Burning Games Using ImgBurn
In my other 3 articles concerning burning games (linked to at the end of this article), I’ve so far focused only on using the program Alcohol 120%. While Alcohol 120% offers a generous free-trial period and I believe that the $52.00 they ask for the full version is more than reasonable when it comes to what is possible, I realize that some people would be more comfortable using freeware. Well, this is the article for you. In my quest to burn a 100% functional Atari Jaguar CD game, I’ve been playing around with using different burning programs. Although this doesn’t seem to make a difference, it has opened my eyes to a very easy to use and free program known as ImgBurn.
ImgBurn is lightweight software that offers up the ability to burn disc images. It may not quite contain all the features of Alcohol 120% or be customizable to such a large degree, but when it comes to burning CD-based games, it does the trick every bit as well. The latest version is always available for free at http://www.imgburn.com/.
I intend on going into enough detail here that it won’t be necessary to read my initial post explaining how to burn games, (in fact some of this information will closely mirror info from that article), but you may also want to look it over if you find yourself lost when I start talking about what types of files you will need and where to get them. If you plan to replicate games for the Jaguar CD specifically, you’ll definitely want to take a look at my piece about how to burn games for the Atari Jaguar CD and then come back here for the details on using ImgBurn to do it.
This method should yield playable games for a widespread assortment of consoles including the 3DO, CD-i, Amiga CD32, TurboGrafx CD / PC Engine Duo, Sega CD, Neo Geo CD, Dreamcast, PlayStation (1 & 2), and Xbox (original only). Details regarding burning Sega Saturn games can be found near the bottom of my first article on the subject, and specifics concerning Apple Pippin games are coming soon.
What You’ll Need
- a computer with a CD burner; in the past not all CD burners could handle this sort of job, but anything relatively modern should be sufficient
- blank CD-Rs; any brand should suffice, I tend to use Memorex and Sony because of their wide availability
- appropriate game files to be burned
- software to extract / unpack / decompress the appropriate files (such as 7-Zip, available for free at http://www.7-zip.org/)
- ImgBurn – download it free at http://www.imgburn.com/
- a high-speed internet connection to download the game files
Step 1: Download and Install ImgBurn
This is as simple as it sounds. Go over to http://www.imgburn.com/ to download the latest version of ImgBurn. This program is 100% free to download and use and free of any spyware, malware, or ads. It’s also very lightweight and won’t create a thousand shortcuts for itself all over your computer. ImgBurn is kind to your CPU’s system resources, making it an ideal choice for those with older or slower computers. Install it, and move on to Step 2.
Step 2: Download and Extract the Files (Disc Images) to Be Burned
Next we’ll need to hunt down the files for the games we want. In most cases these files will be relatively easy to find and can usually be found alongside ROM archives and on emulation oriented sites. In fact, you would have to mount these exact same files onto a virtual drive (outfitted with an appropriate emulator) if you were planning to play them on your computer. At the end of this article I’ve provided a list of links to archival websites that I’ve had success with in the past. If you can’t find what you want at one site, don’t be discouraged, just check the next. If you still can’t track down what it is that you seek, try a Google search along the lines of “game title zip,” “game title rar,” “game title iso,” “game title disc image,” or even “game title ROM” even though technically speaking the disc images we’re after aren’t ROMs at all.
If you don’t already have the means to extract archival files, download and install 7-Zip. 7-Zip is freeware that can handle all the compressed formats you’re likely to run across, .rar being the most common.
Depending on what you’re looking for and where you’re looking for them, the files you end up can look a bit different from each other. In 99.99% of cases however, they will always be compressed in some type of archival format, the most common being files with .rar, .zip, or .7z extensions. All you need to do is download the file; be aware that these files will be large. CDs can hold roughly 700MB of data, so expect lengthy or more graphically demanding games to approach and exceed 600MB. Even the smaller titles tend to be at least 250MB. This is precisely why I recommend having a high-speed internet connection. Once downloaded, extract the files into their own directory.
Occasionally you may run across something like
GameTitle.part3.rar, and so on. Typically this is done to decrease the individual file sizes. While mostly irrelevant nowadays, it was useful to divide the files into parts in the past due to slower internet connections, bandwidth limitations, and connections being frequently dropped. Generally, all parts except for the last one will be the same size, usually somewhere around 50MB. The last part contains whatever is left over. To deal with file sets such as these, first download all of the parts and be sure not to rename them. When you’ve finished, move all of them to an empty directory. All you need to do now is extract
GameTitle.part1.rar (into its own unique directory) and your decompression utility will take care of the rest.
What you should now end up with is a brand new directory containing the files we’ll be working with. There are several possible files that will now be available, depending on how the game was initially ripped from its source. Here are the 4 formats and sets I’ve run across so far; there could be others, but at this time I am unaware of them.
- Possibility #1
- Possibility #2
- Possibility #3
- Possibility #4
After you’ve extracted the files, you can delete the original archival file (.rar, .zip, etc.) with no ill effects. However, my recommendation is to keep it around. Once you’ve completed the entire burning procedure and tested the game to make sure it works, delete the extracted files but keep the original compressed file. Move the compressed file to a flash drive or external hard drive, and this way you’ll have an available backup should something happen to the burned CD. By keeping the compressed file, you’ll save yourself some space. Of course you could go and download the file again should you ever need it, but many of the files on ROM sites come and go, and you may not be able to find what you want a couple of years down the road.
Step 3: Burning with ImgBurn
Now we can launch ImgBurn and get ready to burn. One of the remarkable aspects of ImgBurn is how tailored it is to burning disc images. Because of this we really don’t need to worry about fiddling with a bunch of options and settings. For the most part, the software handles all the technicalities for us.
With ImgBurn open, we want to select the very first option, “Write Image File to Disc.” The following screen may look a little complicated at first glance, but there’s really only a couple of things we need to do. First of all, we need to select what file we want to burn. Click on the tiny folder icon where it says “Please select a file…” at the top. From here we can browse files on the computer and choose what we need to burn. ImgBurn will probably notice multiple file types, but it is important that we select the correct file depending on which file/set of files we have after the extraction. For example, if we have Possibility #4, ImgBurn will recognize both the .ccd file and the .img file. In order to create an optimal game, we need to select the “correct” file.
In cases where the extraction yields only one file, either .iso or .cdi, then obviously this is the file we will select. If the game has both .cue and .bin files, we need to select only the .cue file; ImgBurn will take care of the rest. In the much more uncommon event of having .ccd, .img, and .sub files, we’ll need to select the .ccd file.
Once the correct file is selected, we’re almost done. You should notice a couple of check boxes, one marked “Test Mode” and the other “Verify.” Choosing these options will essentially initiate a trial run of the burn, catching any errors before actually burning anything. To save time, I generally leave them both unchecked, but the choice is yours. Lastly, we need to select a write speed. ImgBurn’s default setting is 16x, and although I generally use 10x when burning with Alcohol 120%, it seems that 16x works just fine. All that’s left is to click the big icon in the lower right, and burning is underway!
After the process is complete, pop it in your console and enjoy!
Where to Download Disc Images
- The ISO Zone – http://www.theisozone.com/
- Dope ROMs – http://www.doperoms.com/
- The Old Computer – http://www.theoldcomputer.com/
- ROM Hustler – http://romhustler.net/
- SNES O Rama – http://www.snesorama.us
- How to Burn Games for Sega Dreamcast (and Other Consoles)
- An Update to Burning Old Games
- How to Burn Games for the Atari Jaguar CD
- How to Burn Games for the Apple Pippin (coming soon)
Written by The Cubist
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