If you ever played a Gameboy Advance emulator, then chances are you will need ROMs. The ROMs will act as the cartridges, which are basically the games. A Gameboy Advance ROM will have a .GBA file format. This means that only a GBA emulator can run this type of file, or there are some NDS emulators that can run it as well.
It is like an MP3 player can’t play an MP4 file, or at least only the audio will play, but you can’t see the video.
That is the same for Gameboy ROMs, but there are those that come in a .IPS or .UPS file format. However, regular GBA emulators cannot play these file formats.
There’s a new file format that some rom hackers are now adapting, it is a .bps file. Check this guide to learn How To Patch A BPS ROM Hack File.
What you need to do is to know how to apply an IPS or UPS patch to these ROMs. What happens is that you need to do a step-by-step procedure to transform a .IPS or .UPS into a .GBA file.
What you need to do if you want to apply an IPS or UPS patch
The outcome that we want is to change the .IPS or .UPS into a .GBA. You can’t play the .IPS or .UPS files; hence patching the file is needed.
The process of patching means that we change or update the original content of the .GBA file to have the contents of the .IPS or .UPS files will be keeping the .GBA format.
In order for that to happen, we need a couple of things.
Things Needed for Patching a ROM hack
- Patch file
- ROM base
- Patcher app
The first thing that you need would be the .IPS or .UPS patch file. You’ll need those because they are the games you want to play. With Pokemon games, the ROM hacks will change the game’s content.
The next thing you need is the base ROM or the ROM on which the hack was based. For example, a ROM hack Pokemon Gaia uses FireRed as its base game.
The third thing you’ll need is the patcher which is the app or program that you will use to apply an IPS or UPS patch. The gist of this is that we will patch an actual Pokemon ROM into a ROM hack or whatever the contents are inside the .IPS or .UPS file.
Finally, always make sure you have a separate copy of the original Pokemon game ROM because once the patch is finished, all the contents of that ROM will be changed and gone forever.
Why the patch would fail
- There are several reasons, and the first one is that the .IPS or .UPS file from the start is unreliable. In short, it isn’t a good copy or it just wasn’t programmed correctly.
- The second reason is that you’re not using the right base game. You’re probably using Pokemon FireRed as the base game but it actually needs Emerald.
- Your copy of the base game isn’t reliable. There are ROMs out there and not just Pokemon that may have been corrupted or isn’t suited for patching the .IPS or .UPS format.
- The patcher is not good and unreliable. Don’t worry, we’ll be including reliable patchers in the step by step procedures.
How to Patch a .IPS file using Lunar IPS (Works for Windows PC’s)
In this procedure, we will guide you on how to apply a .IPS patch. The patcher we will use is Lunar IPS. This patcher will only work on .IPS formats. We will also use the Rocket Edition Final v1 as our .IPS file which we will patch with FireRed as the base game.
Download the Lunar IPS patcher.
Launch the Lunar IPS and click on Apply IPS Patch.
Choose the .IPS file you want to patch which in this case is Rocket Edition Final v1.
You will then click on the base game which is FireRed in this case.
The patch will automatically happen which is usually a couple of seconds.
This one is optional but you can rename the newly patched FireRed ROM to Rocket Edition Final v1 or whatever you want.
Launch the GBA emulator and if the ROM loads properly and not it isn’t FireRed that comes out but Rocket Edition, then you did everything correctly.
IPS Patching Video Guide
How to apply a .UPS Patch using NUPS Patcher (Works for Windows PC’s)
We want to know how to apply an IPS or UPS patch, and we already know how to do it on a .IPS file. In this part, we will teach you how to apply a patch to a .UPS file. You’ll need to download the NUPS Patcher app for this one. Much like LIPS, the NUPS patcher only works on a .UPS file format.
Download the NUPS Patcher.
Launch the Patcher and click on Apply a UPS patch to file.
Click on the Browse next to File to Patch.
Choose the base game that we will be patching, and for this example, we have FireRed once again.
Click on the Browse next to UPS patch.
Choose the UPS file you want to patch and for this example, we’ll be using Pokemon Gaia.
Click on Patch and wait for the file to patch.
You’re done, and the FireRed will become Pokemon Gaia.GBA instead of UPS.
Once again, it is optional to change the name of the file and try launching it on a GBA emulator.
UPS Patching Video Guide
How to Patch .IPS or .UPS files using ROM Patcher JS (Works for Mobile, Windows, and Macs)
The ROM Patcher JS is an interesting specimen because it can apply an IPS or UPS patch. This means that regardless of which file format you want, ROM Patcher JS can pull through. You still need the base game, but the interesting part is that you patch the files online. That’s right, the patcher itself is a website, and you don’t need to download any app or program, and here are the steps to use it.
This is a good site to use when you’re playing on mobile devices and want to patch a rom hack directly to your phone.
Head to the website of ROM Patcher JS. Click here to go to the site.
Click the Choose File on the ROM File section.
Choose the base game for the patch and in this case, we’ll be using FireRed once again.
Now click on Choose file in the Patch File section.
Choose any .IPS or .UPS file you want to patch. If you take a look at the image, any of those two will do but we’ll use Pokemon Gaia.UPS for now.
You’ll see a small green check meaning that both ROMs are compatible. All you need to do now is to click on Patch to start the process.
Once the patch is done, the file will automatically be downloaded to your device or computer.
You can rename it or not but launch the GBA emulator and see if the game works.
Patching with ROM Patcher JS Video Guide
Now that you know how patch IPS and UPS files to play a Rom hack, you can use any of the three methods above based on what you need.
Remember that the patcher you use will only patch specific to the ROM’s file type whether it is a .IPS or .UPS one. In some cases, you don’t have to download a GBA ROM file with a .IPS or .UPS format.
If you look hard enough, you may find an actual ROM with a .GBA format of the ROM hack that you want. Most of the time, these files are available if the ROM hack is currently having an update or patch being made for it.
If you want to get ahead, then by all means try to patch the ROM files that you have so you can play them on your GBA emulator.