What is a ROM Hack?
ROM hacking is the process of modifying or patching a ROM image (usually of a video game) to alter the game’s graphics, dialogue, levels, gameplay, and/or other elements.
Why play ROM Hacks?
There are many reasons to hack a ROM. Some of them are:
- Fresh New Gameplay – If you love a game and wish you could experience more of it, playing a ROM hack is for you. ROM Hacks usually add new content, worlds, and features to a game.
- Translations – Many games are released in Japanese before they’re released in English or any other language. In most cases, they’re released in Japanese years before they’re localized. Sometimes they don’t get localized at all and never see the light of day outside of Japan.
- Improvements – Sometimes a game mechanic is not implented well in a game, or the UI is not so good. ROM Hacks can help improve the games features, user interface, and more without necessarily altering the actual story or levels.
- XDELTA Patching Tool (Official Link, Mirror)
- Nintendo DS Game ROM file
- ROM Hack Patch file – For this tutorial I will use the popular ROM hack: New Super Mario Bros. – The New Worlds.
How to use XDELTA to patch your DS game
- Open up the xdelta ui program. It will look like this
- Find the ROM Hack patch you want to apply to your game. Click the first “Open…” button and navigate to the patch you downloaded.
- Click the second “Open…” button and navigate to your Original UNMODIFIED DS ROM. In my case, it is NSMB DS.
- Click the “…” button to choose a location to save your patched rom. You will have to name your ROM something and add the extension “.nds” to the end of it. EXAMPLE: “nsmb patched.nds”
- Once you have selected the two files and set the output file, click the Patch button. It will only take a second to patch the game.
Playing your DS game
There are two ways you can play the ROM hack:
- You can use an emulator for PC – Install a DS emulator such as DeSmuMe or No$GBA
- You can use a DS Flashcart such as the SuperCard DSTwo and simply place the ROM on the flashcart’s microSD like you normally would.
Find more DS ROM hacks and translations: