How do I play Retro Game ROMs On Windows

Video games are always a good time, something we desperately need during our COVID lockdown. In the past I wrote about how to play games from the past on Mac and how you can modify them to run popular ROM hacks like Invictus and Grand Poo World. The drawback to Macs is the performance. A typical gaming laptop has more power and, thus, has better gameplay. Let’s take a look how you can play games from the past on Windows!

Step 1: Download and Install RetroArch

RetroArch is a completely free and open source software which powers RetroPie, Recalbox, and other video games programs. RetroArch can be installed on almost anything, but we’ll simply install it on our Windows PC. It’s not a complicated installation required.

Step 2. Install the emulator

After RetroArch is installed and opened, you can select the next menu item:

  • Load Core
  • Download the Core
  • Select the game system / emulator you prefer

If you’re offered more options such as SNES and Bsnes 2014 Performance, you should take the time to research the differences. For example the “higan Accuracy”, which requires more resources, isn’t as popular than the SNES9X.Read about At website The snes9x is also used by streamers and the bsnes2014 performance makes games appear quicker. Regardless, there’s a wealth of emulators available at just one click.

Step 3: Let’s Play!

It’s time for you to get started! Move the ROM file you downloaded from your PC into RetroArch. RetroArch will then start the emulator that matches the ROM format. It’s really easy.

But where can you find or patch these games?

Game ROMs

From a legal perspective, you are allowed to legally, you are able to create ROMs of games you own. But, downloading them is illegal. I did it. But, this is the internet. It’s simple…

To make ROM Hacks, Patch ROMs

The retro game scene is huge on hacking ROMs with patches. Legendary Super Mario World hackers Juz Cook Barbarousking, JuzCook, and JuzCook make use of Lunar Magic for amazing new “Kaizos” experiences. These hacks are something I am a fan of since they are able to take something that I grew up with and give it new life. Once they are ready, these hacks are uploaded to SMWCentral which is where they are downloaded by thousands of eager gamers.

Hacks can’t be shared with the complete game however — that would be illegal so hacks are usually bps files that need to be patched onto a clean game ROM to create the eventual modified, playable game. Grand Poo World 2, Invictus (and Super Dram World) are my favorite SNES Mods.

Assuming you have an unmodified ROM for Super Mario World, SNES, it is possible to patch it to create the hacks listed above. Floating IP is the program that performs the Windows patching. Floating IPS is simple. It asks for the name of the file (bps) as well as the ROM to apply it to, and the name of the output file to be used.

This is the most common method to patch your own games. There are different options to customize your game including adding a replay system to your patch.


Playing games on Windows is easy because controls are the easiest part. Most emulators will allow you to utilize the keyboard as a controller. If you’re like me and would like to use the controller native to the system, there are scores of USB controllers that can give you the desired input experience!

My passion for video games and software engineering is what makes the world of emulators, ROM hacks and game patching so fascinating. I am also amazed by the way ROM hackers make it more difficult and enjoyable to play games that we used to play as kids. RetroArch is also a great UI improvement. Although it’s an ugly interface however, I was able to download the emulators and have it running in just a few minutes.

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