Sunday, August 28, 2005

Video game emulators

For those of you old enough to remember playing Streetfighter II, Bubble Bobble, Pang, Snow Bros and countless other video games in arcades and fish and chip shops, then the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME) is an essential piece of software.
MAME, simply put, emulates arcade games in a format compatible for use at home on your personal computer. Being a Mac user, I use MacMAME, which is free to download from or for PC users. Once you have this piece of software, you can then set about downloading ‘roms’ which are the actual game files. File sizes vary from about 100kb through to much larger files depending on the complexity of the game graphics and things of that nature. is the most complete rom database I’ve encountered and at this site you’ll find all the classics from the games I mentioned at the beginning of this blog to World Heroes, Metal Slug and King of Fighters.
The games feature the same graphics and music as their original arcade versions, ensuring you get that real feel of the arcade and not some watered down imitation - It even goes as far as making you ‘insert coins’ by pressing the number 5 key on your keyboard. The only noticeable difference from the arcade is in the game controller department. Trying to use a keyboard to do a fireball or dragon (real arcade heads will know what I mean) is way too difficult, but it is possible to buy USB joypads that look and play much like a PS2 controller.
Arcade games are not the only games to be emulated in computer software, there are also those that allow the user to play console games right from the original like Nintendo NES, Sega Megadrive and Gameboy. These act in the same way as MAME, where the console software (eg. Genesis Plus, Boycott Advance - search these on Google) is needed in order to play the roms (games).
So no more saving up 20 cent coins, no more visits to dairies out in west or south Auckland, and no more dusting off your old Sega Master System just to play Alex The Kidd. All you need is the software and then the roms and you’ve got hours of entertainment all at the click of a mouse.


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