MAME (an acronym of Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) is a free and open source emulator designed to recreate the hardware of arcade game systems in software on modern personal computers and other platforms. The intention is to preserve gaming history by preventing vintage games from being lost or forgotten. The aim of MAME is to be a reference to the inner workings of the emulated arcade machines; the ability to actually play the games is considered “a nice side effect”. Joystiq has listed MAME as an application that every gamer should have.
The first public MAME release (0.1) was on February 5, 1997, by Nicola Salmoria. The emulator now supports over seven thousand unique games and ten thousand actual ROM image sets, though not all of the supported games are playable. MESS, an emulator for many video game consoles and computer systems, based on the MAME core, was integrated into MAME in 2015.
The project was started by the Italian programmer Nicola Salmoria. MAME traces its roots to an earlier emulator project called Multi-Pac, but the name was changed as more and more games started to be emulated within the MAME framework. In April 1997, Salmoria stepped down for his national service commitments, handing stewardship of the project to fellow Italian Mirko Buffoni for a period of half a year. In May 2003, David Haywood took over the job of the coordinator. From April 2005 to April 2011, the project was coordinated by Aaron Giles. Angelo Salese stepped in as the new coordinator. In 2012, Miodrag Milanovic took over. The project is supported by hundreds of developers around the world and thousands of outside contributors.
At first, MAME was developed exclusively for MS-DOS, but it was soon ported to Unix-like systems (X/MAME), Macintosh (MacMAME and later MAME OS X) and Windows (MAME32). Currently[when?], the main development occurs on the Windows platform, and most other platforms are supported through the SDLMAME project, which was integrated into the main development source tree in 2006. In addition, different versions of MAME have been ported to other computers, game consoles, mobile phones and PDAs, and at one point even to digital cameras. In 2012, Google ported MAME to Native Client, which allows MAME to run inside Chrome.
Major releases of MAME occur approximately once a month. Windows executables in both 32-bit and 64-bit fashion are released on the official web site of the development team, along with the complete source code. Smaller, incremental “u” (for update) releases were released weekly (until version 0.149u1) as source diffs against the most recent major version, to keep code in synchronization among developers. The MAME source code is developed on a public GitHub repository. This allows those with the required expertise & tools to build the most up-to-date version of the code and contribute enhancements in the form of Pull Requests.
- Intel Core series CPU or equivalent, at least 2.0 GHz.
- 32-bit OS (Vista SP1 or later on Windows, 10.9 or later on Mac)
- 4 GB RAM.
- DirectX 9.0c for Windows.
- A Direct3D, or OpenGL capable graphics card.
- Any DirectSound capable sound card/onboard audio.
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