ROMs have been cast out of paradise....https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6rwGQDqf2shttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nckt-U7cu9Qhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLWudZpWuN0
And that site was one of my "go to" resources for ROMs, too.
If things keep sliding in the direction it's going in--when it comes to ROM hacking--this is going to suck harder than Lando Calrissian having sex with a vacuum cleaner.*
When I hack CD based games, I usually buy the CD and rip the ISO myself. I don't trust the ROM websites for ROM hacking projects because once upon a time I took on a PSX hacking project, only to find that every ROM site at the time was hosting an incorrectly ripped ISO of the game I needed that wouldn't even load properly. After scouring the Internets, I said, "fuck it, I'll just buy the damn thing", and from now on whenever I work on a project I just hunt down the disc on Amazon or eBay and rip the ISO myself using an optical drive that one can buy at the local electronics store.
But with cartridges, there comes in some extra hurdles.
Wanna hack games on the PSX or other disc based system? Probably won't cost an arm and a leg to buy a copy, and the ROM hacker can rip the ISO with a readily available optical drive on their PC.
Wanna hack a rare cartridge based game with a price tag that fetches hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars, and be a good boy or girl and not resort to downloading ROMs?
Get ready empty out your savings account, or take out a second mortgage on your home if you wanna continue this hobby! Also, can't buy an NES/SNES/Genesis/etc. cartridge dumper at the usual electronics store, so gotta find one somewhere online and hope to God that you're not getting ripped off with some Shit Made in China™ that doesn't even work.
From my POV, this is also an issue about preservation and allowing future generations to experience "past gaming history".
When I was in grade school I remember playing a huge theater sized arcade game at the local Wonder Park. Many years later I wanted to play this game again in some way, shape, or form, but I couldn't for the life of me remember what the name of the game was. I was dicking around YouTube one night and found footage of a game called "Starblade" which was similar, but not exactly the same game I remember playing. Upon further dicking around on YouTube, I finally saw footage of the game I was looking for: Galaxian 3. To my knowledge, Galaxian 3 isn't even on any of the Namco Museum collections.
I really wanted to play this game, but found no working MAME ROMs, only ROM sets with files missing that prevented it from running. I kept scouring ROM sites until I found a PSX version of the game that was so rare, it's not even listed on GameFAQs. I had no idea that this version of the game even existed had it not been for ROM sites (I later found some mention of it on Wikipedia, but with no source citations to back it up).
Not only can I relive a portion of my childhood by playing this PSX ISO, but I (and other gamers who missed out on this obscure PSX game during the 90's) can also acknowledge the hard work of everyone who worked their asses off to make this game, allowing their work to "live on". Later on, I did see a copy of this on eBay, but their are only so many of these discs in circulation. If people are barred from downloading a copy of this disc that isn't even being printed anymore, it prevents the larger public from appreciating the hard work the developers put into making this game. And I doubt Namco and Sony are losing millions of dollars when people download an obscure game from decades ago that isn't even being printed or sold in retail stores anymore.
This like preserving books, films, newspaper articles, etc.
If things keep sliding in the direction it's going in, some of us ROM hackers should to keep copies of our ROMs and distribute them on the "low low" for future ROM hackers.*Very few people will get this reference, since very few people actually saw that movie.