Play Arcade Games Under Windows

Play classic arcade games on that most popular of operating systems.

Although the art of running the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME) on Macintosh [Hack #21] and Linux [Hack #22] is discussed later in this chapter, this hack deals solely with the ubiquitous Windows operating systems.

MAME was originally written as a DOS program, and the official Windows build still uses the classic DOS command line prompt. The first section of this hack teaches you how to use the Windows command line version; if you are running a DOS machine, most of the tips will apply to you as well.

If you’d prefer to have a graphical user interface (GUI)—that is, a program that looks and feels like every other application you use in Windows—there are a few different options. You can get an all-in-one program like MAME32, or use what is known as a frontend, which works with the command line version of MAME but removes the hassle of having to type commands manually. I’ll discuss both later in this hack.


Since the MAME emulator is freely distributed, you can find it on many different emulation enthusiast web sites across the Internet. I recommend you download the latest version (0.96, as of this writing) from the official project home page at The first two files on the download page are the Windows command-line versions of MAME. If you have a Pentium Pro processor you will want to get the optimized version, usually called ...

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