'The best way to get games is often directly from the media or hardware itself, but even this is illegal in certain jurisdictions.'
- 1 Downloads
- 2 Official Dumps
- 3 Verifying Good Dumps
- 4 Game Recommendations
- 5 Searching for ISOs
- 6 Download Managers
- Bing and Google: You would be surprised what you can find with it. Simply type "GameName SystemName iso" or "GameName SystemName rom" on the search field to find everything you ever need, replacing GameName and SystemName with the game name and the system abrevation. This is especially effective with first-party Nintendo games. Google is not as good since it sometimes complies with MSX takedown notices but the same applies.
- Duckduckgo : also another average search engine that doesn't remove DCMA'd search results as much which helps delaying rom uploaders comeuppance.
- The Pirate Bay: Excellent ressources as well for disc based games. Remember to turn your adblocker off to support the site!
- Kickasstorrents: Not as good as TBP but still serviceable.
- IGG-Games: They started hosting Wii U games lately. Recommended.
- nyaa.se: Good for PS3/PSP games
- rutracker: Account required for some stuff, site entirely in Russian, use translate if you really need to.
- reddit: r/Megalinks and r/Piracy among others.
- Emuparadise Good for No-Intro sets (which require registration). has cool Nintendo and Playstation 2 sets. Has amazing PS1 dumps.
- Chaos Games
- Portal Roms Torrent site for ROMs and ISOs. Mostly Nintendo stuff. Especially good for Wii U, Wii, and no-intro 3DS.
- Nintendo Wii USA set. All in scrubbed WBFS format. Missing games.
- Sony PSP set, missing games.
- Partial PS2 Redump (2016/03/19) downloads likely slow. (5046/6863 games)
- Partial Wii Redump (2016/03/19) downloads likely slow. (602/1037 games)
- Xbox Redump (2016/03/02) downloads likely slow.
- ALL NTSC WiiWare titles
- Doperoms Has some Redump PSX/GCN among other things. Excellent for Nintendo games.
- MAME Directly from the MAME site. Games that were released with permission for free and non-commercial use.
- Abandonware France
- The Eye has complete ROM sets for over 25 different consoles.
- The ISO Zone Many systems and PC. The filehost it uses (firedrop.com) maxes out at ~500kb/s download speed and has a 4gb per day limit.
- The Internet Archive. Add a slash (
/) after the URLs to view the contents of compressed archives from the browser. This helps you avoid downloading upwards of 400 gigabytes just to get only a fraction of the contents. The archive also creates torrents of each entry (that are not the same as any original torrents the user may have uploaded) that you can use to speed up your downloads.
- No Registration Required
- MAME and MESS sets.
- No-Intro Nintendo DS set (2017-02-13). File names are organized by scene release order.
- Redump 3DO set (2017-04-04).
- Redump Dreamcast set (2015-09-20). Missing lots of games. Includes Redump manuals.
- Redump PC-Engine CD/Turbografx CD set (2016-11-06)
- TOSEC (The Old School Emulation Center) sets.
- Vintage Software Many DOS collections and older games.
- Registration Required (If you do not have an account at the Internet Archive, you can use these credentials.)
- No-Intro Collection for most cartridge-based systems (2016-01-03).
- Redump GameCube (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) USA sets (2016-05-27).
- Complete North American GameCube Collection.
- Redump PS2 (Part 1, Part 2) USA sets (September 2016). Game IDs are used for file titles. CD-based games are .bin files, DVD-based games are .iso files.
- Redump PS1 USA set (2016-06-17).
- Redump PS1 NTSC-U and PAL sets.
- Redump Saturn set (2015-09-13). Includes manuals and magazines.
- Redump Sega CD set. Includes DAT files to verify with ClrMamePro.
- No Registration Required
- Romulation Useful for Wii, GameCube, NDS, PS2 etc, may be no-intro rips. (account required - use bugmenot or make one with a temp email account) Excellent for Nintendo titles.
- Pleasuredome Great private tracker for getting full sets of many systems (No-Intro, Goodsets, Trurip, Redump, TOSEC). Does not allow newer systems. Strict ratio site that requires you to maintain a positive upload to download ratio.
Use some common sense while downloading!
User Uploaded Direct-Download (Forum post) Sites (Registration Required)
Use some common sense while downloading!
- tehparadox Great site with a massive selection of Wii/U, PS3, 360 (with many others as well), and full ROM sets. Even computer games!
- psvitaiso.com Vita, PSP and PS1 games.
- wiiso.com Mostly Wii games, but also other Nintendo games.
- ps3iso.com Many 'premium-only' links.
- 3dsiso.com 3DS games.
- Decrypted 3DS games for Citra.
- Rommers.uk Great site to request or fill requests for ROMs. Also has an invite only tracker, but do not ask for an invite on the forums, only privately.
- WeHackWii Great source of Wii/WiiWare downloads.
- WiiPassion Wii/Wiiware/Virtual Console downloads. Has some rare stuff.
- Gbatemp GBA/DS ROM releases and a thriving modding community.
- Note: Here's a list of public trackers you can use to increase the amount of peers you can reach.
- RuTracker Account required for some stuff, site entirely in Russian, use translate if you really need to.)
- ALL NTSC WiiWare titles
Nintendo Wii U / 3DS
Nintendo delivers games the same way Sony does with the PlayStation Network; the big ISO with all the data is useless without an authentication key. Unfortunately for them, these keys are much smaller than the game, and can be passed around easily provided people have broken into the console to get them in the first place.
You need a titlekey database, covering base games, updates and DLCs. Some notable ones include this for Wii U keys and this for 3DS keys. Note you're still restricted to games that are on the eShop and that people bothered to upload their tickets to that titlekey site, so rare or retail-only games are excluded. You can likely still find these types of games from ROM sites above.
On real 3DS/Wii U hardware, you could also download a package of all tickets ever of all regions and trick the official eShop into thinking you own the game and can redownload it, but on real hardware, it has been reported some out-of-region tickets cause problems. freeShop will just install the tickets you need for the game you chose.
If you're using Cemu with physical dumps, you'll also need the Common Wii U Key, and individual game keys for games you're emulating. Some 3DS dumps also require seeds to play on real hardware.
Once you have the titlekey database including your game, you can download the game off the official servers using your tool of choice.
NUS Downloaders (PC)
You can get either 3DS or Wii U dumps this way. First of all get the NUS Downloader, for example Wii U USB Helper. Make sure to use the appropriate URL for the titlekey database.
Then, it's as simple as selecting the game you want to download, clicking "Get It" and then "Download Games". This will download the files for the game you chose (the same as the .tik's title). Choose your own region where possible, so the servers are closer to you.
Once the download is complete:
- Wii U dumps: You can either install the game to your Wii U by moving it to an SD Card and using WUP Installer GX2, or if you're using the deprecated Loadiine (or Cemu), you can "Convert" it "to Loadiine/CIA". Simply right click your newly downloaded game, and then click "Prepare for Emulation". The .rpx file will be available in the game's folder, at /code/[yourgame].rpx.
- 3DS dumps: Just "Convert to CIA" when the tool is done downloading it. That CIA file can then be installed to real 3DS hardware directly using FBI, as long as you have enough free space on your SD card for double its size (if you are unable to fit this size, you can use freeShop instead; also worth noting you may delete the CIA files once they are done, as they are practically installers), or if you want to emulate them, you can instead prepare the game for emulation via Wii U USB Helper, or follow this guide to convert existing titles on your device and prepare them for emulation.
Updates and DLCs can be downloaded the same way. Right click on a game's name to choose which to download. For 3DS games, they can be converted to CIA files, and for Wii U games for emulation on Cemu:
To install updates and DLC on Cemu:
- Run the game at least once.
- Check Cemu's log.txt file and look for a line that says "Mounting local storage (AOC): .\mlc01\usr\title\NUMBERS\NUMBERS\aoc\"
- Add (create) folders with the same name as the above (substituting the "NUMBERS" bit with the actual numbers) in your "CEMUFOLDER/mlc01/usr/title" folder.
- Add any updates (which must be added first) you want to the "CEMUFOLDER/mlc01/usr/title/NUMBERS/NUMBERS/" folder.
- Create a folder named "aoc" and put the DLC files into there. The "code", "content", and "meta" folders of the actual game itself also go in the "aoc" folder.
Titlekey Downloaders (3DS)
You'll need a 3DS with custom firmware installed (most commonly boot9strap + Luma3DS). If you don't have custom firmware, but want it, follow Plailect's guide. Video guides are not recommended, due to history of unsafe, outdated, and/or inaccurate instructions.
The most used downloader utilities are freeShop. freeShop is convenient since it only needs an encTitleKeys.bin from the titlekey site, and installs directly the games to your 3DS without the need to free up double the needed size. CIAngel can download particularly rare or obscure games only using a text file with the game's Title ID and its encrypted title key.
If you are interested in dumping your installed titles for use with Citra, you can follow this guide to do so.
Amiibo are special figurines that interact with a number of 3DS, Wii U and Switch games. Depending on how hard they are to find, they can either be bought at a local retailer, or on eBay for a fortune. NFC tags are dumped to binary files (.bin). Android users can use TagMo to read and write these files, provided they have the appropriate encryption keys.
Verifying Good Dumps
- Main article: File_Hashes#Determining_Good_Game_Dumps
Game recommendations are highly subjective, but big lists like these usually cover the worthwhile games for each system.
- /v/'s Recommended Games Wiki
- Retro-Sanctuary's Top 100 Lists
- Racketboy's Defining Games
- Racketboy's Hidden Gems
Searching for ISOs
A lot of the above sites have ISOs for disc-based games, but some of the more obscure titles can be hard to find. If you want to find these games, searching for their ID number is generally more effective than searching for their title. Both Mobygames and GameFAQs will list these under the game's release information. This number is region specific and is very useful if you want to find an ISO from a specific region.
Many resources we've listed will link to files called .DLCs that contain a list of urls to download. We've voluntarily listed some programs you can use in the event that you come across one and don't want to deal with the links manually.