What Is a Clean ROM Base? What Every Pokemon Fan Should Know

You’ve probably played a lot of Pokemon ROM hacks before, such as Pokemon Unbound, Pokemon Gaia, and so much more.

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However, have you ever wondered how a Pokemon ROM hack is made? Of course, It needs the base game or the clean ROM base.

But what is a clean ROM base?

We’re going to be tackling the things around the clean base ROM as well as other important details.

We won’t be going into the intricate and complex details of programming, but rather everything you need to know about these things.

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What is a clean rom base

What Is a Clean ROM Base?

The clean ROM base is what is used as the source to make a ROM hack. For example, Pokemon Emerald as a clean ROM base, is the game that you play.

What is a clean rom base emerald base

All of the content is pretty much Emerald from the story to the gameplay. It also contains all the aspects such as bugs and potential problems.

Basically, nothing is altered from the ROM base. A clean ROM base could also referred to as the base ROM, as in the basis or the source for the ROM hack.

Where Can You Get a Clean ROM Base?

Clean rom base 2 different base emeralds

Depending on the game, it can be tricky or easy to get a clean ROM base.

Keep in mind that Pokemon games aren’t the only ones that are open to be hacked or made into ROM hacks. It’s just that Pokemon games turned out to be the more popular ones.

Finding a clean ROM can be done on the internet with ease. The challenge is finding out if the ROM is clean from the start. 

However, most ROM hack makers aren’t really concerned about how CLEAN the ROM might be.

Most of them use established ROMs like Pokemon Emerald (U)(Trashman). That hack is probably the most shared Emerald ROM around and it’s been used by ROM hackers for years.

We can’t say if Trashman is clean but it is the original Emerald, and it seems nothing has been changed, but we’re not sure.

The other challenge is that Nintendo is infamous for taking down ROMs, so clean ROM bases can be hard to find.

Other game ROMs have different file names making it more difficult to identify one. We do not have download links for these ROMs, just to be clear.

Using a Clean ROM for Patching a ROM Hack

Patching rom hack successful

You can’t play a rom hack without patching it, (unless you obtained a pre-patched version) and Patching a rom hack requires a clean rom.

Note: Sharing pre-patched rom files is illegal and considered piracy. We at Pokemoncoders do not give out such files to our readers.

The rom file must be never been modified or played before or else patching could potentially fail. Some rom hack requires a specific version of ROM base to patch it successfully, so it’s a good practice to check which version it needs.

Clean ROM vs Cracked (Unclean) ROM

Clean rom base rom file

If there is a Clean ROM base, then there is also the Unclean, or Cracked ROM base.

The crack is basically when the ROM has been altered to a certain degree.

Even the most minute or smallest change can make the Clean ROM to be an unclean one. You can even consider it as a custom ROM since it is already close to being a ROM hack.

The file formats for these types of cracked ROMs would be the IPS or UPS ones unless they are already patched to the GBA file format.

Factors That Turn a Clean ROM Base Into a Cracked One

  • Turning the ROM base into a ROM hack
  • Changes in story
  • Changes in dialogue
  • Bug fixes
  • Adding features
  • Graphical changes (sprites, texture files, and others)
  • Changing or adding music

Any of those factors or more can contribute to the changes of a clean ROM base to an unclean one. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that a cracked ROM base cannot be used to make a ROM hack.

ROM Hacks Made From Other ROM Hacks

Clean ROM games are usually the sources of most hacks, but there are also some games made from existing ROM hacks (unclean).

Just take a look at Pokemon Glazed Reborn, which is hacked version of Pokemon Glazed.

Reborn contains some features that Glazed does not have. Instead of just making a new ROM hack from a clean ROM base, the hacker just used Glazed as its base and added more features.

Clean rom base pokemon vega versions

You also have other examples like the Vega series and the Theta Emerald series.

There’s nothing wrong with using an unclean ROM base, because everything has already been put in place, and the hackers can just add or remove existing features.

Do Fan Games Need A Clean ROM Base?

Clean rom base uranium fan game

The answer is no because fan games usually use programs that do not require running on a GBA or NDS emulator.

Most hackers use an RPG Maker XP, VX, MV, or whatever kind of videogame maker is available. The steps to making a fan game are much more challenging than making a ROM hack.

Also see: Fan Made Pokemon Games List ( RPG Maker XP)

The ROM hack usually has all the elements and assets that the hacker would need. Videogame-making tools will require other assets to be placed especially when dealing with Pokemon.

We’re not going to dive in deeper with fan games but just remember, these do not need any form of clean or even unclean ROM bases.


In Closing

Now you know what a clean ROM base is, the next question is, what are you going to do about it?

Most players would probably not care but for those aspiring ROM hackers out there, try to find a clean ROM base that you can use or edit for your dream ROM hack.

ROM hacking is harder than you would think but most of these hackers do it for fun. Plus, assets are already available for people to get when they want to add them to their ROM.

Just like adding sprites from later-Gen games to their favorite FireRed or Emerald clean ROM base.

Simply download a ROM file that you see fit, whether it’s a clean or cracked one.



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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