MAME Starter Guide 2012

Years ago I did a simple MAME starter guide which 1) wasn’t all that useful 2) is now terribly outdated. Thus, this update, now with pictures! This only covers getting MAME running on Windows. Please leave any feedback or request for clarifications in the comments.

Step 1: Download MAME

Grab the latest stable release from the official MAME site. At the time of writing, it is MAME 0.147.

Click on the big shiny button.

You’ll want one of the Official Windows Binary Packages. You have a few choices:

Choices.

Most of the time you’ll want the 64 bit binaries if you are running a 64 bit version of Windows. If unsure, grab the i686 binaries. The i686 label should apply to any CPU released after the Pentium II. One should never require the debug binaries.

These are all self-extracting archives, so place the file you’ve downloaded into a directory where you want MAME to go the double click on it. After it’s done extracting, you can delete the file you’ve just downloaded.

Next, you’ll need some ROMs. Note that there are a few ROMs which have been released for free, non-commercial use. These are available on the MAME website. Look for the ROMs link in the navigation bar.

Pick any one to test. It should go into the roms folder.

Move the Zip file you’ve downloaded into it. There’s no need to extract the Zip file. Now execute mame64.exe. You should see the game you’ve downloaded listed. Just highlight the game and press enter and the game should start..

You can also launch the game from the command line: <MAME executable> <ROM name>

So to start Teeter Torture from my example, I type in the command line: mame64 teetert

For more ROMs, from my older post:

To obtain more, Pleas­ure­dome is the best way if you can work Bit­Tor­rent. The total size of the ROMs stand at almost 1630 gigs cur­rently, and so might take a while. The MAME ROM tor­rents are ratio-free but please do not abuse the ratio. Some games require CHDs which are com­pressed hard drive images, but these are gen­er­ally not worth it as most PCs are too slow to emu­late these games properly (modern PCs can easily handle these games).

Or if you prefer, you can request for one of the Laz­arus guys to burn you a copy. Read the instruc­tions care­fully, and note that I have never used their services.

Note, of course, that it is illegal to download and use ROMs in most cases, so it’s all at your own risk. Note also that MAME updates ROM definitions as better dumps become available so some older copies of ROMs may not work.

PCSX2 1.0 released!

After more than a decade of development, the best Playstation 2 emulator PCSX2 is finally at the level where the team deems it stable and fast enough to release version 1.0.

Congratulations to all involved!

Check out the screenshots and videos, especially Ōkami in full HD.

Beautiful. I’ve never been much of a console gamer, but classic PS2 games in full HD on my PC? Tempting.

Skyrim: Dawnguard Trailer

Well, the official trailer is here and from what we can tell: expanded vampire gameplay, crossbows (first time in an Elder Scrolls game officially since Morrowind!) and DAT SKELETAL HORSE. There’s a whole bunch of stuff from the Skyrim Game Jam that is getting included in this DLC and TAKE MY DAMN MONEY ALREADY BETHESDA SOFTWORKS.

I’m such a sucker.

Oh, and for the Xbox fanbois, you can take your 30 days exclusivity. I’ll take the moddability and superior graphics on my PC any day.

State of the MAME

MAME, for the uninitiated, is the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator, a project to preserve the inner workings of arcade machines of the past. A curious side-effect is that the games are (mostly) playable.

I’ve been a fan since the late 90s and have almost continuously kept my ROM collection up to date, recently with the help of Pleasuredome, but I’ve not actually been playing any games in a long while, neither have I been keeping up with new developments.

Recently though, I find myself tired of HD gaming (I’ll get back to you Skyrim, when the DLC is here) and found myself wanting to get some MAMEing done, so I went to grab my old go-to MAME variant MAME32 (been using the official builds in conjunction with clrmamepro) and… turns out it has been renamed MAMEUI, and that it has been EOLed.

It still works, but with the explosion of the number of games by MAME supported the ancient controls it uses just cannot cut it anymore. UI refresh is annoyingly slow.

Despite working with and liking the command line for most other things, I just don’t like using MAME from the command line. So, the search for a front end goes on.

IV/Play is a minimalist front end commissioned by John Hardy IV (long associated with MAME32/MAMEUI) and it is not quite what I’m looking for. A tad too minimalist, maybe.

Next I found QMC2, successor to the venerable QMamecat. QT4, so it’s cross-platform. It also supports MAME, MESS and UME*. Plus, it looks like the old MAME32 which I’m immediately comfortable with. Great.

I also found Emu Loader which looks fantastic, plus it supports multiple emulators (Demul, Daphne, ZiNc etc, apart from MAME). Together with its sister app EmuCon which handles console emulators, you’ll just need two front ends to rule them all.

I’m leaning a little towards QMC2 at the moment, since I really only dabble with other emulators, but both should be great choices.

* UME is an effort by David Haywood (maintainer of MAME from 2003 to 2005) to combine the code bases of MAME and MESS, without stripping any functionality out.