I have always been a huge fan of MAME, and used to be such a geek about it I nearly celebrated some of the releases that added new games (I remember when Marble Madness finally worked on MAME – that made for a very unproductive day
Now, for those who aren’t gamer geeks, emulator freaks, or techies in general: MAME stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. Simply put, it pretends to be the hardware for old games (an emulator) so you can run the actual real program that the games in the arcade ran. So when you played, say, Donkey Kong, you were playing the actual program from the arcade, not a re-write someone did many years later. All the behaviors and graphics are nearly perfect.
For gamers, it’s a bit of nerdvana. And MAME supports A LOT of old arcade games (well, some of them aren’t that old, really – it started out tackling games from the late 70′s, early 80′s era, and slowly has moved into modern arcade games.)
One thing though: MAME doesn’t come with all those arcade games. That wouldn’t be legal – those are the property of the companies that created them. And as you might imagine, Namco isn’t so hip on letting loose of their copyrights and trademarks on old titles that still produce new games to this day like Pac Man.
My iPad is about to get a whole lot less productive
Now, thing is iMAME breaks some of Apples rules. You can install ROMs (the original game program downloaded from an arcade machine), which is specifically disallowed in the App Store. So, it’s probably only going to exist for a day at best. But… it would be nice if Apple just let that whole clause go. The real war was against things like Adobe Flash, which they’ve pretty much won.
There’s other emulators out there on iOS now – for instance, the Atari collection, where you can download very specific ROMs from Atari (at a fee, of course – worth it for some of the games), so the rules have been slipping. And the Commodore 64 emulator and iDOS emulator have been in the App Store for quite a while. Please, Apple, let me have my MAME
(You can download iMAME here)