Super Mario World
Image: Zion Grassl / Time Extension

If you've dabbled in the world of SNES emulation lately, then you'll perhaps have heard of the term 'FastROM' and are wondering exactly how it relates to your beloved Nintendo system.

The short answer is that FastROM patches – which are created by fans in a completely unofficial capacity – dramatically improve the performance of specific SNES titles when run via emulation.

This means games that were often plagued by slowdown back in the day now run smoothly and control more responsively – so it's little wonder that a lot of SNES fans are keen to see as many patches as possible.

What Is A FastROM Patch?

If you're wondering how these patches work, the Super Nintendo was basically created with two ROM modes in mind that took advantage of different CPU speeds. SlowROM runs the CPU at 2.68 MHz, while FastROM runs it at 3.58 Mhz instead. Hackers are therefore patching the ROMs to take advantage of the faster mode and its 33.58% quicker processing times.

As KandoWontu explains in a Reddit post on the subject, developers back in the day likely opted to ship with the slower mode enabled due to cost, as SlowROM chips were cheaper to manufacture. Because of this, it isn't unusual to find games that were originally written for FastROM banks and that were later converted down and shipped for slower chips.

But who do we have to thank for these patches? Brazilan coder Vitor Vilela did a lot of early pathfinding in the realm of FastROM patches and has been recently joined by the aforementioned KandoWontu, the talented hacker behind the Star Fox EX Exploration Showcase, who has recently been releasing a bunch of new conversion patches. This means that you can now play a wide range of classic SNES games with faster loading times, less lag, and more responsive controls.

The hacks should work on both real hardware and most SNES emulators.

How Do I Use A FastROM Patch?

The patch itself isn't the complete game and needs to be applied to the game ROM before it will work. You'll need to make sure you have the right ROM for the patch (ROM files are obtained at your own risk – we always advise that you use legal methods to get them), too.

This isn't an entirely straightforward process, but there's an excellent guide here.

FastROM patched games can be used on SNES emulators, FPGA systems (like MiSTer) and on original SNES / Super Famicom hardware via a flash cartridge.

FastROM Patches: The Complete List

KandoWontu maintains a wonderfully complete list of FastROM games here which also includes download links, but we'll also be detailing which games have patches on this page. (Please note that we won't be hosting links to download the individual patches.)

  • Acrobat Mission (J) (EN)
  • Actraiser
  • Addams Family, The - Pugsley's Scavenger Hunt (U) and (E)
  • Adventures of Batman and Robin, The (U) and (E)
  • Adventures of Kid Kleets, The (USA) & Soccer Kid (E)
  • Aero the Acrobat (U) and (E)
  • Aero the Acrobat 2
  • Aladdin (All)
  • Andre Agassi Tennis (U) and (J)
  • Araiguma Rascal (J)
  • Arcade's Greatest Hits - The Atari Collection 1 (U) and (E)
  • Arkanoid - Doh It Again (U) and (J)
  • Ashita No Joe (J)
  • Assault Suits Valken (J) and (English Trans)
  • Ballz 3D: Fighting at its Ballziest (U) & 3-jigen Kakutou Ballz (J)
  • Battle Soccer (J)
  • Bill Laimbeer's Combat Basketball
  • BioMetal (J)
  • BioMetal (USA)
  • Bonkers (U)
  • Cacoma Knight in Bizyland (U)
  • Cal Ripken Jr Baseball (U) and (E)
  • Chrono Trigger - Jet Bike Special (J) (BS)
  • College Slam
  • Cool Spot
  • D-Force
  • Darius Twin
  • Deae Tonosama Appare Ichiban (J)
  • Double Dragon V - The Shadow Falls (U) and (E)
  • Earthworm Jim
  • Emmitt Smith Football
  • Exhaust Heat (Japan) (EN)
  • Faceball 2000
  • Final Fantasy V (J)
  • Final Fight
  • Final Fight Guy
  • Firepower 2000
  • Firestriker
  • Flying Hero - Bugyuru no Daibouken (J)
  • Fun 'N Games (U) and (E)
  • Gradius III
  • Great Waldo Search, The
  • Gundam Wing: Endless Duel
  • Hebereke's Popoitto (E)
  • Hook
  • Hyperzone
  • J.R.R. Tolkiens The Lord of the Rings - Volume 1 (U) (E) and (G)
  • Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius (J)
  • Joe & Mac
  • Joe & Mac 2 (U) and Joe & Mac 3 (E)
  • Kidou Soukou Dion (J)
  • Legend (USA)
  • Legend of the Mystical Ninja
  • Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past
  • Legend of Zelda, The - A Link To The Past (France)
  • Live a Life (J)
  • Magic Sword
  • Magical Pop'n (J)
  • Mario Paint (JU)
  • Marvelous - Mouhitotsu no Takara-jima (Japan)
  • Megaman X2
  • Megaman X3
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers - The Fighting Edition
  • Mini Yonku Shining Scorpion - Let's & Go!! (Japan)
  • NBA Jam - Tournament Edition (ALL)
  • NBA Jam (ALL)
  • NHL 95/96/97/97 (Rev 1) (U) and (E) + NHL 98 (U)
  • Parodius Da! - Shinwa kara Owarai e (Japan)
  • Parodius: Non-Sense Fantasy (E)
  • Phalanx
  • Pilotwings
  • Pocky & Rocky
  • Power Soukoban (J)
  • Prince of Persia 2 (U) and (E)
  • Puggsy (Proto)
  • Race Drivin (Fastrom by Vitor Vilela)
  • Radical Psycho Machine Racing
  • Raiden Trad
  • Ranma 1/2: Chounai Gekitou Hen (J)
  • Rendering Ranger R2 (J)
  • Return of Double Dragon (J)
  • Rock N' Roll Racing
  • Rushing Beat (J)
  • SD The Great Battle (J)
  • Secret of Mana (France) Rev 0+1
  • Secret of Mana (G)
  • Secret of Mana (U) and Seiken Densetsu 2 (J)
  • Shin Nekketsu Kouha - Kunio-tachi no Banka (J)
  • Sid Meier's Civilization
  • SimAnt
  • SimCity
  • Skyblazer
  • Sonic Blast Man
  • Soreyuke Ebisumaru Karakuri Meiro - Kieta Goemon no Nazo!! (J)
  • Space Invaders - The Original Game (U) and (J)
  • Spanky's Quest (U)
  • Steel Talons
  • Strike Gunner S.T.G. (USA)
  • Stunt Race FX (Rev 1)
  • Super Adventure Island
  • Super Aleste (J)
  • Super Bowling
  • Super Buster Bros
  • Super E.D.F. (J)
  • Super E.D.F. (USA)
  • Super Mario All-Stars
  • Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World
  • Super Mario RPG (ALL)
  • Super Mario World (U) and (J) and (E)
  • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (Rev 1)
  • Super Punch-Out
  • Super R-Type (J)
  • Super R-Type (U)
  • Super Smash T.V.
  • Super Tennis
  • Super Turrican
  • Super Turrican 2 - Special Edition (NA) (UNL)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles In Time
  • The Great Battle II: Last Fighter Twin (J)
  • The Great Battle III (J)
  • The Great Battle IV (J)
  • The Great Battle V (J)
  • The Ignition Factor
  • The Ninja Warriors (U)
  • The Ninjawarriors Again (J)
  • Thunder Spirits
  • Top Gear
  • Toy Story (U) (E) (J)
  • Weaponlord (U)
  • Wild Guns
  • X-Kaliber 2097
  • Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel (U) (E Rev0+1)