I think at some point in every gamers life they want an arcade machine in their house.
But its very likely you don’t have the space, or the money to have an entire arcade of your favourite games in your home.
What if I told you that you can play all of those games on that home computer sitting in the corner.
It all began when I was about 12 years old…
My dad called me upstairs to show me something cool on the computer.
He launched some software selected a name in a list of hundreds, a game then started running but not just any game an arcade game.
He began to input virtual credits and we were able to play by using the keyboard to control it.
I was completely floored by the sheer amount of games available at my finger-tips. We went from 20 odd PlayStation games in the house to over 2000 arcade games in an instant.
This was MAME32, and needless to say I have a cool dad.
What is MAME?
I was going to write this myself but I think the MAME development team have put it way better than I can.
MAME is a multi-purpose emulation framework.
MAME’s purpose is to preserve decades of software history. As electronic technology continues to rush forward, MAME prevents this important “vintage” software from being lost and forgotten. This is achieved by documenting the hardware and how it functions.
Over time, MAME (originally stood for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) absorbed the sister-project MESS (Multi Emulator Super System), so MAME now documents a wide variety of (mostly vintage) computers, video game consoles and calculators, in addition to the arcade video games that were its initial focus.
See what I mean? I really couldn’t add anything but my experience with the emulator and why I think it is one of the cornerstones of this scene.
Now all of those arcade games you never got to play because you ran out of money, or the bowling alley took the machine away or you were just too young are all now playable.
So How do I use it?
MAME has really grown since I used it all those years ago.
It is an open source power house of a project similar to what is seen with the Raspberry pi.
You can get the software and configure it to your liking from the MAME developers offical website mamedev.org.
I also want to take this chance to put out a public service announcement for any newbies.
When on your quest to obtain MAME you gotta be careful. There are tonnes of unapproved pirate versions of the software floating about online.
They may also come with games as part of the download to seem more enticing but these are usually always modified builds with no source and instead replaced with harmful links to trojan installs which can screw up your computer.
So if you do get into MAME just be sure you keep your eyes open.
Let’s take a look at what you’ll need to run MAME.
System Requirements –
- Intel Core series CPU or equivalent, at least 2.0 GHz
- 32-bit OS (Vista SP1 or later on Windows, 10.9 or later on Mac)
- 4 GB RAM
- DirectX 9.0c for Windows
- A Direct3D, or OpenGL capable graphics card
- Any DirectSound capable sound card/onboard audio
There are very detailed files on their website mamedev.org. So if you want deeper information on how to build your own custom arcade paradise everything from FAQ’s to Documentation and an entire Wikia are all there.
Through their detailed documentation I found mame allows a lot of customisation if you really know what you’re doing as web designer I think this is very cool.
People have done this and made a lot of money by creating dedicated MAME machines and putting them in casing like this one here.
During my research I found a short video showcasing the beauty of what you can do with MAME!
As you will see it now supports even those ancient wrist watch games all the kids had back in the 90’s.
Big shout out to the DefinitelyRussian Youtube Channel check him out:
Some of My Favourite MAME Games:
So, whilst I’m on the subject of MAME I thought it would it be also a good opportunity to talk about some of the games I’ve got to play because of it.
I would have probably never got to play these any other way so I’m really thankful for MAME.
Imagine walking up to an arcade machine, putting in your money and being greeted by a choice of three games.
Three Wonders was a three-in-one arcade machine that boasted three games to choose from which is just awesome and I’ve never seen an arcade game do that before.
So, what are these three games?
This is a run and gun game much like Cup Head, Gunstar Heroes, Contra or Metal Slug so if you enjoy those you’d like this. You play as these two big eared, long nosed kid looking characters who carry a cross-bow and throwing knives.
With cool level designs, challenging boss fights and great controls this is a great game.
The Chariot is a side-scrolling shooter, with the same two young kids but this time they are riding some sort of flying machines which are armed with all sorts of insane weapons.
All the same settings and art style are here but instead of running the stages they are flying versions, how cool is that?
Don’t Pull: Action Puzzle:
Out of the three games this one has nothing to do with the other two.
This is a puzzle game that stars a Rabbit and a Squirrel (wearing shorts, and t-shirts btw) who push blocks around an open space and try to squash their enemies with these blocks. It’s actually very fun and plays a lot like bomber man but without the bombs.
Ninja Baseball Batman:
This game is just awesome.
I bumped into this game on MAME randomly and couldn’t help thinking “where have you been all my life”.
This is an extremely fun side-scrolling beat-em-up starring ninja, baseball bat carrying men. You will find yourself fighting against killer trucks, airplanes, living baseball bats carrying baseball bats, and a floating baseball stadium. Did I mention this game was crazy?
This is a game you must try and sad to say it did not get a home release so I think MAME is the only way to experience it but hopefully this changes in the future.
It also has a great fan-club over at www.ninjabaseballbatman.com
Waku Waku 7:
This is a crazy colourful fighting arcade game by SNK for the NEO-GEO.
It has an awesome roster of interesting characters that all look like they come from their own anime TV show.
It plays a lot like Streetfighter, Marvel vs Capcom or King of fighters. So, if you like those games you’ll feel right at home here. This game was also on the NEO-GEO console and I recently found out you can get it on the Nintedo EShop if you happen to own a Nintendo Switch.
Hopefully this post has helped anyone who was looking to get into arcade machine emulators.
I think MAME is super important like the developers said it is about the preservation of software history which is exactly what EmulatorLowdown is all about.
There are so many arcade cabinets that were either not in your country, the company that made it no longer exists or it was never ported to home consoles.
So, I think MAME and what they are doing is incredibly important.
That about does it for my thoughts on MAME. Please share your experience in the comments below or share this with someone who has never heard of it.
Subscribe and follow us on social for more from the Lowdown.