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Achievements for ROM hacks

Can this hack I've found/I've made be a new set on RetroAchievements?

RetroAchievements opens the doorway to include fun hack sets for players to enjoy. The issue arising in such a broad category open to world of creativity being "What is allowed, and what is not allowed to become a set at RetroAchievements?"

Game Trainer Patcheslink

Not allowed under any circumstance

Hacks that include "game trainers" or integrated cheat features are (for obvious reasons) banned.

Difficulty and Story Hackslink

Often allowed

If a ROM hack has sufficient enough differences from the licensed game insomuch that the game can be considered an entirely different game than a unique set is usually acceptable. Consult RAdmin (shared mod mail account) for specific approval.

  • Remember that: If a rom hack has sufficient enough differences from the licensed game insomuch that the game can be considered an entirely different game than its original existing set, it is usually acceptable. Consult RAdmin (shared mod mail account) for specific approval.

These kinds of ROM hacks will get their own entry in the database.


Bug-fix, Re-balancing and Utility Hackslink

Usually not allowed

Hacks that include development-level integrated utilities such as easily accessible level select, debug menus, menus that display information or provide testing features not normally accessible via the normal game, are never allowed to be linked to core sets or get their own set.

Hacks that offer gameplay utilities where it doesn't exist in the release version are almost never allowed. Utilities such as easy weapon select, in game maps, new minor upgrades or abilities, improved controls, faster movement.

Utilities and bug-fix hacks that improve or patch glitches found in the released version of games are usually not allowed to be linked to the main set; they usually offer and experience that gives players an unfair competitive advantage. They are also usually not allowed to have their own achievement set because they are not unique enough to warrant it.

Cosmetic bug fixes which don't alter gameplay might be allowed, see cosmetic/sprite hacks.


Beta Release, Prototype and "Testing" Hackslink

Usually not allowed

If a rom hack is incomplete or in a beta/prototype/testing state with potential game-breaking glitches, crashes, or bugs, intact as a result of hacking, it is usually not allowed.


Translation Patcheslink

Usually allowed

English is the Primary language of RetroAchievements. Translation Patches are sometimes applied by developers to non-English titles as the main MD5 for an achievement set where no licenced English version exists. In these cases patching instructions will be provided in the forum thread of that title. Providing an up-to-spec translation patch for an existing title is usually allowed to make a game more accessible to other native language speakers. You must deep-memory inspect your translation contribution against the core set and submit it for approval before handing it over to the developer of the set for posting in their thread along with the game.

Sometimes translation patches may critically differ from the developer MD5 in memory differences that you may find online. Before linking these patches check with the original developer or do deep memory tests to ensure total compatibility. You can link translation patches you find online to core sets as long as the game's core achievements all function correctly and do not make the game more or less difficult.

Tip: For games with text-triggered achievements (especially RPGs) it's recommend to find an event flag instead of hooking onto text or text ID. Text presentation varies between regional versions making multi-region support difficult.


Cosmetic / Sprite Hackslink

Usually allowed

  • Cosmetic / Sprite hacks that do nothing to change the original game other than its graphics are not allowed to become their own set. They may be a little fun experience but they are still the same game. When linked they will be linked to the primary set.



Consult the community via the forum and Discord for review and approval. You can get a good view-port of what the community likes to see by asking. Asking for approval before linking is an integral Developer practice, and falls within your code of conduct as a developer here at RetroAchievements.


Last 10 changes on this page:

  • [2021-03-01 01:06] televandalist: Removed section about using cosmetic patches for Bonus sets. It's not a good practice and should have been in the Bonus set guide anyway.
  • [2020-07-06 09:53] meleu: markdown fix
  • [2020-02-17 05:32] meleu: speak with BenGhazi for bonus set patches
  • [2019-08-13 19:45] Kvon: Achievements for Romhacks, text hooking tip
  • [2019-07-22 17:14] Kvon: minor edit. Changed capitalization
  • [2019-07-22 14:38] Kvon: Achievements for romhacks: Added much clarification, more examples, split out "Beta Release..." into is own section. Updated what might be allowed to match status quo.
  • [2018-09-09 20:27] Kvon: Listed translation patches as possibly allowed
  • [2018-02-03 22:10] meleu: changed the title