Video game emulators aren’t always seen in the best light, but they actually play an important role when it comes to video game preservation and the revival of classics on modern hardware.
With this in mind, MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) has just turned 25 years old, after making its debut on 5th February 1997. If you’re not familiar with it, in short – it can play many different arcade titles, across multiple different platforms.
Here’s a brief rundown, from the official MAME website:
“MAME is a multi-purpose emulation framework.MAME’s purpose is to preserve decades of software history. As electronic technology continues to rush forward, MAME prevents this important “vintage” software from being lost and forgotten. This is achieved by documenting the hardware and how it functions. The source code to MAME serves as this documentation. The fact that the software is usable serves primarily to validate the accuracy of the documentation (how else can you prove that you have recreated the hardware faithfully?). Over time, MAME (originally stood for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) absorbed the sister-project MESS (Multi Emulator Super System), so MAME now documents a wide variety of (mostly vintage) computers, video game consoles and calculators, in addition to the arcade video games that were its initial focus.”
It goes well beyond this as well – and has been legitimised. For example, in more recent times, it was discovered Capcom utilised code from MAME in Capcom Arcade Stadium. MAME’s influence stretched to other emulators that followed, too.
This isn’t the only emulator getting on – the Nintendo 64 emulator Project 64 turned 20 years old in 2021.