> taking the ROMS off the board
> and reading them in (which of course would ruin most console games).
Why exactly would this wreck the game? As long as you had the ability to solder and desolder the proper roms, I don't see an issue with this approach.
While most carts are dumped via conventional copiers and homemade devices, I'm fairly certain that direct reads of the chips have also occured.
For NES games, this would actually be more accurate because you get the PRG and CHR dumps seperately instead of 1 combined *.NES file. The same would apply to other systems as well.