How to Patch GBA and NDS ROM Hacks in 2023

Photo by Spencer on Unsplash

So you’ve downloaded your favorite game’s rom hack and are ready to relive your childhood. But there’s just one problem…what are you supposed to do with the bloody patch file!?

No need to stress, my friend. Once upon a time, I was just as frustrated as you are and had to spend a couple of hours to figure everything out. 

But since you’ve stumbled upon this blog, you won’t have to waste hours on research like me. Just follow the instructions below and you’ll soon find yourself playing and enjoying your favorite game. 

1. Make sure you have the correct ROM

Your game might not run the way it should if the original ROM is incorrect. Carefully go through the readme file included with the patch to know what version of ROM is required. 

For example: Pokemon GS Chronicles should be patched to a clean Fire Red ROM (1636 – pokemon fire red (u)(squirrels).gba)

2. Make a backup copy of the original ROM

Patching doesn’t always go as planned. You never know when an unexpected error will rear its ugly head. 

So remember to always make a copy of the original ROM before you move toward the next step. 

3. Download a patcher

Now, this step depends on the type of file and your Operating System (OS). 

Your patch file type is probably IPS or UPS. And your OS is probably Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS. 

I use different patchers for different file types and OS. You can use them too if you’d like. Or you can use some other patcher. Doesn’t really matter as long as the patcher does its job.

IPSLunar IPSMultiPatchUniPatcherN/A
UPSTsukuyomi UPSMultiPatchUniPatcherN/A

In case your patch file is xdelta, you can either download Delta Patcher or xdelta UI.   

Note: Unlike Google Play Store, Apple’s App Store doesn’t have any patching apps. However, iPhone owners can still patch their files using RomPatcher.

In fact, Windows, Mac, and Android users can also use this website to patch their roms. 

The process is pretty simple. All you have to do is: 

  • Upload the ROM file 
  • Upload the patch file
  • Click the ‘Apply patch’ button 

4. Download an emulator

Now that your ROM is patched, it’s time to download an appropriate emulator. 

Here, you need an emulator that is compatible with your OS and the ROM file. 

GBA filesmGBAMy Boy! LiteDelta Emulator
NDS filesNo$GBADraStic DS EmulatorNDS4iOS

And that’s about it. Your rom hack should run smoothly now. 

If you’re still facing problems or confused about the whole patching process, comment below and I’ll help you out in any way I can.