Crazy ass rom hacks

Yes, we know downloading ROMS is technically illegal - but so are jaywalking and incest, and that’s never stopped any of you. Before Nintendo gets all pissy at us, we’re not telling you to download these games. Hell, we’re not even recommending them. The truth is you are better off dusting off your old systems, or hitting up the Virtual Console. Any amount of charm or notoriety in these hacks is perfectly encapsulated in a screenshot, and in general, they’re a very poor substitute for the originals.

When hackers start painting their own world inside the code of existing games, it can get mildly amusing, sure. But would you play Super Mario Bros. 3 all the way through just to catch the occasional glimpse of a swastika, a penis or a swastika made out of penises? Of course you wouldn’t! Most of these "upgrades" are the artistic equivalent of fart clouds and sets of genitals scrawled onto images in an aged health class textbook. Join us as we mock a buffet of hack art today, all the while saving you the trouble of playing through dozens of misguided passion projects.


Every day we’re getting closer to a world where all of our favorite game characters can coexist in the same universe, sometimes even in the same game. Back in the day, that wasn’t the case. Dream team-ups like Kingdom Hearts and Marvel vs. Capcom were still years away. So, the only way to get around tight-fisted game companies locked in heated competition was to mash it up yourself. Quality be damned.


Hack of: Sonic the Hedgehog (Famicom bootleg)

Less mash-up and more train wreck, this 8-bit paradox hoists Mario into Sonic’s Green Hill Zone and... well, it sucks, dammit! They’ve given the fat-assed Italian all of the hedgehog’s speed, but none of the jumping ability. We’d complain about cheap deaths, but there are also several areas where you’ll never be allowed to die, thanks to a poorly implemented ring system that turns spiked pits into digital purgatory.

Oh well, since this is the only way to enjoy a Sonic and Mario team-up, we’ll just have to settle. What’s that? Smash Bros. Brawl? Never heard of it.


Sonic Jam 6
Hack of: Super Mario Bros. (SNES All-Stars)

Conversely, Sonic does fare better in the Mushroom Kingdom, though not by much. Apparently ripped from the SNES All-Stars version of the original SMB, it at least looks superior. The hedgehog can now hurl fireballs just like the plumbers do, but strangely - instead of being midgetized - a pre-mushroom Sonic appears Knuckles red. Why not? We’re surprised he’s not throwing vegetables.

Above: Red vs Blue

Jumping is just as clunky and unforgiving as Somari, and Sonic’s trademark speed just doesn’t lend itself to these iconic levels, possibly due to the tall green pipes every three feet. Even worse, the horrendous variation of the Mario theme would appear to have come from the Keytar of Satan himself.


Super Castlevania 2
Hack of: Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest

When gamers sit around in their wicker rocking chairs and ponder who should’ve been in Super Smash Bros. Brawl - as we’re wont to do - Simon Belmont is inevitably mentioned in the top 3.  Other than some notable appearances, there’s not all that much “Super!” about this Castlevania hack. If anything, it should make you appreciate the Kirby-less, Metroidvania direction the series is enjoying now.

Above: Since when are vampires, banshees and swamp creatures not enough? 


Mega Man in the Mushroom Kingdom
Hack of: Mega Man

While this hack is well done and pretty damned inspired, it’s extremely unwieldy. Even old timers who know Mario and Mega Man inside out will have a hard time playing. Something about a Goomba lifting off the ground and zipping around like missile is just plain disorienting, as well as impossible to get used to. You’ll get just as much enjoyment, if not more, by just looking at screens of the game than actually playing it. You’re welcome.

Above: Sorry Mega Man, but your sister is in another castle


Spiney Dodge Ball
Hack of: Super Dodge Ball

The title says it all. It’s the same great game, with the ball replaced by one of Mario’s most problematic enemies.

But we gotta say, it could’ve used a Brimley hack... (You'll see what we mean on the next page)

Above: Aim for the eyes


  • PatHan-bHai - February 23, 2013 11:40 a.m.

  • fobidenerror - December 11, 2010 1:13 a.m.

    With the exception of Jomb's hacks, I don't see where these others are so bad, Jomb is the NES Rapist he'll rape any game any day of the week. He'll make a program that rape's a game and call it Rapist like "Monster Rapist" the Nes game Monster Party level editor. People on the internet begged him to make many of his hacks because they wanted them more than he did. that is the darkside of romhacking you either want to get somewhere fast or nowhere after years of work, the main focus of the Rom hacking community is on Fan Translation bringing accurate English translations of games unreleased in our country to the U.S.A.. I have been a rom hacker since 1998 who knows about me nobody I made two really awesome complete hacks one that is a total conversion of the original game they aren't perverted, So nobody knows who I am.
  • fobidenerror - December 11, 2010 12:33 a.m.

    You think those hacks suck, or that they aren't that great get your self a character editor like Tile Layer Pro or YYchar open the ROM "Game Image" and see what you can do with compressed graphic's, nothing. Laugh away they weren't copied and pasted many of them had ASM coding changes, decompression and all kinds of things you have no idea how to do. Try it some time you aren't skilled enough to alter Super Mario Brothers yet alone anything else and we know you are just angry cause you can't copy a real Rom hackers work and claim it as your own. Waka Waka Waka you can talk but you can't deliver.
  • BoondockSaint54 - July 9, 2010 1:32 a.m.

    Awesome article, Chris. I laughed at a lot of those.
  • waffledragon33 - July 8, 2010 10:22 p.m.

  • Thirteenth - March 13, 2010 1:57 p.m.

    Oh IWBTG, thou art a heartless bitch.
  • dmaster225 - March 1, 2010 5:26 a.m.

    what about kaizo mario world? thats a pretty difficult one.
  • D0CCON - February 27, 2010 5:45 a.m.

    Bottom of page 3, the children here will suck your... Woah....................................
  • hdofu - January 16, 2010 2:26 a.m.

    Also I feel bad for not saying this, in the above, but how can this list not give mention to the legendary Wilfred Brimley, the patron saint of Rom Hacks
  • hdofu - January 16, 2010 2:23 a.m.

    To be fair this article gives the impression this is the only kind of rom hacks out there. There are some good examples out there like Mario Adventure, Extra Mario Bros, Super Kitkiu World, Legend of Zelda Parallel worlds. BS Zelda: The Ancient Stone Tablets Wouldn't even be playable ever again without rom hacking. Some great games also are translated via hack Also there are official rom hacks... like Super Mario Bros 2
  • FanofSaiyan - December 12, 2009 10:13 p.m.

    Nude Mario?! These guys must have seperate lives to waste exclusively.
  • Sorekara - December 3, 2009 1:30 a.m.

    I am downloading IWTBTG now.
  • shnazzyone - November 5, 2009 6:01 a.m.

    This list is missing one of the greatest rom hacks of all time. Pussy city pimps.
  • Rockman - July 17, 2009 6:57 p.m.

    @nyef Actually it's not a typo. "As we're wont to do" is a phrase meaning something to the tune of "as we have a habit of doing". I used to mess around with Rom hacks all the time, so this article made me laugh. Good stuff GR!
  • Kaz993 - July 17, 2009 6:03 a.m.

    I am one of those that beat I wanna be the guy. Smashed 2 keyboards and the neighbors complained for my screaming. I gotta say, for some reason dracula always seemed the most irritating part of the game, aside from the Guy at the end (who took me well over 400 tries to beat.)
  • darkshadow0308 - July 22, 2009 2:47 p.m.

  • nyef - July 17, 2009 3:19 a.m.

    lol i give props to the people that made these roms... even though they're illegal p.s. "When gamers sit around in their wicker rocking chairs and ponder who should’ve been in Super Smash Bros. Brawl - AS WE'RE WONT TO DO -" uhhh... i think that's a typo...
  • RebornKusabi - February 9, 2009 12:05 a.m.

    Holy God! Your a complete and total fucking tool if you have never played "I Wanna Be The Guy"...

Showing 1-18 of 18 comments

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