Remember the joys of playing immensely popular games down at the local arcade? You don’t?
Well, screw you. You probably weren’t a child of the ’80s. This post is for people who grew up playing arcade games and wish they could play some of their old favourites again. I played Street Fighter II for a couple of hours yesterday and couldn’t believe how quickly I settled in to my old fighting style again. I suppose the 1991 me would annihilate the current me in any two-player tournament but even with just a couple of days’ practice, I know I’d put up a decent fight.
I so enjoyed Street Fighter II back in the early ’90s that being able to play it again was easily the highlight of my long and tedious, work-filled day. So many memories came flooding back, it was like reuniting with an old friend; one perfectly willing to waste months of my precious youth and take all my 20c coins.
In hopes of being able to provide others with a similar experience, I thought I’d write out a quick guide to acquiring and setting up MAME32 (“a version of the standard Windows MAME build with the front-end built directly into the application”), then downloading and readying a ROM for the emulator. I’ll use Street Fighter II: Champion Edition as the example but you’ll be able to play ten trillion other arcade games, too.
Oh, yeah, I should also mention that this guide is for people using a typical Win32 Platform.
Trust me, the set-up process couldn’t be simpler; it’s on a par with downloading a simple peer-to-peer client and then using it to rob artists of their rightful income.
MAME, of course, is perfectly legal. The legality of the ROMs (the games for the emulator) varies according to the game itself and where you live in the world. Some titles are now in the public domain, others are not.
If flaunting copyright laws is not your thing (nor should it be, lest you’re keen to burn in Hell), you should investigate on a game-by-game basis. For example, the copyright warning at the start of Street Fighter II: Champion Edition informs me that I’m allowed to play because I’m in Australia. Had it been illegal, I would have deleted the ROM that very instant and penned a letter of contrition to Capcom‘s legal department, begging that they forgive me for my having downloaded the game in the first place.
Okay, so here we go:
01. Download MAME32 (m32-062.zip, 3.01MB) from HERE.
02. Unzip the contents of the m32-062.zip archive. You do know how to unzip a simple archive, right? Just right-click on the file and select the appropriate option from the context menu.
The unzipped archive should look like this:
03. Now that MAME32 has been set up, it’s time to acquire the Street Fighter II: Champion Edition ROM. There are sites all over the web that host these ROMs but I got my copy from ROM World.
To save you the trouble of looking for it, here’s a direct LINK to the file (sf2ce.zip, 3.45MB).
04. Unzip the sf2ce.zip archive. This will yield the sf2ce folder, which you’ll then have to move into the roms directory highlighted earlier, giving you: m32-062\roms\sf2ce
05. Now, double-click the mame32.exe file to launch MAME32.
06. With MAME32 open, click File > Audit all games:
MAME32 will then realise you’ve added the sf2ce ROM.
07. Once the audit is complete, just click on the Available folder and you’ll see the Street Fighter II: Champion Edition (World) ROM, desperately awaiting activation (just double-click):
The only thing left to do is kick the shit out of Ken, Ryu, E. Honda, Chun Li, Blanka, Zangief, Guile, Dhalsim, Balrog, Vega, Sagat and Bison.
Once in-game, use the ‘Tab’ key to access all the different settings and to learn / configure your controls.