ROMs are often associated with old school gamers. Sure, you can find ROMs of modern games as well, but most people search for ROMs that bring back good old memories.
On the other hand, ROMs are also used to ensure transitivity from one platform to another. This way, you can play games designed for various platforms on your computer or even your mobile device.
MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) games are some of the first releases out there. There are dozens of thousands of titles out there. They were common in gaming arcades all over the world – years or even decades ago. You can now enjoy them on your computer or laptop, without actually needing the arcade machine.
Then, you have popular Super Nintendo Entertainment System games – around 4,000 titles to enjoy on other devices than the NES platform. Nintendo DS, Nintendo 64 or NES games are not to be overlooked either, not to mention old school titles from PlayStation 1, Game Boy Advance, Neo Geo, Sega Genesis or Sega Saturn.
Atari 2600 is another old-fashioned system – no longer in use today, but some ROMs bring back the classic games. Games like Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Frogger or Missile Command will never die and can now be enjoyed on more modern platforms as well.
Think about ZX Spectrum too – you had a keyboard and a cassette player that would connect to your TV set. Chuckie Egg, Manic Miner or Jet Set Willy are just some of the most popular titles out there. Commodore 64 was similar. While it looks like it died decades ago, games like Impossible Mission or The Great Giana Sisters are still playable with ROMs.
Other common platforms that can now be emulated on modern devices with ROMs include Atari Lynx, Nintendo Famicom, Sega Game Gear, Nintendo Wii, Bandai Wanderswan or 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, among many others.
ROM stands for Read Only Memory. When you download a game ROM, you do not use actual memory. Instead, you have a copy of the memory. Everything is transferred to the ROM file, which is run by a software that recognizes it.
A ROM is basically a copy of the cartridge or game. There used to be cartridges with one game each, as well as cartridges with more games. There used to be cassettes or just plain software. There are numerous options out there and they depend on the actual console.
ROMs are then run with emulators. The emulator is practically a software that imitates the original platform. In other words, you will find emulators for Atari 5200 platforms, as well as emulators for Nintendo GameCube or Sega NAOMI. There are emulators for most consoles out there.
Altogether, you will find hundreds of thousands of ROMs and they cover around 50 different consoles. No matter what old school games you are interested in or you used to play, chances are you can find the right ROMs to emulate them on modern devices – such as your laptop or perhaps mobile device.