Installing Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator

What is MAME?

MAME stands for "Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator". MAME is an emulator that is designed to emulate the hardware of an arcade machine using software that can run on a computer. MAME was created with the intention of preserving gaming history. MAME was first released to the general public back in 1997 by Nicola Salmoria. Today the emulator now supports over seven thousand unique games and ten thousand actual ROM image sets.

For MAME to work, the original program code and data has to be present. Originally most data stored within an Arcade Machine would be stored in a chip (ROM) better known as read only memory. The data that was stored on these chips had to be extracted to files. Collectively these files are known as ROMS or ROM sets. These ROM files can be downloaded in a compressed zip folder which is then loaded into a ROM directory within the emulator.

Although MAME can be distributed legally in most countries, the ROMS can only be used if they have been released for public use or you have permission from the owners. Many ROMS have been released to the general public and some of these can be downloaded from the official MAME web site.

Installing MAME for Ubuntu

MAME can be downloaded from the following location: Download MAME

To download and install MAME for Ubuntu simply select the version that matches your operating system (32 bit or 64 bit) and select "go". Your installation package will now be downloaded to your "download" folder. Once you have successfully downloaded your package you must then right click on this file in your downloads folder and select the option "Install with Ubuntu Software Centre". The version used within this installation was "mame_0.149-1~ppa2~precise1_i386.deb"

MAME will now install to your Ubuntu system. Once your installation has been successfully installed, you can customize your settings by editing the main configuration file. (location of configuration file: /etc/mame/mame.ini)

john@john-desktop:/etc/mame$ ls -l
total 16
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 Feb 10  2012 ctrlr
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 6159 Jun 19 22:48 mame.ini
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root  116 Oct 24  2011 vector.ini

I normally amend the rompath as follows within the "mame.ini" file:

rompath                   $HOME/.mame/roms;

Notice, the directory".mame" begins with a "." dot. This means that it will not normally be visible from your "Home Folder" view. To display files that begin with a "." dot, simply press "Ctrl + H" on your keyboard. Any ROMS that you are legally entitled to download can be placed in this location.

You may wish to change the emulator to run in "Full Screen" mode. To do this amend the following line:

window                    0

This line can be found under the heading of "Video Options". A value of "1" will run the emulator within a window and a value of "0" will run in full screen mode.

Download MAME ROMS

As I mentioned earlier, some ROMS have been released for general public use and can be downloaded from the following site:

Download MAME Roms

The ROMS found on the above page are all legal to download and use within your MAME emulator.

Running a game within MAME

Assuming you have copied the zipped files containing your roms to the specified "rompath" you can launch MAME simply by typing "mame" from your terminal. You should now see a screen displaying any ROMS that you have downloaded. Once the game loads, generally press the number "5" to add credit and numbers "1" and "2" for the number of players.

Linux MAME Select ROM