MAME stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. MAME formerly was an acronym that stood for Multi Arcade Machine Emulator, documents and reproduces through emulation the inner components of arcade machines, computers, consoles, chess computers, calculators, and many other types of electronic amusement machines.When used in conjunction with an arcade game’s data files (ROMs), MAME will more or less faithfully reproduce that game on a PC. MAME can currently emulate over 3000 unique (and over 5400 in total) classic arcade video games from the three decades of video games – ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, and even some from the current millennium.
MAME, short for Multi Arcade Machine Emulator, lets you relive the golden age of the video arcade right on your PC.
Instead of playing copies or clones of arcade games, MAME lets you play the actual arcade game. A variety of games is available for demo evaluation downloads, including Crystal Castles, Burger Time, Joust, Xevious, Donkey Kong, Tempest, and of course, Space Invaders.
The ROM images that MAME utilizes are “dumped” from arcade games’ original circuit-board ROM chips. MAME becomes the “hardware” for the games, taking the place of their original CPUs and support chips. Therefore, these games are NOT simulations, but the actual, original games that appeared in arcades.
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, thanks to the talent of programmers from the MAME team and from other contributors. Being able to play the games is just a nice side-effect, which doesn’t happen all the time. MAME strives for emulating the games faithfully.
Over time, the app absorbed the sister-project MESS (Multi Emulator Super System), so the program now documents a wide variety of (mostly vintage) computers, video game consoles, and calculators, in addition to the arcade video games that were its initial focus.At one point there were actually two separate projects, MAME and MESS. The software covered arcade machines, while MESS covered everything else. They are now merged into the one MAME.