Gear Reviews

Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator

“mame1”

OK, I’m sure half of you out there will say “Oh, I’ve known about that for years.” Fine, go play with your Zork. But the other half of you who spent most of the ’80s and all of your allowance in the arcade need to visit this site. You can now have ALL of those high school memories on your own desktop. Yes, some one has written a free Pac-Man emulator. And Zaxxon and Asteroids and Missile Command and literally thousands of other classic arcade games will now run on a free piece of code called MAME. That’s Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator, a highly successful piece of open source code begun by Nicola Salmoria back in 1996.

With time on his hands and a busted video console, Mr. S spent the time and effort to read the ROM firmware and emulate a 3 MHz 8080 microprocessor on a 300 MHz Pentium. Since many classic games ran on this or other early, well-documented microprocessors, the floodgates were open. Anyone with access to an old arcade video machine and some Electronics 101 skills can suck out the heart of these old machines, and buff it up to the point your 32 bit 16 gazillion color monitor can relive games originally written for 8 bit VGA displays. And it’s all free and largely legal.

Almost. While the code is free, and many games are available for free download, there is one important legal requirement you need to know. You may only posses ROM file with copyrighted code if you actually own the original circuit cards, or a game cartridge that plays the same version. All the copyrighted characters, games, and so forth still belong to the original owner, and will well past your life time. Ink 19 urges you to obey all copy write laws. Read the legal stuff on the MAME Web site, and respect it.

“mame2”

But, if you DO still have an old Tron game lying about, MAME provides an easy way to relive it on your laptop. Download a 3-meg zip file, expand it out, and put the ROM files where they tell you. The only hard part is now you must open a DOS prompt, and type in a command line. For the point and click since birth crowd, it’s all explained in a very thorough FAQ. Hit a few key, and voila! The game appears! Joysticks and mice are supported, along with multiplayer gaming and a few games even support networked multiplayer gaming. All you have to do is figure out how the game was played originally, and if that brain cell died there are other sites out there to help. This code will even remember your high score, and award bonus games.

This is really a fascinating site; whether you just want to show your children how hard things were when you were in high school, (“The snow was up to HERE when I had to walk to the mall!”) or if you’re a serious computer historian who want to help preserve a fading part of our digital heritage, MAME grabs the high ground of Fun Mountain. The MAME source code is freely available, has been ported to more operating systems than most people know about, and the MAME project is looking for skilled coders. And, unlike those of you who may be trying to crack FlexLM 7, no jail time is hanging over your head. Got another virtual quarter?

http://www.mame.net/


Recently on Ink 19...

What This Comedian Said Will Shock You

What This Comedian Said Will Shock You

Print Reviews

With his latest book, What This Comedian Said Will Shock You, celebrated stand-up Jedi Bill Maher “shocks” readers by doing the most outrageous, unthinkable, and socially unacceptable thing imaginable: he speaks rationally, logically, and objectively.

Gasoline Lollipops

Gasoline Lollipops

Features

Gasoline Lollipops’ newest single, “Freedom Don’t Come Easy,” is today’s mother lovin’ punk rock folk anthem.

Basket Case

Basket Case

Screen Reviews

Frank Henenlotter’s gory grindhouse classic Basket Case looks as grimy as the streets of Times Square, and that is one of the film’s greatest assets. Arrow Video gives this unlikely candidate a welcome fresh release.

Jimmy Failla

Jimmy Failla

Event Reviews

Despite the Mother’s Day factor, hundreds of fervent, faithful followers still flocked to Orlando’s famed Plaza Live to catch an earlybird set from Jimmy Failla — one of the hottest names on today’s national comedy scene.

Lonnie Walker

Lonnie Walker

Features

Ink 19 readers get an early listen and look at “Cool Sparkling Water,” a new single from Lonnie Walker.

Los Lobos

Los Lobos

Event Reviews

Jeremy Glazier has a bucket list day at a Los Lobos 50th Anniversary show in Davenport, Iowa.

Always… Patsy Cline

Always… Patsy Cline

Archikulture Digest

Carl F. Gauze reviews the not-quite one-woman show, Always… Patsy Cline, based on the true story of Cline’s friendship with Louise Seger, who met the star in l961 and corresponded with Cline until her death.