Flashback of the Week: MAME

Neil StraussThe Loop

Some of us think of Ms. Pac Man, Donkey Kong, and Frogger with excitement, and are tempted to play whenever we see an old video game cabinet in a restaurant or arcade.

Then there are those a little more committed who look for arcade classics like Galaga, Centipede, and Defender.

But then are those of us far more entrenched in video-game nostalgia, who wistfully think of video games like Burger Time, Mappy, Popeye, Street Fighter, the Simpsons, and the Journey video game. And we rarely see those video games anywhere.

Fortunately, one of the first things to happen when personal computing became a household necessity like water and electricity in the late 90’s is that an Italian programmer Nicola Salmoria developed MAME—an acronym for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator.

MAME is free and available here:


Once downloaded, there are ROMs you can find online for just about any version of any arcade game that ever existed—eighty percent of which it is unlikely you’ve EVER heard of. And they are so accurate that they even imitate the fuzz and pixels that appear on screen when an arcade game is turned on.

Now here’s what truly crazy people do, myself among them:

Last week, I told you that if a new book does well, I donate a portion of the proceeds to charity, using Charity Navigator as a resource before making a final decision.

And I mentioned I also buy myself a smaller present, something I wouldn’t ordinarily buy. So after Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead hit the benchmark I’d set for its success, I ordered a MAME cabinet from the good people at Emucade.

It looks something like this:

And, yes, I am officially still a nerd. But it’s a lot of fun when guests come over.

And I just remembered the game QBert as I was writing this. Haven’t played that in decades.