MAME 0.184b Pick
Software Product Description
The ROM and CHD images that MAME requires are "dumped" from arcade games' original circuit-board ROM chips, hard disks, and CD-ROMs. MAME becomes the "hardware" for the games, taking the place of their original CPUs and support chips. Therefore, these games are NOT ports or rewrites, but the actual, original games that appeared in arcades, complete with all the bugs, glitches, slowdowns, and subtleties of the original game as it appeared in the arcade.
MAME's purpose is to preserve these decades of video-game history. As gaming technology continues to rush forward, MAME prevents these important "vintage" games from being lost and forgotten. This is achieved by documenting the hardware and how it functions. The source code to MAME serves as this documentation. The fact that the games are playable serves primarily to validate the accuracy of the documentation (how else can you prove that you have recreated the hardware faithfully)?
Free ROM images are available at the developer's website.
"Best Arcade Emulator"
Review Date: 2013-06-11
Pros: Does what it says it does--If you know what you're doing and If you've got the necessary (unsupplied) ROM files. In actuality you need a front end program (unsupplied) to really use this. There are Many version of MAME and my favorite was Win-32's which has recently been discontinued in favor of 64 bit (see below). That, said and done, if you've got the ROM files you've got an old arcade goer's dream come true--payback time for all those quarters you pumped into machines back in the 80s!
Cons: Within the past couple years MAME's become a bloated Nightmare of add-ons and endless "junk" games which will Never run but they're pointlessly there anyway. My biggest problem is that the newest versions only Fully support 64 bit machines. And--the biggie--sometime recently someone decided to Merge the PinMAME pinball emulators with this. That is, Pinball Machines and electromechanical fruit machines were added, like a million of them. I've nothing against pinball, mind you, but there's a difference between Emulation and Simulation (a rule Broken by the MAME developers) and furthermore--None of the pinball machines are in the least Playable on MAME and this is probably the reason why the 32-bit version of this program Stopped being released. What we have here is a command-line type emulator that should be better than it is, as in being more user-friendly. Furthermore the bottom line of all emulators is that they're worthless unless you have the original ROMs to run on them, which opens up an entirely new door... What's really annoying is that every couple weeks new version of the emulator are released which involves Renaming entire sets of files, which usually requires a ROM Manager program which is hell to use unless you know what you're doing. So it's one thing piled upon another piled upon another, getting more and more complex and confusing! I've been using MAME for a decade now and it's really gotten out of hand...a bloated, overcomplicated mess!
Other Thoughts: I could write a book on MAME. Indeed there are probably several out there.
MAME as it stands now needs a Major cleanout. Impossible-to-emulate games and pinball machines Should be removed as there are over ten thousand things on this list from hell included as is...