Frontend Project

Frontend Project

One of the main reasons I started Gaming Alexandria was a place to share my high quality scans I had made for myself for various emulator frontends. While for some systems there was a pretty good amount of good quality artwork for the emulator frontends so many others were lacking.  If you’re unfamiliar with what a frontend you can read a good overview by clicking here or watch a video to see an example of one here. Now years late I’ve decided to rebuild my setup from scratch and thought I would share my results here and see if others in the community wanted to help contribute as well since it’s a massive undertaking. If this sounds like something that would interest you as well you might consider joining our Discord and chatting in the emufrontends channel there.

This whole thing is very much beta currently, and may or may not really get off the ground but I thought I’d start it here and just document and share what I’m up to. You will NOT find any ROMs here and please do not request them. That is what Google is for. I will provide my curated DAT’s and media files that match up with those however which you can get here. The various frontends handle these differently so you’ll need to familiarize yourself with whichever one you need. For a video on understanding DATs and organizing ROMs you might check out this one here.

Each system presents its own unique challenges and so under each system I’ll list notes of what my logic is behind the way I have organized things. You may or may not disagree with it but hey that’s why I’m providing my files and you can use those as a basis to create what you want to do if you like. This is all subjective and that’s the fun of it honestly imo.

Lastly I want help! Would love for someone to take my existing scans (or others) and clean them up for frontend use so if you have photoshop skills they could be useful for sure! Also need help from those that are deeply familiar with various system libraries to help build proper 1G1R (One Game One Rom) sets. Lastly a lot of emulator frontends can use metadata for games and display them such as release dates, game descriptions, publishers etc. and could use help building those XML files. Please join the Discord if you’re interested in helping with any of the above.

Files You’ll Need –

ES-DE is the frontend I’m using and what all this is based on. I am a big fan of it due to it’s simplicity and stability. This fork of Emulation Station is great because it is one (if not the only) emulator frontends that is strict about your ROM and media files being listed in XML files perfectly and matched up. It is intelligent enough to look and see a ROM and if you have a media file that matches in the proper media folder it ties the two together and doesn’t require anything else! You can get away without having to edit a XML file ever. (Though there are reasons you might want to for metadata though now it’s optional!). There was one minor thing that bothered me about it though and that is if you use subfolders in your ROM folders like I do you have to match your subfolder structure of your media files exactly the same. I just made this to where as long as you have a file in the root of the media folder that matches the ROM name it will display it properly without having to match the structure of your ROM folder. That may not mean anything to anybody but that is the difference. You can totally use the original version of ES-DE (Grab the Portable Version) you can download here and as long as you don’t use sub folders (You probably won’t it’s not a normal thing) it will work just fine with our media pack downloads.

Download ES-DE (Modified) 3.0.1

Once you download that unzip it and simply run ES-DE.exe within it. It won’t actually show any games or be usable though until you put ROMs in the proper folders. Be sure to read the instructions for each system below to help with this!

Keyboard Keys for ES-DE –

Enter – Selects
Backspace – Go Back
ESC – Brings up the Menu for ES-DE in which you can do various things (including quitting).

Atari 7800

The 7800 had a small retail library of only 58 individual retail releases so it was a good one to start this whole project with.

To Do –

Box artwork for this system is pretty good for the most part. However would be nice to get higher quality box scans, and then get them cleaned up by someone with photoshop skills.

Games that definitely need rescanned as they’re not high quality are –

Kung-Fu Master
Pete Rose Baseball
Tank Commander
Tomcat – The F-14 Fighter Simulator
Water Ski

– Higher quality marquee/logo images would be great too, would again require someone with photoshop skills.
– Add high quality manual scans.

To run it you’ll need to download the following files –

Atari – Atari 7800 [GA] 1G1R Retail (29-03-2024) – Media Pack V1.0
Atari 7800 – GA (29-03-2024) Game List XML for ES-DE

Unzip both of those files into the root of your ES-DE install directory and it should properly place them where they need to go. You’ll need the media pack if you want to see the pretty box art, videos, and marquee images. You’ll need the XML to show the metadata for each game including developer, publisher, release date, genre, and players. It looks pretty nice when you use both so I recommend grabbing them!

I cannot provide ROMs but any ROMs that match up with No-Intro hashes should work, just make sure you legally acquire them. You will need to place them in the proper place of your ES-DE install. Browse to the root of your ES-DE install folder and then go to the ROMs folder then go to the atari7800 folder and place the ROMs there. For example if your ES-DE install is at C:\ES-DE your atari7800 roms folder will be at C:\ES-DE\Roms\atari7800. Unzipped or zipped ROMs should both work so don’t worry about which format you have, the XML has entries for both types of files.

To get a nice and clean 1G1R romset without dupes or stuff being misnamed I would highly recommend downloading our DAT for the ROMs below and unzip it somewhere. Within it you’ll see a roms subdirectory you can drop your ROMs into (THEY MUST BE UNZIPPED!) and then run the “Run Me to Match ROM NAMES.bat” file and it should rename them properly and output them to a rename directory within the folder. It will also create an output.txt file that will show you the results of how many it was able to successfully rename or not so you can troubleshoot if needed. Finally move the renamed ROMs to the proper ES-DE folder as discussed in the paragraph above.

Atari – 7800 [GA] [1G1R Retail] (29-03-2024) – DAT File plus Renamer

Emulation Notes –

I have enabled shaders for all emulators to mimic a CRT display. Also during gameplay if you press the m key on your keyboard it will switch the shaders to look more like a composite/RF input if you like that sort of thing, I kinda actually do myself for the 7800.

I’ve also enabled a low pass filter for the audio on this emulator which I think makes it sounds better and not so shrill (Playing Donkey Kong without this will make your ears bleed!) Many joystick should work automatically with Retroarch but I can’t promise they all will and you may have to figure out how to do that on your own though I can try to help in the Discord channel as well. However the keyboard should always work –

Arrow Keys – Directions on the gamepad
Z – Button 1
X – Button 2
S – Console Reset
RShift – Console Select
Enter – Console Pause
Q – Left Difficulty
W – Right Difficulty
ESC – Quit Emulator
F1 – Brings up Retroarch Menu (Be careful you can mess up your settings here!)

Nintendo Entertainment System / Famicom

Warning this system is VERY Beta and I don’t recommend messing with it yet but if you really want to you can try.

The NES has a massive library of games that are STILL being created to this day not only by indie/homebrew creators but also on various NES based plug & play devices from Asia! Organizing that side will be pretty tough so to start with I’m just focusing on retail releases initially as well as English translated romhacks. I’ve currently curated a 1G1R set that contains retail releases only during the time the NES was sold (Early 80’s to Mid 90’s) including unlicensed releases. I *believe* i’ve gotten everything covered but if you notice any missing games or mistakes please let me know. Below each DAT if I have media files named to match the ROM names you can find a torrent to download those from which include things such as boxart, videos, etc. in as high of quality as I’ve been able to locate.

To Do List –

Protos, Pirates, and Homebrew/Aftermarket DATs

XML Metadata (Incomplete)

Trying to source accurate metadata for this and using back of the box for the game descriptions. Would LOVE help with this as it’s time consuming. What I have linked above is incomplete and very WIP but will update it from time to time.

DAT Files –

Nintendo – Nintendo Entertainment System (Headered) [GA] [1G1R Retail] (21-03-2024) V0.90

ROM Priority is USA > Europe > Japan. So if for example a game has a USA release that will take priority and no other ROM for the same game will be there. I also took the highest revision version of each game. Parent ROMs only, no Clones (From the No-Intro DAT). Exceptions – I took Tengen unlicensed USA releases over Japan official releases for games such as Klax, After Burner, Super Sprint etc. I also took Stadium Events over World Class Track Meet.  Just as a heads up Rolling Thunder for Famicom has better sounds, and After Burner has better graphics so if you think you’d be interested in that keep that in mind as those aren’t included in this DAT.

Download DAT
Download Media Pack (Torrent)

Most of the box media sourced from WallyWonka’s sets so huge thanks to him!

Nintendo – Famicom [GA] [T-En] Collection (16-03-2024)

This is sourced from the existing [T-En] collection floating around on the web BUT I have gone through and renamed all the ROMs to their proper No-Intro names instead of by the title screens. For me this makes much more sense and helps immensely when organizing translated ROMs. You can use this DAT to rename the T-En collection and prune it yourself. Or you can go by what I decided and use my pruned 1G1R [T-En] collection posted a little lower on the page.

Download DAT
No Media Pack Yet 🙁 But would love someone to help cleanup images for this, we have a ton scanned on this site to start with!

Nintendo – Famicom [GA] [T-En] 1G1R Collection (16-03-2024)

Same as above except I took out the relocalized and incomplete translations. I also only kept one translation for each game which I decided I thought was the best (You may disagree! That’s okay!)

Download DAT