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ROM hacking is a process of gaining access to and then changing a ROM image, often in the gaming industry. This is often done with the intent to change the gameplay, dialouge, graphics, or various other parts of the game. It can be a good way to revive old games, or to create new ones using an old games engine. It is usually made possible by using a hex editor and other specialized tools.
Through the process of ROM hacking, the sprites, maps, and trainers, can all be changed relatively easily so you can end up with a game that is slightly different. Furthermore ROM hacking can be used to create entire Pokemon fan games, where the entire story of the game is changed, and most of the landscape is modified, only using the Pokemon games engine as the base of the game. ROM hacking is also one of the ways in which in-game content is made available as images for forums and wikis, along with the use of capture cards.