Sonic Retro

Hack policy

From Sonic Retro

(Redirected from Sonic Retro:Hack Policy)

As part of its mission to document all official Sonic the Hedgehog-related things and relevant history of the Sonic scene, the Sonic Retro wiki hosts modifications of Sonic the Hedgehog games, commonly known as "ROM hacks".

However, Sonic Retro is not GoodGen. Hacks are accepted on the basis of their merit to both the Sonic community and the gaming world at large. As such, we expect all hacking projects, both big and small, to meet our hack policy before they can be distributed on this wiki.


Joke hack Sonic in Paynt comes from a time where the palette and title card editing was relatively new. It would not be accepted today.

In many respects, the Sonic Retro wiki acts as a "hall of fame" (or indeed a hall of shame) in regards to Sonic hacks. We only accept the very best and most notable, as judged by qualified users of the community.

It is highly advised that any new hacking project is posted in the "Engineering & Reverse Engineering" section of the Sonic Retro forums rather than the Sonic Retro wiki. If you are in doubt, go there first. If you have failed your trial period, do not use this wiki as an alternative.

Equally, Sonic Retro is not a personal file hosting website, nor a means to seek internet fame and fortune - those treating it as such will see their hacks removed.

In response to the above, it has also been decided that as of July 2018 it has been decided that users cannot upload their own hacks. If you upload and/or make a page on a hack you have created, it will be removed. Exceptions are made to those we judge responsible - a Sonic Retro moderator will have the deciding say on whether a hack should have a wiki page.

Users can continue to make pages for hacks that aren't theirs, as long as the hack meets the hack policy described below. That is to say, the July 2018 ammendment does not ban hacks, it just aims to reduce showboating.

Hack policy

Examples of hacks qualified for inclusion

Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog was the first hack to successfully port Knuckles the Echidna into the original Sonic the Hedgehog game. Its creator, Stealth, would go on to help produce the official release of Sonic Mania in 2017.
  • Historical hacks: As a general rule, hacks created before 2003 will qualify for inclusion, provided they are not palette-only hacks. Early hacks provide a window to the early Sonic research community, when such works were cutting-edge.
  • Technologically innovative works: In the case of games that are not well-documented, something as simple as palette-editing, new music or changed art may qualify as a legitimate contribution to the community. As such, they are accepted for the site.
  • Notorious hacks: Several hacks and hack hoaxes are so well-known that they are used as comparisons to modern hacks. Many hoax hacks, despite being already proven to be hoaxes, are erroneously reported to be genuine prototypes. For educational purposes, these works are included on the site.
  • Hacks which are currently considered to be important: Ask this simple question—will people still be talking about this project two years from now? If so, the hack qualifies.

If you feel you meet this or another significant qualifier for inclusion on Sonic Retro, check your own hacking project.

Hacking project qualifications

Sonic Triple Trouble SMS brings what was intended to be a Game Gear exclusive, Sonic Triple Trouble, to a completely different platform, the Sega Master System.
  • Make sure you have a project to begin with: In order to have a hacking project, you must have proof that such a project exists, either by a public ROM release, a series of screenshots, or some other definitive proof that you have and are working on a hack.

In a small number of cases, Sonic Retro administrators may waive this requirement.

  • Make sure you have a quality project: Palette hacks with minor level changes for the four big ROMs (Sonic 1, Sonic 2, Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles) are non-notable in 95 percent of cases and will be summarily removed. Minor edits, especially those done by Sonic Hacking Utilities, are non-notable. As a general rule, your hack should have at least three of the following:
    • Palette Edits
    • Level Layout AND Object Placement Edits
    • New or Ported Music
    • ASM Edits
    • Art Edits

The many editors to this site are seasoned Sonic hacking veterans, and will be able to determine with a good deal of expert knowledge whether a hack is deserving of a spot or not. This is not to slag or discourage beginning hackers, but instead to focus those beginners towards making a quality product.

  • You MUST have a corresponding page on Sonic Retro: Sonic Retro is not a glorified uploading site for the Sonic scene. There must be an accompanying article for any hack uploaded onto the system done in the style of all hacks listed in Category:Hacks.
  • You MUST host a mirror of your files on Sonic Retro: One of the most alarming problems with hack distribution is that oftentimes files are hosted on temporary upload sites or by web servers which are later dismantled. Because Sonic Retro isn't going anywhere anytime soon, we ask that you at least mirror your files onto the upload system here. You are free to include a link to your own hosting of the file, website or forum thread(s) in addition to this file.

Hack uploading requirements

Sonic the Hedgehog Megamix is a significant overhaul of Sonic the Hedgehog, to the point where it has been (illegally) distributed in physical form.
  • If you are uploading a hack onto the system for the Sega Mega Drive, please distribute your ROM fully patched (i.e., no IPS or RXL patches) in either .bin or .gen format (not .smd) contained inside a .zip file (.rar or .7z if only absolutely necessary.) Sonic Retro does not accept uncompressed files (unless you would like to pay its server bills) and non-standard compressions—all major Mega Drive/Genesis emulators recognize .zip compression and the format is the most universal and accessible of all compression formats.
  • Upload your file with a clear, accurate filename, and tag the hack file in its appropriate category.
  • If you are uploading multiple versions, do not delete the older version of your hack; it is kept for archival purposes.


By placing your hack on Sonic Retro, you give the site irrevocable rights to distribute the files. Files, while appearing to be deleted, can never be fully removed from our servers. We will NEVER take credit for anyone else's work—you, the hacker, hold the rights to your work. Conversely, Sonic Retro reserves the right to remove any hack at any time if it does not meet the policy stated on this page.

ROM hacks distributed within the GoodGen ROM set are considered by this site to be "freely distributable," and may be placed on the site due to their already wide distribution.

Sonic Retro
Sonic Retro
Sites Sonic Retro | Sega Retro | NEC Retro | Retro CDN | GitHub
Resources FAQ | Wiki tutorial | Help:Contents | Getting started | Hack policy | Fan game policy
Community Forums | Discord server | IRC channel
Member Groups Administrator | Moderator | Wiki Sysop | Site Staff
| Member | Pending Membership | Banned |
Tech Member | Researcher | Oldbie