Are you hungry for some gold-old-SNES playing? What about some PS2 Crash Bandicoot? Quality gaming is not all about the expensive Xbox Series X or the PlayStation 5. Sometimes we can kick back some retro-gaming with the help of the best Rom sites.
Modern games are fantastic, I know. Everybody wants to play the upcoming Ubisoft games like Assasin’s Creed: Valhalla. And everyone wants to get the hang of CD Project Red’s Cyberpunk 2077. Sometimes, though, we just want to feel what only games of old deliver, which is why we need to check the best Rom Sites.
What is ROM emulating?
What is “Rom”? You ask. It refers to ROM emulation, which is the process of copying data from a ROM disk (read-only memory). In other words, a ROM may hold a vintage game, let’s say, Star Fox. And the emulation software reads the program and storages it on your hard disk, smartphone, or flash memory.
Can you see why ROM emulation is so prevalent in the gaming community? That means the best ROM sites offer you the possibility to play games the computer wouldn’t allow you to play usually. You don’t need a powerful gaming rig yo to enjoy old jewels.
Foreword: some emulators are more challenging to install than others as they need an extra BIOS download. Be sure to check what each software needs before you download it.
The Rom Emulator
Let’s put it in simple words. The ROM Emulator is a software that tricks your computer to create a virtual environment that runs a program designed for another operating system. So, the emulator makes your computer the host system for another guest system, like a Super Nintendo.
In essence, you need both a Rom emulator plus the game. A Rom emulator can play games from a particular video-game console, like a Nintendo 64 or a PS1. So, if you want to play a PS1 game, you’d need a PS1 Rom emulator plus the cracked PS1 file of the game you’re hunting.
There’s something else I need to add. These emulators allow you to mod retro games. For instance, most have some sort of fast save/fast load features. Other emulators can translate games so players from other countries can finally enjoy specific titles.
More importantly, though, Rom emulation is a sure way to make free copies of the games nobody wants to miss. That means most of this world is free.
Lastly, an emulator often has broader controller compatibility. They can make games work with your keyboard and mouse combo, as well as almost any PC or Xbox controller.
Best Rom Sites Guide
Our Best Rom Sites guide is guiding you towards the best places to download different ROM emulators. You can fuel your retro-gaming with PS1, SNES, Xbox, PS2, NES, Nintendo Game Cube, and Nintendo 64, and more.
Furthermore, I’m guiding you towards the best pages to download ROM games. And now that we’re having this conversation, I’m going to recommend a couple of retro games as well. Lastly, I’m also recommending the best emulators available right now.
Now, keep in mind the best Rom sites have both games and emulators to download. They are also safe, free of malware, and readily available. Let’s see!
Emulator Games is a mind-blowing site, and I’m going to start with the reason why I choose it as the top ROM site in the world right now. The site can stream games, which means you could play the ROM straight from Emulator games by hitting the “Play Online Option.”
Playing online is a bit difficult on your keyboard. You have to check how each game works on the options. However, you can connect Xbox and PlayStation controllers and configure what each button does yourself. You can do the same with your keyboard.
Moreover, it has ROMs for plenty of consoles. The selection includes SNES, Nintendo 64, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo DS, Gameboy Advance, and others. It also consists of some retro-consoles and the Sega family of video-game devices.
You need to click on one of the consoles on the homepage to search the available games for the console. So, yeah, it doesn’t have a search bar like most ROM sites, but it still makes it easy for users.
Additionally, you could find games by hitting the “Games” option on the homepage. It will display a selection of categories you’re probably looking for, like Zelda, Sonic, or Mario.
Once you select any game you want, the game also has the link to download the emulator you would need to play it. Everything is comfortable, clean, and straightforward.
Lastly, this ROM Site shares Xbox ROMs and emulators, which is not easy to find on other pages.
Rooms Mania is the biggest, most beautiful site for retro-gamers. It offers all types of ROMs readily available from its search bar.
Better yet, the homepage will make it easier for you by guiding you towards what you need to play. It shows you popular trends, recent downloads, top 100 games, and more.
Notably, it features the top 100 consoles and the top 100 games, so it’s relatively easy to pair an emulator with the game. That said, the site also offers the Bios you would require to install each ROM software.
Another thing to note is the ease of use. Some ROM sites don’t have enough info for beginners. Rooms Mania, though, even includes a giant FAQ on its homepage. Moreover, they have a link on each game taking you towards the emulators you need to play each particular title.
Everything on the page is also free, so don’t even worry about your economy. Visit the most popular ROM site in the world!
Rom Download is the Google of Rom sites. You’ll see what I mean as soon as you enter. It has almost every retro game you could imagine. Don’t be surprised that it looks so much as RoomsMania, though. Many sites are trying to copy the #1 room site available.
Plus, it has all of the significant emulators for all of the major platforms. Everything you download from the site comes included with the BIOS you need to make the software work.
Another great thing about the page is how it lists its best emulators and sites right on its home page. Additionally, the Rom site adds its latest console emulators and games on the homepage, and you can simply click to download.
WoWRooms is free-gaming heaven. It has a vast selection of games of emulations, and it has a high reputation of working servers, software, and ROMs.
Right from the home page, you’ll see the kind of retro-quality you’d want to play again. And if you haven’t tested titles like Resident Evel 4, you better do it as soon as you can.
Some of the titles you’d find there include GTA: San Andreas, Donkey Kong Country, Gran Turismo 4, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy X, God of War 2, Super Maro 64, and Super Mario World.
Naturally, the page also includes emulation programs for PlayStation 1, PlayStation 2, Nintendo 64, Super Nintendo, Nintendo DS, Sega x32, and Sega Genesis.
Room Hustler is another excellent Room site with a creative name for those who know what they are searching for.
The website also contains a great selection of emulators, from the Atari console to the PS2 and the PSP.
Moreso, it has emulators for consoles that are hard to find elsewhere. This selection includes Dreamcast, Game Gear, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Color Advance, Sega Master System, and WonderSwan/Color.
Another highlight is its homepage. It looks classic, like an old torrent site where all of the info is arranged on the homepage.
Lastly, it has a mobile-friendly version you can check from your smartphone. That means you could download, for example, a Gameboy emulator and catch some Pokemons on the go.
Gamulator is also a large ROM site with Pacman on its logo. It features all kinds of ROMs and emulators. Plus, it features a more extensive selection than most places on SNES and Gameboy color games.
There’s something else this page carries no other ROM site carries. It grants you the possibility of downloading Virtual Boy ROMs.
The Virtual Boy (VR-32) is Nintendo’s first 32-bit console. Not only that, but it’s also the first portable gaming console capable of displaying 3D graphics. It competed against the Sega Saturn and the Sony PlayStation.
Old Computer ROMs
This is another site worth mentioning on our best ROM sites list. It’s known as the safest place to download ROM games and emulators.
What makes it unique is that it has backups of most of its files. Its vast database ensures you can always find what you’re h That sate, Old Computer ROMs may look old and outdated, but it probably has the largest database of retro games you could find on the internet.
Lastly, its search bar on the home page works very well with the keyboards you place.
Retrosic allows you to download ROM games for almost any retro console, from the Atari to the Commodore 63.
Its vast list of games has no .exe files, no malware, and no virus. All you need to do is navigate right to your favorite retro console and pick the games you like.
It also has a Discord private server you can join in solving any issues and questions. The server also works as a way to find games you wouldn’t find anywhere else.
In particular, Retrosic’s library extends for over 70.000 titles and 40 retro consoles. All of the files are ISO, so they are safe and easy to use.
Emupardies is one of the oldest ROM sites. All of its files are ISO as well and free of malware.
On top of that, it features the latest ROMs you expect. It means it’s full of PlayStation 2 games, as well as titles for the PSP and the PS Vita.
It also has a fine selection of retro games, although nothing like the ROM sites above. However, it has something else: game guides, comics, magazines, video game translations and subtitles, gaming music, and other game-related videos.
Gamers are heart are going to be happy about the Emuparadise site.
The Emulatorzone is one of the newer places on the list. Like so, it features a selection of games for modern consoles like the Wii U, the Game Cube, the Nintendo 64, the Super Nintendo, the PlayStation, and the PlayStation 2.
A highlight of the site is how it arranges ts emulators on the homepage. You could find what you want without to much hassle.
More so, they feature the CEMU emulator, a software they continuously improve. CEMU is an experimental ROM emulator wor Wii U games, so you could potentially be playing Zelda: Twilight Princess again. Or for the first time!
ROMs World Online
Rom World Online offers a vast number of ROMs for a huge array of emulators. It’s great for young adults looking to remember their childhood video games.
The site has one of the largest selections available for Super Nintendo titles. It also has an excellent library for GameBoy Advance and GameBoy Color games. So, if you’re looking for a Pokemon specific, Roms World Online is probably the place to go.
Retro-Arch: Best overall ROM emulator
RetroArch is software running on an open-source Android operating system. It works as a game-engine to emulate, run, and recreate PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and Playstation 3 games. It can also run Xbox 360 and Wii U titles, as well as games from portable consoles like Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita.
Because it’s open-source software, RetroArch is free and keeps evolving over the years. Moreover, it uses a GUI graphical interface that looks like the PlayStation UI.
You can install Retro Arch on a Windows PC, OS X, GNU, and Linux. It also runs on Android and Apple, as well as the PSP, the PS Vita, the Wii, the Wii U, and the PS3.
Another highlight of this Rom emulator is its low-latency features. It has no perceivable difference between your peripherals and the response time of the game. Speaking of which, it works with any kind of joystick controller.
Snex9X: Best Super Nintendo ROM Emulator
This ROM emulator has brought me many hours of fun. Super Mario RPG, Star Fox, and Chrono Trigger are some of the jewels I played through the famous Snex9X.
Snes9X is made to play Super Nintendo and Super Famicom Nintendo games on your Windows PC or laptops. It even includes an option to translate games that were only released in Japan.
The emulator resulted in three years of coding, recoding, trying, debugging, and improving the software. As a result, it delivers a smooth SNES experience with fast save and load features.
PCSX2: Best PlayStation 2 ROM emulator
PCSX2 is a free PlayStation 2 emulator that replicates the old console on your PC (Windows, Mac, Linux).
However, it has some advantages Sony didn’t have back in the day. For instance, it has 4K square resolutions (4096×4096), as well as texture filtering and anti-aliasing. It makes old PS2 titles run better, like an HD remake.
Moreover, it features unlimited memory cards. Unlike Sony’s old storage solution, PCSX2 allows you to store the gams on your computer with quick load and quicksave buttons.
Aside from the quick load and save, the system also delivers a cheating console. One of the things the console allows is increasing or decreasing the game’s speed. It enables you to pass formidable challenges by slowing the speed.
Plus, it can plug any Xbox 360 and PS3 controller, but it works on your Windows keyboard and mice as well.
Using PCX2 is just a matter of downloading the program. However, the tricky part is getting a PlayStation 2 BIOS file. You could download the PS2 BIOS from other sites.
The BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) is the built-in core software that boots up the system.
After you install the software, you can run the games right from their ISO image file. Otherwise, you could use a virtual disc software that makes your computer think the ISO is an actual disc on your computer. And lastly, you could also insert a PS2 CD on your computer.
If you’re in doubt, you can check the full guide on how to install and configure PCSX2. I’m leaving a video tutorial down below as well.
Project 64: Best N64 ROM emulator
Project 64 is the most popular and easy-to-use Nintendo 64 emulator.
It’s an open-source program with an active community of modders constantly merging new changes and improvements over at GitHub.
That makes installing the software a breeze. You don’t need to download anything else other than the program itself, not even the BIOS.
Moreover, Project 64 allows you to play with any USB controller. It also gives you features like high-resolution textures and saves states.
The audio, though, is somehow inconsistent. And the other negative part is that it only works on Windows systems.
Best ROM Games
I’m closing this guide by listing some short recommendations alongside the download links. I’ll be using the ROM sites I’m listing!
- Halo 2: one of the best sci-fi shooters ever (Xbox).
- Super Mario World: a timeless jewel (SNES).
- Super Mario RPG: a fun and crazy retro RPG (SNES).
- Super Paper Mario: the best entry of the Paper Mario franchise (Wii).
- The Legend of Zelda – Ocarina of Time: who doesn’t know about this game? (N64).
- The Legend of Zelda – Twilight Princess: it’s one of the games that showed the industry how to create and manage an open-world title (Wii).
- Resident Evil 4: it’s probably the best RE to date, excluding RE 2 Remake (Wii).
- Pokemon – Fire Red: another timeless jewel (Game Boy Color).
- Pokemon – Sapphire: a more modern version of the fantastic Pokemon formula (Gameboy Advanced)
- Final Fantasy X: “Sin is Jecht,” and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re missing one of the best gaming experiences in the world (PS2).
- Donkey Kong Country: is this the king of action-adventure games? (SNES).
- Sonic The Hedgehog: or maybe this is the father of action-adventure games! (SNES).
- Grand Theft Auto – San Andreas: many consider this as the best entry of the franchise, definitely better than GTA V (Xbox).
- Star Fox: the original sci-fi shooter inside a spaceship! Beware, though, it’s quite a challenging game (SNES).
- Star Fox Fox 64: an improvement over what was already a super-fun experience (N64).
- Star Fox Adventures: it changed the starship approach, and so it became heavily underrated. Still, a great play! (Gamecube).
- Star Fox – Assault: this one follows the starship formula plus action-adventure elements. It showed the Gamecube was ahead of its time. The magic of the game is ho dynamic it is: there are levels on the starship, others on a vehicle roving around a Moon, others roaming around corners with an assault rifle, and others flying around with a giant rocket launcher. Fun times! (Gamecube).
- Super Metroid: the original title of the series (SNES)
- Metroid Prime: it’s one of the best games ever, period.
- 007 – GoldenEye: the first respectable PvP shooter was an easy pick for the list!
- Populous – The Beginning: a unique RTS that deserves more recognition. You play as a powerful Shaman guiding your people towards your own Divinity (PS).
- Mortal Kombat – Shaolin Monks: a super-fun and bloody fighting game (Xbox).
I know it’s crazy, but Populous is my favorite retro game. That’s why I’m leaving you a video about the game down below. With nothing else to say, I invite you to leave the comments below and tell me about your favorite retro games!
We’ve reached the end of the article. I hope my ROM sites guide helped you kickstart your new retro-gaming career.
I’m sorry if my recommendations are not to your liking. I’m a 90’s kid, so I’m not into playing titles older than the SNES. Is that your thing, though, go ahead! There’s a world of possibilities in the sites I just listed.
Be sure to check what you need to make each ROM emulator work. Some are automatic and need nothing else to run, whereas others require an extra BIOS or plugins downloads.