Last update :- February 19th, 2012

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Arcade Machines (MAME)

This is where video gaming all started and without this we may not have had the other systems I've talked about in other sections. If you're into gaming in any way it probably started as a result of visiting video game arcades or playing games in local pubs and clubs. They're still going strong, consuming many a 10p piece (or what ever currency you may use). The only problem is that unless you were good you spent a lot of money and couldn't save your progress. Emulators change all that - using virtual coins and allowing you to save game states to your hard drive.

Click on the thumbnails below to see larger versions (this applies to all pictures on this page). I've also included a photo of the Musee Mecanique on Pier 45 on Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco - if you ever get a chance to visit San Francisco and are at all interested in classic gaming I can highly recommended it:

Gorf (stand-up) PacGal (table) Musee Mecanique
Gorf (stand-up) PacGal (table) Musee Mecanique

Of the thousands of games available, the Top 10 (at the time of writing according to GameFAQs from GameSpot) are:

  1. Street Fighter IV
  2. The King of Fighters XII
  3. Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike - Fight for the Future
  4. Street Fighter Alpha
  5. Marvel vs Capcom
  6. Marvel vs Capcom 2
  7. Wangman Midnight Maximum Tune 3
  8. The King of Fighters 2002
  9. BlazBlue
  10. Mortal Kombat II

My own personal favourites are:

Emulator

The king of all arcade emulators is MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) and I use the Windows 32bit version - Mame32. This supports over 3000 games as recent as the year 2000. Although I still use Mame32 it has now been replaced by MameUI). I still use a very old 0.62 version (as I didn't want to keep updating the ROM files) and the good news is it works quite happily on Windows 7 64-bit - so newer versions should also.

Because of the wide range of arcade hardware supported by Mame32, system requirements vary considerably. As a starting point, a PC with the following specifications should be able to play most games with MAME:

The picture below shows the main game list screen:

MAME32 game list

MAME32 game list

Tutorial

I could now go ahead an give you a tutorial on how to use Mame32 to play a game but there's no need when an excellent one has already been written by FantasyAnime. Whilst you're there, if you want to emulate other consoles like the Game Gear, SNES, Playstation and arcade machines you'll find more tutorials available.

Configuration

Below are the settings I normally use - available via Options → Default Options on the main screen

MAME32 - Display options MAME32 - Advanced options MAME32 - Sound options MAME32 - Controllers options MAME32 - Artwork options MAME32 - Miscellaneous options MAME32 - Vector options
Display Advanced Sound Controllers Artwork Misc Vector

Controller

If you're looking for the ultimate in realism when it comes to controllers for re-living these classic games then you can't get much better than the series of products from XGaming - such as the Solo and Dual Joystick and the ultimate Dual Tankstick (with integrated trackball). Click on one of the thumbnails below to see a larger picture:

X-Arcade Dual Joystick X-Arcade Tankstick
X-Arcade Dual Joystick X-Arcade Dual Tankstick

You can even get a pre-built stand-up arcade system (including a Sony Playstation 2, 27" monitor and 205 classic games) or get the cabinet and add your own monitor and PC/console. Read IGN's reviews of the Tankstick here and Trackball here. You can even use these controllers with other consoles such as the Nintendo Wii & Gamecube, Sony Playstation (1-3), Xbox and Xbox 360 with an appropriate adapter.

Links

ROMs

If you want to play an Arcade game in MAME you need an image of the game in question - also known as a ROM. If you still own the original cartridge you're legally entitled to own a copy of the ROM image for backup purposes. When it comes to games that you don't already own we enter a huge "grey area" as they are technically copyrighted but are not making anyone money and in many cases the developer no longer exists. For a better description of this complicated area I recommend you read more at ClassicGaming.

Possible sources of ROM images (whether you legally own the game or not) to use with your emulator are:

Be warned that sometimes when you visit ROM sites you will be flooded with pop-ups, have to click on top 10 lists, or be presented with adult content related material - it goes with the territory unfortunately. Don't ask me for any games as I won't reply!

Games

There are thousands of games available for MAME. Screenshots from some of my favourites, categorized as I see them are shown below. Click on the thumbnails to see a larger version and the name for an external review.

CLASSICS

1942 Arkanoid Asteroids Centipede Donkey Kong Galaga
1942 Arkanoid Asteroids Centipede Donkey Kong Galaga
Missile Command Moon Cresta Mr Do! Phoenix Q*bert Scramble
Missile Command Moon Cresta Mr Do! Phoenix Q*bert Scramble

ARCADE

Discs of Tron Gauntlet Marble Madness Pac-Land Pang Puzzle Bobble
Discs of Tron Gauntlet Marble Madness Pac-Land Pang Puzzle Bobble

DRIVING

Chase HQ Cisco Heat F-1 Grand Prix F1 Grand Prix Star Neo Drift Out World Grand Prix
Chase HQ Cisco Heat F-1 Grand Prix F1 Grand Prix Star Neo Drift Out World Grand Prix

FIGHTING

Bad Dudes vs Dragonninja King of Dragons Marvel vs Capcom Mortal Kombat 3 Streetfighter II: Championship Edition WWF Wrestlemania
Bad Dudes vs Dragonninja King of Dragons Marvel vs Capcom Mortal Kombat 3 Streetfighter II:
Championship Edition
WWF Wrestlemania

MOVIE TIE-INS

Aliens Batman Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom Robocop Street Fighter: The Movie Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Aliens Batman Indiana Jones &
The Temple of Doom
Robocop Street Fighter:
The Movie
Terminator 2:
Judgement Day

PLATFORM

Bubble Bobble Congo Bongo Green Beret Rainbow Islands Rod-Land Toki
Bubble Bobble Congo Bongo Green Beret Rainbow Islands Rod-Land Toki

SHOOT-EM UP

Aero Fighters Carrier Air Wing Commando Espial Gyruss Mag Max
Aero Fighters Carrier Air Wing Commando Espial Gyruss Mag Max
Operation Thunderbolt Pulstar Red Baron R-Shark R-Type II Salamander
Operation Thunderbolt Pulstar Red Baron R-Shark R-Type II Salamander
Slap Fight Star Force Super Space Invaders Time Pilot Xevious Zaxxon
Slap Fight Star Force Super Space Invaders Time Pilot Xevious Zaxxon

SPORTS

10 Yard Fight Hyper Sports Major Title 2 NBA Jam Power Goal Track & Field
10 Yard Fight Hyper Sports Major Title 2 NBA Jam Power Goal Track & Field

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