Modern games with detailed graphics, sophisticated soundtracks, and fast-paced network play are certainly fun, but sometimes you want to hearken back to a simpler time — a time with 8- or 16-bit graphics when arguably gameplay was more important than fancy graphics. Linux has a number of emulators so you can take a trip back to the days of plunking quarters into Pacman — only, as with Linux, the arcade is free. These emulators work from ROM images that have been extracted from the arcade or console game, and emulate the environment necessary for the ROM to function, so you can use your keyboard or even a joystick and play the games directly from your computer.
Probably the most famous and popular console emulator is MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) . The focus of the MAME project (www.mame.net) is to create an emulator for the various different arcade platforms that have been in use over the years. In this respect the MAME project is much more complicated than many of the other console emulation projects because it supports many different platforms. Currently MAME supports thousands of arcade titles and the list continues to grow. You can view the list of currently supported titles on www.mame.net/gamelist.html.
MAME was originally a project for the Windows platform only; however, a Linux port, called Xmame , has been created. Xmame is based directly on the MAME source code, with changes being made only when necessary to run under Linux. Because of this you ...