Care for Your ROMs

Manage ROM sets, learn to use alternative ROMs, and more.

If you prick your ROMs, do they not bleed? Well, no. But ROMs are still precious things, and you must take good care of them. Now that you’ve set up MAME and have started to piece together a game collection, you’ll want to know how to download, store, and organize your ROM files. There are a few external utilities you can use for this task, but knowing a bit about MAME’s internal workings is important as well.

Downloading ROMs

When you download MAME ROMs [Hack #24] , you will probably notice that they are in Zip file format. The Zip archive format is used to compress many files into one small file for easy transfer, and usually in a case like this you will want to download an external utility like WinZip or Info-Zip (on Mac OS X and Windows XP, you can just double-click the files to open them) to extract the files from the archive. In fact, the odds are great that you didn’t need me to tell you what a Zip file is, and you’re just about to open up the file…

Stop! Contrary to everything you know, you’re not going to open this .zip file. Instead, save the file to your hard drive, in the mame\roms\ directory. Do not rename the file—it must remain as-is for MAME to recognize it. MAME will automatically open and read the ROM files, and your roms\ directory will remain neat and uncluttered.

When the ROM Doesn’t Work

Most of the time, the preceding two paragraphs are enough to get you playing nearly any ROM you happen ...

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