M.A.M.E. ( Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator ) is an open- source project with the objective to replicate the electronic hardware of video slot machines on a computer with software and so to make the related games up and running again.


Nicola Salmoria began in late 1996 in order to write various hardware emulators which have been combined into one program in early 1997. The first version of MAME 0.1 was released on February 5, 1997. Meanwhile, the team is around the M.A.M.E. grown worldwide to over 100 people.

In the version 0.147 of September 17, 2012 MAME supports a total of 26336 ROMs, of which 8726 independent games ( the other games are offshoots or versions in other languages ​​). In this case, only point that is based on a programmed microprocessor, support; the constructed in TTL technology machines of the early 1970s (such as Pong and Breakout ) are not emulated. Due to the persistence of some arcade fans -lost gaming machines such as Polyplay, Asteroids and Galaga have long been brought back to life. But also the opportunity to not let this unique period of the slot machine games forgotten, inspires many fans of this emulator.

Approx. 80 % of all machines were emulated until now, the other 20% are still new to be emulated at all can work in or to, or fall under the 3-year clause of MAME is to protect the Arcade developments. The problem is with the not yet emulated games usually the encrypted ROMs, and complicated controls or machines with special features such as dual screens, where often the upper was reserved only for the guidance, such as the NES Play Choice -10 or Sega Mega Drive arcade machines (dissolved in newer versions through a simple switching option in the Tab menu).


M.A.M.E. works like almost all emulators, by mimicking the entire hardware of a machine by means of software ( emulated) and the game as " faked" by his familiar surroundings. Even on a PC with 500 MHz clock speed run most older games fluently until 1988. However, newer games such as Tekken or Ridge Racer will not run even with the latest CPUs. The problem lies in the many processors on each arcade board, each chip must be emulated by the computer's CPU; doing the work is not consciously taken from the 3D chip on the video card, since most of the original machine also did not own a 3D chip. In order to create the right atmosphere, it is possible to use the joypad or other games peripherals with the program.


Some chips (eg Atari POKEY ) are usually "too exact" emulated, so there are various options. Nor can the graphics deteriorate intentionally using screens (software) to obtain an original retro look.

Another issue is the representation of the exact original performance, especially with games with scrolling, such as side - scrollers.

When using the preset values ​​of the source code from the refresh rate, and number of lines, Austastintervalldauer ( horizontal and vertical), and similar clock frequency of the GPU, bucking some games on modern monitors when the original hardware a different frequency, often also used " non-standard" values ​​. Therefore, often a compromise must be found, either by adjusting the Mame ( screen) settings, such as virtual overclocking of processors, " Wait functions " or even skipping frames, or a change in the source code, which is also of alternative and related emulators like FB Alpha or commercial implementations is made. The bucking is then indeed reduced, but this changes the game speed sometimes markedly, eg 60 instead of 50 Hz

Furthermore, need, particularly in multiple processors, even the sound and the music be liquid and synchronous imaging. Viewing the very early games, also often equipped with a special chip, encryption or partial analog circuits are difficult to emulate. The source code is updated frequently.


Around M.A.M.E. has formed in the last few years a small industry that offers special machine housing, original arcade joysticks and custom interface hardware to connect PC and machine.


M.A.M.E. is not limited to Windows systems. Due to its open source ' it has been ported to almost every conceivable operating system. There are also versions for consoles such as the Dreamcast or Xbox. Since the actual emulator does not have a graphical user interface, there are numerous so-called front-ends or versions ( MameUI ), which simplify operation and facilitate the overview of the games. There are even porting to Linux ( Knoppix) that start directly from a CD and thus can turn any PC into a temporary arcade machine.

For the emulation of old games consoles and computer systems see also MESS, MAME on the based.


The emulation of the old hardware is considered by many to be legal. However, this does not apply to the games, for which the manufacturer has copyright and are not included. ( See also abandonware ).

The emulator itself lies open before as source code, however, is not to be regarded as free software in the sense of the GPL, as the MAME license is prohibited to create from the Mame source code, a new commercial program ( Semi-free software). This clause is not compatible with the classic GPL. The Mame license now serves mainly as a template for freeware authors and do not want to see sold commercially elsewhere their programs.

On the original machine, it is sometimes possible that two to four players to play in parallel; to enable this via the emulator, attacked some MAME versions back on a proprietary multi - protocol that allows online parties. However, this MAME versions are not legal and can not be called MAME.

The ROMs can be partly sale purchase ( as an image by the manufacturer or buying used circuit boards and their readout ). However, many ROM collections on DVD or from the Internet as well as some MAME versions are not legal. Alternatively, however, many retro games are available on compilations in normal trading. Sometimes the ROM contents are present there in a usable form. The source code of the emulator is for fans definitely interesting because it contains a lot of details and comments about the machine and can be compiled yourself.

So far, there were only three - rather insignificant - games that were released by the respective developers for private use and available on the MAME homepage. Beginning of 2008 were added eleven more, some well-known games from Exidy Publisher. The ROMs for the former DDR machines Polyplay are no longer available there.

Selection of supported games

  • Asteroids, 1979
  • Pac -Man, 1988
  • Galaga, 1981