Where to Download an Updated, Good Version of the Mame Emulator
What is MAME?
If you've been a user of the MAME emulator for any stretch of time, you know that there's lots of different versions of MAME.
There's the official release, then there's the few versions that had online play, MAMEUI, Hiscore, 32UIFX, and so on and so forth. It almost seemed like everyone was trying to do their own stab at MAME.
If you know the history of MAME though, it makes sense. Older versions of MAME could only be done using the command line, so if you weren't MS-DOS savvy or wanted a more optimized experience, you had to go with those other versions. That's also why some versions specifically have the "UI" in the name.
After doing some digging, I found a pretty awesome version of MAME that's still being updated to this day. If you're not really digging the modern day look of the official MAME release and dig the UI of older versions like MAMEUI32, stick around! I think I've found something you might like.
As a legal reminder, downloading and playing ROMs that you do not own is illegal. This guide is merely on how to find this version, what it is, and how to get it up and running - I will not be providing direct links to ROM sites.
The MAME That's A Snap
While out in my Emulation Expeditions I ran across a version of MAME gathered by someone known as AntoPISA Italy (I'll call them API for short). API's been at the emulation game for a while, as the first official build of this emulator was way back in 1997.
So, you might be wondering what makes this version so good. Check it out:
It looks just like those good ol' MAME32UI versions, doesn't it?
The great thing about these builds is that they are up to date. The problem with those older versions? They're not up to date. That's a problem with MAME.
Remember, as MAME and Arcade emulation get better and better, new games will get dumped and even new parts of already-dumped games might get dumped as well. This is why you might run into compatibility issues with MAME and why "rom sets" exist. Different "ROM Sets" are optimized for different versions, and if you're like me you want to (attempt to) keep your MAME as up to date as possible.
Our friend API here seems to be working with John IV who produces these up-to-date MAMEUI versions. With permission, API hosts downloads for these updates.
Oh yeah I should mention, API's site has lots of great (NON ROM) resources for MAME. It's not a "MAMEUI Museum" for no reason!
Where to Download & How to Install
If you're looking to download this MAME version, all you need to do is go here.
You can also check out John IV's official page but unlike API's it's...unrefined would be a good word, no offense.
So, all you do is select the version you want - if you're like me you want the most up-to-date version - and let it download. Make sure you grab the right version for your PC! If you want to save it to somewhere other than your default downloads folder just right click and use "Save Link As", and navigate to where you want to save it.
You'll also need 7z to open the download file. If you don't have it, look into it and grab a download of it. It's handy to have, especially when doing things like emulation as a lot of the files are passed around in .zip files or .7z files.
Once it's downloaded you need to install it. Are you ready?
- Extract the 7z file.
And that's it! Give it some time - there's lots of parts to this particular emulator, so it may take a few moments. But once it's done that's it - you've installed this version of MAME!
So Now What?
If you have another folder your ROMs are stored in, you'll need to make sure you set the emulator's ROMs path for that folder. If you're keen on using your older versions, you might want to just have a separate set for this emulator.
Once you have your ROMs squared away, you can use the "Audit All Sets" under "File" to figure out which ROMs are compatible with this version. If you're getting some errors and not founds, you may need to update your ROM set. There's plenty of resources and methods on how to do that available online, so check it out if you need to!
If your ROMs are looking good, then you are good to go. Enjoy using this version of MAME!
I see some of these questions asked a lot either on my own videos or around the net, so I'll try to get 'em squared away here. If there's any questions I miss, feel free to leave me a comment down below.
- "Can you tell me where to download ROMs/BIOs/CHDs?"
No I cannot, due to legal reasons.
- "Why isn't my game working?"
There's a number of reasons why a game isn't working. First - make sure MAME says it works. If the game's icon is red, or you get a red screen saying "THIS GAME DOES NOT WORK" it means the game hasn't been properly emulated yet and is currently in an unplayable state.
Sometimes it's down to compatibility - MAME can only emulate certain hardware. Others, like Model 2 or SEGA Naomi, cannot be emulated by MAME, and you'll need a specific emulator for those.
It can also be a problem of having a bad dump. Check your resources on that one.
It can also be that even if you have a "good dump" it could be an out of date ROM - look into how to update ROMs or how to obtain current versions.
Sometimes ROMs might be missing certain components - the emulator will tell you what you're missing. Make a note of it, and go from there using search engines to find out what you're missing and how to get it.
Unfortunately, games that don't work are like getting sick - is it a simple cough, or the flu, or allergies? What I mean to say is, something like "my game isn't working" can have multiple reasons, but hopefully the above can help you troubleshoot things or at least get you started.
- "My mouse won't stay in the window while playing lightgun games!"
This is an issue you might run into with these versions of MAME. Unfortunately, the emulator doesn't "Grab" the mouse like the other versions do. In this case, either use the official release, or just have another version of MAME for lightgun games until MAMEUI gets that updated.
- "Where can I get Snapshots/Marquees/etc?"
There's plenty of resources online where you can get all that! Fortunately, API's site has a good chunk of resources like that as well. Definitely check out other areas of his site if you're looking for more (NON ROM) MAME resources.
Go Relive Some Classics!
Now that you've got MAMEUI working properly (or maybe you've decided afterall to stick with what you've currently got) go enjoy some arcade classics!