However, one of the most well-known websites in that landscape, EmuParadise, announced today that it's removing all ROMs from its platform due to legal fears. Now, other sites are starting to remove ROMs, including EmuParadise.
The statement does not explicitly offer a reason for the changes, but does note that "many of you are aware that the situation with regards to emulation sites has been changing recently". What you probably don't know is that we at EmuParadise have been dealing with similar issues for all 18 years of our existence. 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 made a decision to stop distributing those classic titles.
However, it wasn't worth it for them to "risk potentially disastrous consequences", as well as the futures of the team behind the site.
For now, it looks as though emulators are still available for download, but ROMs and ISOs are completely gone. We've always complied with takedown requests but as you can see, that is no guarantee of anything.
While the site's ROM library is no longer available, MasJ does say that they will still be able to provide a database of emulators - you'll just have to find the files to play on them elsewhere.
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KitGuru Says: The way I see it, EmuParadise will likely turn into more of a community forum for those who enjoy retro games.
EmuParadise has been running since 2000, and it's a good bet many of you have visited the site from time to time (it's easily one of the most popular ROM and emulator destinations online) to download a classic game from your childhood that you felt like catching up with again.
The decision has been met with sadness and anger from retro game fans, including notable video game historians who have noted that ROM sites have, up until now, played a crucial role in cataloging and archiving games that may otherwise have been unavailable to new players or lost entirely. We will continue to be passionate retro gamers and will keep doing cool stuff around retro games.
"We have already made several plans of what is going to happen next", they continued.
You can read the full statement on EmuParadise here.