How to Patch N64 ROMs

If you’re a long-time fan of retro games, chances are you’re still fascinated with Nintendo 64 with its wide array of original titles. You also know that your favorite console was discontinued long ago, so it’s hardly surprising that nowadays very few people own it. Of course, there are some offers on the Internet, but you’ll be hardly eager to pay a fortune on an old piece of software. That’s where emulators come in and save the day. These programs help to turn your computers into retro machines capable of running retro titles with flying colors. The only problem that may get in the way of unrestrained retro fun is the relative insipidness of N64 games. Most seasoned gamers often complain that N64 titles lack the dynamism intrinsic to Nintendo games. But this problem can be easily addressed with a patching tool. With the help of patches you can add particular flavor to your N64 games and make your gameplay more vivid, interesting, and captivating. So, let’s talk about patching in more detail and find answers to the frequently asked questions. 

What is Patching?

Since you can’t use good old cartridges to play classic N64 games on your PC or mobile device, you need N64 ROMs, which act as full-fledged substitutes. If you already played emulator games, you’re familiar with ROMs and may be quite satisfied with the job they do. So, why patch them then? Truth is not all ROM files are perfect. Since most ROMs are created by retro gaming enthusiasts, some may have such problems as poor graphics, skipping or lagging sound, or even distorted gameplay. It’s also important to note that many ROMs contain untranslated games. That’s where patches come in handy. A patch is a file that contains the necessary fixes wherewith the existing flaws can be mended. You can make changes to almost any ROM file with the help of a patching program. 

Is Patching Illegal?

If you’re planning on patching your games using patches, you may be wondering whether it’s legal or not. Let us put your straight – patching the ROMs, i.e. games, which haven’t been purchased by you is considered illegal. So, if you don’t own, say, Mario 64 Kart, patching it would be somewhat dishonest in relation to Nintendo Company and all those people who worked on the game. But don’t get frustrated! You can get the patch directly from the person who owns the game without breaking law.

Moreover, you can legally patch the ROMs downloaded from reliable website that offer high-quality N64 ROMs for free. Rest assured such websites obtain ROMs from official games they once bought. So, you can use such ROMs, as well as patches, without fearing any persecution.    

Is Patching Distribution Legal?

You know that distributing copyrighted material is forbidden by law. Since Nintendo still holds rights to all games they ever released, distributing patches for any game is illegal. But, as it has been noted above, patching is completely legal provided that patches are applied to already purchased games. Moreover, patches for Nintendo 64 and other console games can be shared within the retro gaming community. Thus, patching distribution is completely legal as long as you or other people don’t use it for commercial purposes.

What is Auto-Patching?

Patching your N64 games can be quite challenging, especially if you do it for the first time. If you’re hesitant as to whether you can patch a ROM on your own, rely on dedicated software. The secret is lots of emulators have built-in auto-patching feature, which allows patching virtually any ROM in a matter of minutes. If your current emulator doesn’t feature auto-patching, you may download ZSNES, one of the long-standing emulators that allow playing the majority of Nintendo ROMs on Mac and Windows computers. Its built-in auto-patcher is famed for its accuracy and speed.

But ZSNES isn’t the only option at your disposal. Other popular Nintendo emulators such as Visual Boy Advance, SNES9x, Gens, and Project 64 can help you tailor any ROM to your specific gaming needs. But be advised that the aforementioned tools are not native software, which means that you’ll need to change code manually to patch your N64 ROMs.

If you download .xdelta ROM files and decide to patch them, the Goldeneye Setup Editor and Delta Patch should be your best bets. These utilities can help you quickly patch any ROMs without the need for writing much code from scratch. The best thing about using Delta Patcher is that the program creates a separate file with the edited ROM, while the original game remains unchanged. Even if you receive an error message during the patching process, chances are your original ROM will be OK. As for the patched ROM, it will remain almost identical to the original ROM in the worst-case scenario.

As for Goldeneye patcher, it is the professional tool that can not only patch your ROM, but also create various cheats and hacks for various games.  

How to Apply a Patch?

Applying patches to your ROM is not brain surgery. Still, it may require you to invest some time into studying this process.

First you need to decide on the ROM you want to patch. After that, you would be well-advised to create a separate folder where you’ll be storing patched games. Name it something like “Patches” folder

Download the xdelta patch for your game. (You can get as many xdelta patches as you want). If it comes in the zip format, make sure to decompress it. It would be a good idea to save the unzipped files to your “Patches” folder. After that you can delete the old archive.

Make sure to unzip and install your Delta Patcher and click on the .exe file. Once you start the program, select the ROM file you want to modify from the Original Game File list.

Locate the “Apply Patch” button and click it. At this point, Delta Patcher will start make all the necessary changes to the selected file. In a minute or so, the program will complete the patching process and you’ll get a freshly patched ROM to play on your emulator.

  • Should you receive an error message, try to change the byte-swapped status of your ROM. To do it, download the latest version of Tool64 program and make the necessary changes.   
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