Retro Videogame SYSTEM Collections
Click on any of the machines below to learn about them and help preserve their games!
I am currently in the process of going back and fixing up all my old sets to better organize them, update game revisions, and add new prototypes and English translations that weren't available before. Stay tuned on my socials or join the Discord to stay on top of when these new and improved sets become available.
How I Put These SETS Together
It’s going to take some time, but my aim is to create the most complete, curated, hand-tested English (or English-enough) ROM and disc image sets in the universe for every videogame system from 15 or more years ago.
The overall goal is to preserve these games and archive them for future generations to enjoy so that we do not lose this incredible history, art, and collection of experiences that have brought us lil' humans closer.
Some folks have asked me why I’m doing this all by myself rather than just telling people to download “Goodsets," TOSEC, or No-Intro sets. Let me break it down for you:
There are often problems with “Goodsets” being overstuffed with multiple copies of games, buggy dumps, titles that don't work at all, hacks, public domain games, and more – they are basically a crazy cat hoarder’s collection of files. They can be a nightmare to navigate and getting the proper working games that you want while avoiding annoying, hard drive-filling nonsense can be a challenge.
On the much better side, TOSEC and No-Intro sets are clean, verified, and totally respectable. These teams work extremely hard to make them. However, they are data confirmed rather than completely playtested by humans, often do not include the rarest titles, prototypes, and English patched translations, and have overlapping regional versions or multiple builds of the same games. They are also completely language separated, which makes it hard to identify games that are playable without needing to be fluent in those languages.
I started out just wanting to make “better sets,” but I ended up taking it way more seriously - A rigorous process to create the cleanest, best archives anyone has and will ever put together. It’s my duty, damn it!
For each system I complete, here is how I prepare my collections:
Gather the TOSEC and No-Intro sets and the largest, most ridiculous "Goodset" for that console, computer, or handheld device and find as many independent sources as I can for prototypes and rare games not found in sets. This takes a good chunk of research as I go
Delete all bad dumps, duplicates, alternates, hacks, trained versions, early builds, homebrew / public domain titles, lower versions of games if a newer, more improved dump is available, and independent tech demos
Delete all prototypes or single game demos if a final version was eventually released without major changes
Exclude all games that require a proficiency in a language other than English (but keep ones that are simple enough to play without knowing that language)
Add games that have fully playable English fan translation patches that are already applied
Add the rarest games, playable unreleased prototypes, legitimate independent games from that system's original launch era, test cartridges, and other special items
Test every game for at least a minute past all intros to make sure it loads, accepts input, and has no obvious audio/visual problems
Move all titles that require fluency in languages other than English into separate "Language Packs"
Add BIOS, .cue, .sbi, CHDs, or other needed files so that everything will operate "out of the box"
Delete all of the dumbass hidden files that Macs make when altering files and folders
7zip games with multiple parts into single files
If disc-based, separate multi-disc games from single disc games for easier imports
Upload to archive.org for redundancy
Yeah, it’s… a labor of love.
Here are a few common concerns I’d like to address:
“Why so focused on English?” Well, because that’s what I know best. I can organize and test best in my first language. If any English speakers are also proficient in other languages, then more power to ’em! They can add additional games à la carte from the Language Packs and my sets will still hopefully save them a ton of time. I'm excited for the day when emulators will be able to translate by reading the screen, and we're not too far off from that possibility, but we're not there yet.
“You screwed up! I found an imperfect thing in one of your sets.” Hey, that’s great! Since this is a human collection, there are bound to be mistakes - Especially with systems that have thousands of titles. Issues can absolutely fly under my radar during the amount of time it takes to create these archives. If you spot something broken, incorrect, or missing, please do let me know! I will always make time to fix and improve these collections.
"Why aren't the torrents I see on Archive.org working?" Sadly, this is a common problem with Archive - if there are items that are large in size or there are hundreds of files included, their torrents often do not generate or operate properly. They are aware of this, but last I checked, there is no plan to improve the current torrent system to accommodate large collections like these.