Tutorials & How To's

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Extracting ROM files

Hello once again in another tutorial Wave, today we are going to deal with ROM files and explain how to properly maintain them.
  1. The issue :

    Well, usually the ROM files are packaged  into archive files in order to reduce their size and make them easier to manage.

    Confused ” what’s an archive file at first place? ”

    Nerd” Hmm…how to explain it?? Okay, given you have some stuff (shoes, games, shampoo, etc…) that you need to package them together, well, the easiest way is to put them inside a box. That’s the same thing about archives, they are the box that holds your files together”

    ” Isn’t that what a folder does? DUH!!”
    Nerd” Well, yes… but the archive files have a main feature that neither folder nor boxes can do : compressing and reducing the file size. for example if you package a 1Go file inside an archive file, it’s size will be definitely smaller : 0.5 Go for example (The compressing ratio depends on the archive type). Thus it takes less time sending it over the internet Winking

    Back to the problem : some of the emulators (Not all of them of course) doesn’t recognize these games when packaged into archives.

    Nerd” Back to our example, Imagine you are the emulator Hee hee and the shampoo is the rom file, but instead of giving you directly the shampoo, you got the shampoo packaged inside a box; a smart emulator will unpack the box, take the shampoo bottle and use it like a boss Cool, a dumb emulator Monkey will either hold the box over it’s head and wait for the shampoo to come out or ignore the box and pretend that he doesn’t see it because it doesn’t look like a shampoo bottle”

    What we need to do then, is to extract the rom file for them and that’s what i am going to explain next.
  2. How to extract :

    Thinking “First how can i tell if my ROM file needs to be extracted?”

    That’s quiet easy to tell from the file name, if it ends with .ZIP, .RAR or .7Z (those are the most popular archive file types/extension) then your real ROM file is packaged inside and it needs to be extracted.

    As I said before, not all the emulator are dumb and doesn’t recognize the archived ROM files. You can check if your emulator support loading those files by browsing to them within the emulator, if they shows up then it’s most likely that they can run them, if that wasn’t the case then those files need to be extracted first.

    Thinking “Okay! I think I got it. But how can I extract them?”

    Well you have two possibilities that depends on the environment you are using, and by environment I mean whether you are using your computer to manage your ROMS or your android device :

Working with your PC :

I recommend using your laptops/desktop computer because it’s way easier to manage your files with. In order to decompress the archived files, we need to install a program like 7zip, WinZip or WinRAR, you get to choose, they are all free. Am using WinRAR for the next example :

We need to go to the directory containing the archived rom file, mine is a Nintendo DS rom packaged within .ZIP file “New Super Mario Bros. (US).zip” and since my Nintendo DS emulator doesn’t recognize .ZIP file and it only loads .NDS files (that’s the extension of Nintendo DS ROMS). We need to right click the archive file, we will be presented with a context menu that looks like the following :

Click “Extract here” and a process will start which will decompress the files inside the archive. We get a .NDS file which i can load now to my emulator Dancing. now all I got to do is to transfer those files from my computer to my android phone. This is can be easily done via a USB cable :

Working With android phone/tablet :

If you don’t have a USB cable for your phone/Tablet, then using your phone to extract the archive files is the best solution. First we need to install an app that will do the decompressing task for us, for that I recommend AndroZip™ File Manager one of the best android file browsers that offer the possibility to manage archive files, plus it’s free.

So I have the same archive file from the example above and we are going to extract it using AndroZip™ File Manager. First, we launch the application :

Browser to the folder containing the archive file :

Click on the file, a menu shows up, select “Extract File Here” :

And that’s it, the ROM file (0434 New Super Mario Bros. (US).nds) is extracted and ready to be loaded to the emulator :

I hope this tutorial gave you a proper idea about managing the ROM files and helped you to avoid one of main issues faced when dealing with emulator.