhacks have always intrigued me. The Link To The Past randomizer is probably the most famous, but there’s tons of different randomizer mods for lots of games (well, mostly Zelda and Metroid games). I haven’t played most of them myself, but it’s very entertaining to watch speedruns of randomized games.

Super Mario 64 has a small, strange, and interesting romhack community. For the sake of the mods, I won’t link to any of the sites, but you can find plenty of videos on Youtube. Mario 64 chaos edition is a version of Mario 64 that applies random cheat codes to the game every few seconds, generally making it impossible to actually play the game. And people speedrun it. I’ve also played a little bit of the long-running Mario 64 Star Revenge series. The level design honestly wasn’t great, but the music was pretty cool. The whole series is filled with music that’s basically just covers of other video game songs (and memes), but with the Mario 64 instruments. It’s kinda like playing SiIvagunner’s version of Mario.

Also, not sure if this counts (ISOs instead of ROMs), but I’ve played a lot of Wii games in Dolphin. Skyward Sword looks gorgeous running at 1080p. If you have a working Wii and a large enough SD card, it’s pretty easy to jailbreak your Wii and use it to rip the discs you own.

Being able to play Wii games in an emulator is also interesting because it lets you change around the control scheme. For example, you can use a mouse/joystick/keyboard to control the cursor instead of pointing a wiimote. Or in Mario Galaxy, you can map the spin move to a controller button, instead of having to shake the wiimote. On top of convenience, this is also a great accessibility feature for people who might not be able to use motion controls.

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