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MAME Primer


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So Fatty seems to have missed the very conspicuous boat known as MAME over the past 15 years.


Let's get him up to speed.


MAME basically emulates the underlying electronic boards and other misc. things to allow one to use dumped game roms from the actual arcade games and play them on your computer of choice. Dumping roms means someone who owns or has access to an arcade game of some sort removes the electronic boards and copies over the actual assembly code written on the memory chips scattered across the board.


This is all done for the noble goal of preserving these classic games - many still are missing and a few may never be played again as the machines are long destroyed and any/all relic code is long since forgotten. Also if you collect the actual machines having copies of the roms will allow you to fix broken boards since you can just burn a new rom chip and set it back in the board in place of the bad one.


Naturally once this thing started rolling people quickly realized you could throw some joysticks together on some plywood and so on and so on and then BAM! you got you your own all-the-games arcade machine.


That's the rough out. You want to know how to get rolling.


8 or more years ago you could simply download MAME32, a version of MAME compiled for win machines, grab some game roms from...somewhere..., stick them in the MAME rom directory, fire it up, configure your controls and have at it.


Now you need to download and install the core MAME which is still command line driven and then to make your life stupid easy install IV/Play to serve as a game launcher.


Download MAME and install.




Download IV/Play and install. Will need .NET something something... It's listed on the page.




Get you some roms. Google MAME roms; have fun.


Copy those roms over to the roms directory beneath the MAME directory wherever you installed.


Start up IV/Play, configure and roll out!


On the IV/Play page you'll see some links to something called snapshots. They are just screenshots for all the games so when you fire up IV/Play you can get a look at what the game looks like. Optional if you just want to play the games, needed for a better experience. Same deal as game roms, dl and unzip them into the snapshots dir underneath the main MAME dir.



Things to note:


1) If you update to a newer version of MAME the game rooms you currently have may or MAY NOT work with the newness. This happens when the game roms are re-dumped from the actual machines or errors are stomped out or ???. It happens. You'll just need to get a version that works again. Might be easy, might not. Mostly not a big deal and just an annoyance.


2) Some games require BIOS roms to work. Not the best metaphor but if you think of it along the lines of having a windows game you'd need to have windows to run it. For some arcades the manufacturers created them as systems that developers could code against rather than having to create custom boards all the time. NEO-GEO is a decent example. The actual arcades had cartridge slots. So now and then you'll need to get the right bios files. Again, not a big deal but can be slightly more annoying than the stuff noted in number one above.


3) You know you can build your own controls and stuff right? That's kinda the fun part...


PS: http://gamrs.co/forums/index.php?/topic/41047-flitterkills-old-mame-machine/


4) CHD games and Laserdisc games. CHD games are mainly from the late 90's onward that actually were distributed on hard drives. CHD stands for compressed hard drive. These are considered separate than the regular MAME roms due to their size and honestly because they aren't roms in the classic sense. Arcade games got so big that they were basically bespoke windows/dos/whatever machines with games on hard drives just like we do today. These files are many megs/gigs in size. Might want to skip them unless you really really want to play them. Laserdisc games such as Dragon's Lair are also emulated in MAME but the same kind of problem remains. The actual game rom is next to nothing in size as the actual bulk of the game is/was a laserdisc you just skipped around on. Available but keep in mind the size and so on.


5) Some games are emulated poorly. Buggy. Etc. More of note is that MAME is concerned first and foremost with successful emulation which is not the same thing as a flawless performance. Many arcade games had custom video and cpu chips. Emulation attempts to copy these things in software. Great dual core machines couldn't really play most/all CHD games from the late 90's-early 2000's. No where near enough horsepower. Might be better these days. If its a game from the mid-90's on back you'll be fine minus any actual emulation problems.


6) We live in a world of LCDs. Arcades come from a world of CRTs. It won't look exactly like what you expect or remember. There are settings you can adjust in MAME to emulate CRT scanlines and raster dots and so on to make it more reals. Or plug in a 19" CRT you have laying around from the early 2000's.





Once this got rolling people didn't stop with just the roms. There are machine photos, promotional flyers, screenshot packs, etc. All these can be downloaded and incorporated into your MAME experience. Not required of course. You can explore this on your own.


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