WHAT IS MAME???
Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator
Mame is a 100% open source or freeware program that has been developed to play the old arcade games that we all grew up with like Pac-Man, Asteroids, Centipede, Frogger....
There are two major components to this whole mame stuff. There is the software program that you must have on your computer to play the games and there are the actual games. The programs that play these games are called emulators, since the program emulates the hardware inside the actual arcade machines. The games are called roms, probably because the games are Read Only Memory (ROM).
There are lots of people that help out in the mame society. There are people like me that try to make the entire set of games available, there are people that help create additional games, and there are the select few that actually help in emulator development.
The way it works is that people get an old arcade game and figure out how the hardware and software of the particular game works and figure out how to make it work in the mame software.
Here are some pictures of a game developer using the hardware from an actual arcade and figuring out how to get it to work with the mame software. The circuit boards on the desk are the boards out of an actual arcade machine and they are plugged into an several interfaces that then plug into the computer. Every single game that is on mame had to be deciphered like this.
Well, now that's covered, on to the fun stuff. Here are some screen shots of one of the mame programs and some game shots.
If playing free games on your computer isn't enough you can take it one more step farther. Some people have actually built there own arcade machine in their house! OK, I'm one of those people. Basically I bought an old arcade machine that didn't work and mamed it. I took out all the electronics on the inside of the cabinet and replaced it with a computer that had the mame software and lots of games on it. I have a whole webpage on this, so it gets a little technical. Basically boils down to two major things. The computer uses the arcade monitor as a computer monitor. The buttons and joysticks are wired to a keyboard interface, which then plugs into the keyboard port on the computer.
This is a picture of my finished arcade cabinet,
with over 5,000 games!