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Long-Running ROM Site Emuparadise Throws in the Towel

(Image credit: robtek/Shutterstock)

It's the end of an era. The founder of Emuparadise, a long-running website that offered a near-comprehensive library of ROMs and ISOs for the games of yesteryear, announced this week that they have decided to stop distributing those classic titles. That means one of the best-known and most secure ways of downloading retro console games and the emulators required to play them on modern PCs will no longer be available.

How you feel about Emuparadise's decision likely depends on where you fall on the emulation debate. Many people have maintained that uploading ROMs was the best way to make sure an entire generation's worth of media doesn't vanish as physical cartridges start to crumble. Others have said that emulating old consoles they own is simply about convenience. Still, others believe that distributing ROMs is nothing more than mass piracy.

Sometimes the lines between those ideologies get blurred. Nintendo, for example, has been accused of wrapping illegal ROMs in its own code to make classic games available on its new platforms. How can a company justify using these ROMs while also fighting to make them unavailable? But this isn't an ethical debate, it's a legal one, and Nintendo escalated it in July when it sued two ROM sites for copyright infringement.

Emuparadise is used to dealing with legal threats, hosting issues and the other consequences that come with running a site devoted to ROMs and emulators. But now the founder has decided that enough is enough. As they explained in its blog post about the decision to stop distributing ROMs:

"It's not worth it for us to risk potentially disastrous consequences. I cannot in good conscience risk the futures of our team members who have contributed to the site through the years. We run Emuparadise for the love of retro games and for you to be able to revisit those good times. Unfortunately, it's not possible right now to do so in a way that makes everyone happy and keeps us out of trouble."

There's no question that distributing and downloading ROMs is illegal. (Common arguments surrounding the download of games you already own and similar "but what if?" defenses are generally not expected to hold up in court.) But as sites like Emuparadise decide not to risk Nintendo and other companies' wrath, the opportunity to play beloved games that are no longer commercially available will continue to disappear.

  • alexcle
    This news makes me sad. Why don't EmuP and LoveR just stop hosting Nintendo roms?

    F'you Nintendo!
    Reply
  • redgarl
    21220786 said:
    This news makes me sad. Why don't EmuP and LoveR just stop hosting Nintendo roms?

    F'you Nintendo!

    Yeah, FY Nintendo for creating all these awesome titles...

    Phhhh, just <Redacted>
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    21221029 said:
    21220786 said:
    This news makes me sad. Why don't EmuP and LoveR just stop hosting Nintendo roms?

    F'you Nintendo!

    Yeah, FY Nintendo for creating all these awesome titles...

    Phhhh, just <Redacted>

    Recommending piracy, as you know, is highly disallowed here.
    Reply
  • brandonclone1
    I wouldn't worry. There are so many of us who visited these sites for YEARS and started our own collections and can be used for sharing. These ROMs and our favorite games will always be available in some way, some form. RIP Emuparadise.
    Reply
  • derekullo
    Piracy is wrong, but so is the copyright system the still covers games so old I wasn't even shaving when they came out.

    Prime example would be The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

    I wanted to play it about 3 weeks ago so I dug up the cartridge and the console from a box in the closet.

    Inserted the cartridge and nothing would come up.

    I can't blame Nintendo for not warrantying their games for 25 years.

    But at 25 years the game should be in public domain by now.

    If I wanted to show my son the game I either have to say go watch clips on youtube or buy another copy of the game on ebay and hope my 25 year old console holds up for another few years or pay Nintendo even more money for the SNES Classic.
    Reply
  • johnanddaisyparent
    It's illegal, like going 5 over the speed limit is illegal. Who cares.
    Reply
  • Blitz Hacker
    Nintendo will get what it gets, it's best days are behind them.

    Making that unavailable is just shooting themselves in the foot for a quick cash grab now.

    Waiting for them to hit youtube sueing people for using mario in videos without written permission next.
    Reply
  • dstarr3
    They should have no course of legal action unless they provide consumers with a current means of purchasing the product new.
    Reply
  • s997863
    Who knows, maybe EmuParadise would've avoided the heat if they hadn't hosted recent generation ROMs like GameCube & Wii ... etc.?

    I've only seen the home screen on the old Wii, and Nintendo shouldn't presume much demand for (and thereby, assume commercial losses from pirating) their old games, considering their inconvenient user interface (compared to the feature-rich open-source emulators available), flimsy lightweight glossy-finish controllers (compared to emulating on your choice of USB controller or keyboard, or the old wired GameCube controllers), and unreasonable pricing/licensing.
    Reply
  • Zaporro
    Ninetendo logic

    Let game die out

    Dont allow anybody to store it for historic purposes

    Retarded copyright laws, extended to the end of world and one day later, held just for shit n giggles and to blackmail people who actually bother to do something with forgotten titles

    Prime examples of that, current situation or when a money hungry company shuts down community mods
    Reply