Find Legal, Free MAME ROMs

Keep your classic gaming on the up-and-up and on the cheap.

I’ll level with you here: this ain’t gonna be the longest hack in the book. There’s not much in the way of homebrew MAME development, and for good reason—strictly speaking, there is no such platform as “MAME.” Since the program is by definition a collection of emulators that run specific arcade games, it’s not exactly an attractive environment to developers. Plus, by and large, people aren’t downloading MAME to play games that were never out in the arcade in the first place. However, there are indeed a few MAME homebrews and even arcade titles that have entered the realm of freeware. So let’s check ‘em out.

Freeware Arcade ROMs

In general, publishers want to hold onto the rights to their classic properties, mostly so that when the time comes they can re-release them as part of a retro game compilation [Hack #16] . But in a few cases, the rights holders have given their permission for the games to be freely distributed. ROMs for the following three arcade games are available at the miscellaneous downloads section on (


A charming action game in which the player, controlling a beaker-shaped alien, must run around on a grid collecting balls while avoiding enemies and electricity-charged grid squares, Gridlee was planned for a 1982 arcade release but never saw the light of day. Designed by Howard Delman, a former Atari engineer who developed the vector-graphics ...

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