Recently, I've been searching far and wide to collect, in digital form, the exact games that I owned as a child, or had temporarily, or rented/borrowed/played at somebody else's house, or never really got to play but stared at magazines screenshots of for hours upon hours and always dreamed of one day being able to get my hands on. Since I have no money or even the ability to buy things from auction sites and physically get them shipped here, there is no chance of me collecting the actual cartridges/floppies/discs/machines.
We're talking NES, SNES, N64, Game Boy, Saturn, PlayStation, Tiger Electronics, PC (DOS + Windows), Amiga, Mac, arcade, Mega Drive/Genesis, GBC, GBA, Atari XEGS, Master System...
I've looked through numerous ROM archives, and individually hosted ROMs/disk images. My conclusion is that they are very bad.
Frequently, there is only an NTSC version of a game available even though a PAL one was released, or there's only a v1.1 version available (not v1.0), or the other way around, or it's a "dirty" ROM which is not a clean representation of the physical cartridge, but contains "extra data" and potentially modifications.
Oftentimes, games I know exist are just missing entirely from the collection.
Note that I'm not saying anything about the difficulties of actually running these, which is a whole different topic. I'm just trying to "prepare" for the day when I will find a way to properly run these games with some kind of future, unified emulator or hardware device which plays anything correctly. This question is solely concerned with the low quality of all existing "ROM sets" or collections of games.
I very much realize that this is a thankless and massive undertaking for an individual to sit and do for "ungrateful" people like me to complain about, and they of course can never make any money from it, since it's very illegal to make these available, which also puts them in serious danger of getting personally sued and having to pay money to Nintendo or others. I get it. I realize all of this, but still can't help but get annoyed that still, in 2020, there aren't 100% verified and vetted ROM archives with every single game for a specific console, with clean, unmodified ROMs/images, named consistently, not leaving out any version, and complete not just for NTSC region but also PAL, etc.
I've spent so much time now on this, and yet I'm sitting here with ROMs that don't seem to hash-match what appears to be verified hashes, and they aren't consistently named, and not all from the same source (since each set always misses various games), or, especially for arcade and PC games, it's highly doubtful that they are the "real" dumps and not some kind of modified or broken version.
If they are able to host all these archives on "Internet Archive", as they are, and have spent so much time compiling the collections, why not go the extra, final mile to actually make them complete and not include "dirty" (modified/incorrectly captured) ROMs?