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How to Patch ROMs: A Beginner's Guide to Modifying Classic Video Games

If you're a fan of classic video games, you may have heard of "ROM hacking" or "ROM patching." This process involves modifying the original game's data to change aspects of the game, such as graphics, sound, and gameplay. ROM patching can be a fun and rewarding way to personalize your favorite classic games, but it can be a bit intimidating for beginners. In this article, we'll walk you through the steps on how to patch ROMs.

Step 1: Find the ROM you want to patch

The first step in patching a ROM is to find the original game file you want to modify. You can do this by searching online for ROMs or by ripping the game from an original cartridge. Be sure to only download ROMs of games that you own, as downloading ROMs of games you do not own is illegal.

Step 2: Find a patch

Once you have the original ROM file, you need to find a patch that modifies the game. Patches are usually distributed in the form of IPS files, which contain the changes that will be made to the original game file. You can find patches on websites that specialize in ROM hacking, such as ROMhacking.net.

Step 3: Apply the patch

To apply the patch, you will need a patching tool. There are several patching tools available, but one of the most popular is Lunar IPS. Once you have downloaded and opened Lunar IPS, you can simply drag and drop the IPS file onto the patching tool, and it will prompt you to select the original ROM file. After selecting the ROM file, the tool will apply the patch, and you will have a new, modified ROM file.

Step 4: Test the patched ROM

After applying the patch, it's a good idea to test the patched ROM to make sure everything works correctly. You can do this by opening the ROM file in an emulator and playing the game. If the changes you made are not visible in the game, there may be an issue with the patch, and you may need to try a different patch or consult with other ROM hackers for assistance.

Step 5: Share your creation
How To: Patching Your ROMs – SmashPad

Once you've successfully patched your ROM, you can share your creation with others by distributing the patched ROM file. However, be sure to respect the original game's copyright and only share the patched ROM file with others who also own the original game.