.WAD File Extension

Doom WAD File

Developer id Software
4.2  |  168 Votes

What is a WAD file?

A WAD file is a game data file used by Doom and Doom II, as well as other first-person shooter games that use the original Doom engine. It contains data such as sprites (graphics), level information, and items. WAD files are used for storing original game content as well as game modifications.

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Screenshot of a .wad file in SLADE
WAD file open in SLADE

The WAD format has been classified into two categories: 1) IWAD ("Internal WAD") and 2) PWAD ("Patch WAD"). The IWAD file type is used for loading core game content, and PWAD files are used for adding optional data to the game.

Because of Doom's popularity and the customizability of WAD files, the WAD format became one of the more widely known and widely used game data file formats. Community gamers developed thousands of WAD-based mods for Doom and other games. However, since Doom and Doom II were released in the 1990s, the format is not as commonly used as it once was.

The original WAD format, referred to as WAD1, evolved into subsequent formats, including WAD2 and WAD3. These versions were reduced in scope to include only game textures and were used for Quake and Half-Life. Quake WAD texture files can be edited with programs such as Wally.

How to open a WAD file

You can open, view, and edit a WAD file with SLADE, a free, multiplatform Doom modding application. However, if your WAD file is saved as a Half-Life package, you may have to select File → Save As and save the file as a WAD2 file to keep your edits.

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Programs that open WAD files

Nintendo Wii Game Data File

Developer Nintendo
4.1  |  64 Votes

A WAD file may also be a game data file used by the Nintendo Wii game console. It contains the data required for installing Wii channels, system menus, or firmware updates. WAD files are often used for installing genuine copies of Virtual Console (VC) games.

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NOTE: WAD files are also used by "Homebrew" Wii developers to install and play games.

Programs that open or reference WAD files


Danganronpa Game Data File

Developer Abstraction Games
1.3  |  7 Votes

A WAD file may also be a game data file used by the PC versions of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, video games in which an android bear forces high schoolers to kill each other. It may contain in-game images, audio, character models, settings, or localization data. Each game contains 4 WAD files.

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Danganronpa is a Japanese video game franchise. It consists of a series of games in which Monokuma, an angry bear-like machine, traps high schoolers and forces them to kill each other before standing trial. If a murderer manages to be declared innocent, they get to go home.

The PC versions of the first two Danganronpa games, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, were developed by Spike Chunsoft and Abstraction Games. Abstraction Games created the WAD file format to store these games' data. Each game includes four WAD files (Danganropa 1 uses the files whose names begin with dr1; Danganronpa 2 uses the files whose names begin with dr2):

  • dr1_data.wad and dr2_data.wad: Contains general game data, including models, audio, and textures
  • dr1_data_keyboard.wad and dr2_data_keyboard.wad: Contains mouse and keyboard control data
  • dr1_data_keyboard_us.wad and dr2_data_keyboard_us.wad: Contains English-localized mouse and keyboard control data
  • dr1_data_us.wad and dr2_data_us.wad: Contains English-loczlized scripts, translated textures, and translated cutscenes

How to open a WAD file

Players who want to extract and edit the game assets that Danganronpa 1 and 2's WAD files contain can do so using HLMWadExplorer (Windows, Mac). While HLMWadExplorer was originally designed to work with the WAD files found in Hotline Miami 2, Danganronpa's WAD files are similar enough that HLMWadExplorer can unpack them.

Programs that open or reference WAD files


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