Mame32 the story


Mame32 for Windows, the ultimate arcade machine emulator

MAME is an arcade machine emulator, which means it is software for Windows and other operating systems that we can download, and along with other files called ROMS, we can play many arcade games.

MAME, the original emulator

The name of this emulator is M.A.M.E., which corresponds to the initials of the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. As a result of this emulator, some variants have emerged that improve or complement this emulator in different aspects.

The original arcade machine emulator, MAME, consists of a command-line program. For those not initiated in computer science, a command-line program is a program that is executed by typing its name and a series of options in the operating system terminal. For example, in Windows 10, we would run the command CMD.EXE, and a terminal or command console would open, where we could type different commands. In our case, to launch the MAME program, we should type the following command "MAME.EXE sf2," and in this way, we will launch the game Street Fighter 2, which we will be able to play on our PC without problems. Obviously, before that, we will have to have the ROM of the video game and have copied it into the appropriate directory, but the command "MAME.EXE sf2" is helpful to see how the MAME program works.

As we can see, using MAME is a bit tedious since we will have to perform the following steps to get to play our favorite games:

  1. Open the terminal of our Operating System
  2. Go to the directory where the MAME software is located
  3. Know the name of the ROM of the game you want to play (for example, sf2 for Street Fighter 2)
  4. Type the correct command to launch the game "MAME.EXE sf2"

This process may seem natural and easy for users who are used to the command console, but for those not used to such an environment, it will be tedious and challenging. That is why many variants of MAME appeared, which incorporated a graphic interface that made life much easier for the end-user of this great arcade machine emulator.

One of these alternatives that incorporated a graphic interface in MAME was called Mame32, and it was a great success.

Mame32, bringing MAME to all users

Mame32 emerged as an initiative to provide MAME's end-users with a graphical interface to browse their ROM/video game collection. In this way, a game could be launched at the click of a mouse, which greatly facilitated the use of this emulator. Mame32 can scan the ROMs folder and create a list with all of them, organizing them by different criteria such as the name of the video game, year of release, rating, etc. Also, Mame32 provided the option to configure some aspects of the MAME emulator directly from the graphical interface.

So Mame32 and MAME are the same things?

Yes and no. In the end, with Mame32, you will have all the features of MAME, but you will also be able to use a graphical interface to manage the emulator. The existence of Mame32 is possible thanks to the fact that MAME is open source, which means that any person with enough programming knowledge can access the emulator's source code and modify it to add new features or fix bugs. So the developers of Mame32 use the MAME code to add a new layer (graphical interface) and obtain, in this way, a more friendly emulator for the end-user. That is why Mame32 incorporates the MAME source code.

MAME, Mame32, MameUI. Why so many names for the same emulator?

As we have seen, MAME is the original emulator from which all the others start. Over the years, different variants of this emulator have been released, developed by enthusiasts who wanted to contribute something extra to the original emulator.

These new versions, in many cases, ended up being abandoned by their developers, and therefore, they could not run the latest games supported by MAME. It is the case of Mame32, which was no longer developed, and in its place arose an alternative called MameUI, which was also abandoned and has now been replaced by the emulator IV/Play (For Play). All these variants have in common that their core is the original MAME emulator.

Although their developers have not updated many of these versions for a long time, it will be possible to run these variations in modern Operating Systems such as Windows 10. This is the case of Mame32 for Windows 10, which will work, and we can enjoy this great graphic interface for MAME in the latest Microsoft OS. Although it is worth mentioning that unless we have an excellent reason to use Mame32, it is best to use more updated software actively developed by its programmers, as is the case of IV/Play.

MESS the sister version of MAME

As a parallel project to MAME, the MESS project emerged, which focused on emulating computer systems such as video consoles and personal computers. In such a way that with this emulator, we can play the Super Nintendo, Megadrive, Gameboy, Amstrad, Spectrum, etc.

The MESS emulator joined the MAME project in version 0.163 of the latter (June 24th, 2015 ), being able, since then, to emulate in MAME all the systems supported by the MESS project. As of today, MAME and MESS are included in MAME, thus providing MAME with support for thousands of games, not only for arcades but also for video consoles and personal computers.

Fun facts about MAME

The first version of MAME

The first version of MAME was 0.1 and was released on February 5th, 2017, and was able to emulate the following five games:

  • Pac Man
  • Lady Bug
  • Crush Roller
  • Ms. Pac-Man (bootleg)
  • Pengo

The programmer of the first version was an Italian named Nicola Salmoria, and he was involved until 2003 in the development of MAME. After this date, Nicola stopped collaborating and contributing to the emulator's source code, as it was too time-consuming to be a hobby.

Playing games is a side effect

MAME was developed to transform the hardware of a gaming machine (diodes, capacitors, chips, etc.) into the software. That is to say, to go from having a physical motherboard to having some lines of code that emulate the behavior of that motherboard. Once that hardware was converted to 100% in software, as a collateral effect, it was possible to run video games in this emulator, although this was not the primary objective.

The source code of MAME

Currently, the source code of this emulator is hosted in GitHub, which has served as a service hosting the source code since late 2007 (December 16th, 2007). It receives new code thanks to more than 200 volunteer developers who seek to improve the emulator in its latest versions. The source code has more than 15 million lines of code (15,769,750 at the time of writing this text) and receives new code about 590 times a month, created by over 40 different programmers.

Multiplatform MAME

This multi-machine arcade emulator started as software for MS-DOS, although it didn't take long to come out for other platforms like Windows, Mac, and Linux. Even Google has ported MAME to its Native Client, allowing us to enjoy MAME on the Google Chrome browser.

Reviving the old days of arcades

MAME, and its variants like Mame32, have become the main ingredient to recreate the arcade and bar machines seen in the 1990s and early 2000s. This way, some companies manufacture arcade furniture similar to those years, using a PC with MAME installed and running the best games of that golden age of arcade machines.

This arcade furniture reaches such a level of detail that it even incorporates a couple of coin slots so that Players 1 and 2 can enjoy those special moments again.

As we can see, MAME is an emulator that has made history and continues to do so. There is no doubt that this software has delighted thousands and millions of users who can enjoy and relive those unforgettable moments in the arcades.

You already know that you can download MAME and download Mame32 from our Usitility website with complete peace of mind and security.

Related Software




What is Mame32 and MameUI? . MameUI is a GUI-supported emulator for arcade machines. Formerly known as Mame32, this version of Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME) comes with a Graphical User Interface. It is an emulator application that provides a...




MESS is an old computers and video game console systems emulator. Emulation consists of running software developed for a specific system in a different one. For example, we can emulate the Super Nintendo game console in a Play Station 3. This...




MAME is a program that can emulate a large number of arcade machines. Arcade rooms lived their golden age in the early and mid-90s. In this type of room, there was all kind of video games: platforms, fighting, shoot 'em...