Is Downloading ROMs Illegal?

The Pokemon games have always been exclusive to Nintendo systems. That has always been the case and it has only been in recent years where Pokemon games have appeared on mobile devices which aren’t Nintendo consoles or handheld systems. Anyway, there is something called emulation where a person can download an emulator and a ROM of the game. The question now is downloading ROMs illegal?

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Details about Emulators and ROMs

What are emulators and ROMs

An emulator is a software developed by people where they emulate and imitate the function of a system. In this case, let’s say you want to use a Gameboy Advance emulator for your Pokemon games, then that’s possible. You’re basically playing a Gameboy Advance on a PC or mobile device when they are both capable of handling the emulator. Emulators are also available for other video game consoles and handheld systems.


The emulator is the first part, in order for you to play your games, you need the ROMs. The ROMs are files that are based on the games. What you need to do is download or get the ROM for a source. You will need to use the emulator to launch the ROM. Going back to the GBA, a ROM file you can launch would be Pokemon Emerald. The ROM is the cartridge and when you have everything set, you’re playing the games in no time.

One advantage of the emulator is that it has features that you can’t do on a regular system or in this case the Gameboy Advance. You can save files, input cheats easily, record your game, speed up your game, and more. Having it on your PC can be good because you don’t need to change systems when you have a ton of emulators saved.

How you can get emulators and ROMs

You can easily download them online but the legalities of it can be a bit blurry but we’ll get to that a bit later. Another way you can get them is by programming it yourself. That’s right, people that are skilled with programming can make their own emulators and ROMs. Creating ROMs can be done when you have a copy of the game but it is tricky. It is easier for CDs to make ROMs or some of them are called an ISO file.

Are emulators legal?

The answer is yes, you can download an emulator online easily. The key here is that you don’t pay for it as they can be easily downloaded. Maybe you don’t need to program your own emulator when they are legal to get in the first place. The other thing is that the emulator on its own will not function when it has no ROMs to run.

Are ROMs legal?

The question is downloading ROMs illegal is a bit tricky because it can be both legal and illegal. When it comes to being legal, there is a loophole to it. When you still own the original copy of the game, you can legally get ROMs. You can also legally play them. The reason for this is that some owners no longer have their console or handheld device but still have a copy of the game. This is one aspect where ROMs can be legal and even if the actual copies of the games are no longer functioning.

When it comes to being illegal, it is illegal to just download a ROM when you don’t own a copy of it. That’s because you didn’t pay for the actual copy and just started playing on your own. It is also illegal to download ROMs and sell them. That’s why those that sell ROMs and consoles that have games that count as installed ROMs can get into trouble.

In closing

Here are Pokemoncoders; We don’t encourage downloading ROMs, we don’t share ROMs from the actual games and we don’t even share prepatched rom hacks. Rather, we ony give rom hack patch files.

Don’t pay for any of the ROM hacks that are on our site and the sites we link are always free.

About Taichee

Taichee is the ultimate writer for Pokémon gaming enthusiasts. With extensive experience, he expertly delves into popular Pokemon game series and ROM hacks for GBC, GBA, and NDS, meticulously testing cheats and sharing general gaming strategies on Pokemoncoders.

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