MAME – recreates the hardware of arcade game systems in software

MAME 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.

MAME’s main purpose is to be a reference to the inner workings of the emulated machines. This is done both for educational purposes and for preservation purposes, in order to prevent historical software from disappearing forever once the hardware it runs on stops working. Of course, in order to preserve the software and demonstrate that the emulated behavior matches the original, one must also be able to actually use the software.

MAME was originally an acronym for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator.

MAME is written in fairly generic C/C++, and has been ported to numerous platforms. It’s published under an open source license.

Features include:

  • Supports a huge range of portable and console gaming systems.
  • Uses multi-threading to allow some tasks to be split up across multiple CPUs/cores:
    • Up to three threads for triangle rendering when emulating accelerated 3D graphics hardware, including those 3dfx Voodoo.
    • Up to three matrix solver threads for emulating analog sound synthesis, TTL logic, and other analog/digital circuitry.
    • A texture upload thread when using bgfx video output (for uploading textures from MAME to your GPU).
    • A thread to handle MAME’s output handlers and built-in HTTP server.
    • Additional threads for OpenMP loop acceleration (requires special compile options, not enabled by default).
  • Uses 3D hardware for compositing artwork and scaling the games to full screen.
  • Source code can be directly compiled under all the main OSes: Microsoft Windows (both with DirectX/BGFX native support or with SDL support), Linux, FreeBSD, and Mac OS X.
  • Third party tools are available for MAME to make system and software selection easier.

Website: www.mamedev.org
Support: Documentation, FAQ, GitHub code repository
Developer: MAME Team
License: Project as whole is distributed under the GNU General Public License, version 2 or later (GPL-2.0+). Most of the code (including core functionality) is also available under the 3-clause BSD license (BSD-3-clause).

MAME is written in C++. Learn C++ with our recommended free books and free tutorials.

Return to Home Computer Emulators Home Page | Return to Video Console Game Emulators Home Page | Return to SNES Emulators Home Page | Return to Quirky Home Computer Emulators Home Page


Popular series
Guide to LinuxNew to Linux? Read our Linux for Starters series. We start right at the basics and teach you everything you need to know to get started with Linux.
Free and Open Source SoftwareThe largest compilation of the best free and open source software in the universe. Each article is supplied with a legendary ratings chart helping you to make informed decisions.
ReviewsHundreds of in-depth reviews offering our unbiased and expert opinion on software. We offer helpful and impartial information.
Alternatives to Proprietary SoftwareReplace proprietary software with open source alternatives: Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Autodesk, Oracle, Atlassian, Corel, Cisco, Intuit, and SAS.
DockerGetting Started with Docker helps you master Docker, a set of platform as a service products that delivers software in packages called containers.
System ToolsEssential Linux system tools focuses on small, indispensable utilities, useful for system administrators as well as regular users.
ProductivityLinux utilities to maximise your productivity. Small, indispensable tools, useful for anyone running a Linux machine.
Home ComputersHome computers became commonplace in the 1980s. Emulate home computers including the Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari ST, ZX81, Amstrad CPC, and ZX Spectrum.
Now and ThenNow and Then examines how promising open source software fared over the years. It can be a bumpy ride.
Linux at HomeLinux at Home looks at a range of home activities where Linux can play its part, making the most of our time at home, keeping active and engaged.
Linux CandyLinux Candy reveals the lighter side of Linux. Have some fun and escape from the daily drudgery.
Android AppsBest Free Android Apps. We showcase free Android apps that are definitely worth downloading. There's a strict eligibility criteria for inclusion in this series.
Programming BooksThese best free books accelerate your learning of every programming language. Learn a new language today!
Programming TutorialsThese free tutorials offer the perfect tonic to our free programming books series.
Stars and StripesStars and Stripes is an occasional series looking at the impact of Linux in the USA.
Share this article

Share your Thoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.