Grabbing some entertainment for the evening from a torrent site is unlikely to get you federal time, indeed a civil fine would be a rarity (though an option so probably best to have a VPN sans logs or a better method) and does not really warrant being in the same sentence as the rest. Ripping the average optical disc is also nothing special, though should you be caught the yeah. Actually cracking a game... that could be something.
Equally ROM hacking, be you the "uses a level editor" or "actually knows what data representation is", revolves around hex editing the same way programming revolves around using a mouse. This is to say you can but you are doing it wrong. Or go another way. Linux has most emulators ported to it or a functional equivalent and some pretty nice hex editors... not so many ROM hackers on it as their hacking setup.
Most fan games getting pinged (can't say it is something I tend to connect to ROM hacking, I mean the people that made a sprite sheet might be ROM hackers, but OK) tend to be trademark concerns as well when I read the takedown notices.
I would probably also say most ROM hacking does not leave you particularly well disposed for playing hacker (or cracker if you care to make the distinction -- if I must then attacker-defender is probably where I would go instead) -- most social engineering in ROM hacking tends to be figuring out which of the "I want to test your WIP translation" is not going to turn around and "release" it for internet cool guy points, your translator is more likely to have a database and know some SQL than you are, the only changelog you will likely be paying attention to is that of a programming language rather than attack vectors, the only time you care about remote access it is probably for work or guiding a relative to install anydesk/teamviewer/whatever over the phone to help them format a document or install their new printer, and this sort of differences list could go on for a while.
Legal consequences. I try to keep an eye on such things (and again I consider fan games a whole separate affair with different legal challenges). Pretty much all of them have involved Japanese companies (Japan is hotter on copyright than most), and most of those people releasing translations for newer games or in the case of the first one I know of then something that could cause concern among the customer base.
Said first one https://www.theregister.com/2005/02/10/tecmo_sues_xbox_game_hackers/https://www.theregister.com/2005/05/27/tecmo_drops_ninjahacker_suit/
Chrono Trigger, once incredibly popular as a game to hack, is generally held as being squashed by a dubious claim.
7th Dragon on the DS (Sega,https://rastsan.wordpress.com/my-translation-projects/7th-dragon-english-translation-project/
Final Fantasy Type 0 PSPhttps://www.vg247.com/2014/07/18/final-fantasy-type-0-translation-psp-vita/https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140721/13153627958/square-enix-nixes-3-years-fan-translation-work-psp-despite-not-releasing-english-version-psp.shtml
Now from what I saw the patch was basically the whole game, and they did claim they were going to be releasing a new one.
Some count pokemon prism here, I am not sure I do and if it was it was more trademark confusion from what I saw.
The Mario 64 decompilation still seems to be shining brightly on public github, as do several pokemon and Mario disassemblies, so I have no idea what goes with that one. I would have thought it counted as all the derived works and copyrighted data (none of those are anything like cleanroom recreations). Only real guess then is they don't want to risk a negative (for them) precedent being set in a court case. Some of the compilations get smacked down though.
Videos do seem to be a target, and not just from Nintendo ( https://www.xbox.com/en-us/developers/rules
, first of the rules, and Sega vs Shining videos is a somewhat forgotten one now but I will keep the memory alive) but not sure what to say about this.
that is an interesting case. Most others seem to be them being heavy handed over detailing modifications (the modern vintage gamer stuff probably being the most egregious https://vimeo.com/user97373407
, though them smacking down mod chip installs does not sit well either).