Johnny’s Workshop

June 1, 2008

MAME – Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator.

Filed under: Tutorials — april15th @ 9:15 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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 (, 3.01MB) from HERE.

02. Unzip the contents of the 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 (, 3.45MB).

04. Unzip the 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.



  1. Hi!

    I found MAME32 not long ago, I was not aware of the illegal Rom issue, until after I had downloaded and played a few Roms. I really like Games like do donpachi, gigawing, progear, dragon blaze, vasara, Esprade, gunwange etc…

    I was wondering afer I saw someone’s comments about many Roms not being legal. If I could still play this game specifically. I don’t know much about game’s laws and all that, so I’m clueless on Copyrights dates etc….

    You seem to know a lot more than I do, so perhaps you could help me out here 🙂

    Very nice blog by the way. Hope to get a reply soon!

    Comment by Josue Davis — June 2, 2008 @ 1:18 pm | Reply

  2. Once again, for all us elite Mac uses. Nah, I kid. I kid cause I love. I’m hopefully getting my 500gig external hard-drive tomorrow, which will allow me to move all the songs off my Mac, allowing me to reinstall my beloved Boot Camp, then I’ll be back on track!

    Comment by Blobs — June 2, 2008 @ 7:13 pm | Reply

  3. Thanks for the comment, Josue!

    I’m still quite new to the world of emulators and ROMs, so I’m by no means an expert on the subject of their legality. I did some research into it mainly to confirm that I could write this blog entry without getting into any kind of trouble.

    The warning at the start of “Street Fighter II: Champion Edition” reads “This game is for use in all countries excluding the United States of America, Canada, Mexico and Japan.” I’m guessing you’re in the US, meaning you’d have to move to another country or (and this is probably cheaper) obtain a license for the game. You can obtain those licenses via distributors or vendors with the authority to provide them.

    Check out THIS page and THIS one for more information on the subject and THIS page for some free, legal ROMs (and a link to some vendors).

    To be honest, the more I read about their legality, the more I understand why people just download them and ignore the copyright issues altogether. There’s just way too much variation between individual countries’ copyright laws and the status of each ROM. You could spend hours just trying to determine whether or not a single game can be downloaded and played legally in a given country.

    If you’d rather just download the games, keep in mind this sentence from the Wiki article on the subject:

    “Given the lack of continuing profit from most older games, the grievances of games companies rarely exceed sending a cease and desist letter which demands that the recipient stop distributing the copyrighted works in question.”

    If you’re only downloading the ROM for some decades-old arcade game, and the ROM is for your private use, it’s incredibly unlikely you’d even get a cease and desist letter.

    Comment by april15th — June 3, 2008 @ 5:59 am | Reply

  4. Cool, Wobboin! I’ve already clocked SFII on the ‘Hardest’ difficulty setting, so make sure you get a copy and practice often. I need some human competition to take my self-esteem to the next level.

    Comment by april15th — June 3, 2008 @ 6:10 am | Reply

  5. I see you deleted my comment.


    Comment by Sheri — June 3, 2008 @ 2:14 pm | Reply

  6. Only because you tried to implicate me in a crime!

    Comment by april15th — June 3, 2008 @ 3:06 pm | Reply

  7. And to show how much I care, I just paid $158 to that money hungry company Apple for their super awesome operating system Leopard, so that I can run Boot Camp, install Windows, and play your cheap game which I’ll probably end up hating anyway.

    Comment by Blobs — June 4, 2008 @ 5:24 pm | Reply

  8. GameS, Roboin. GameS. There are thousands of them and most are less than 5MB.

    Not that you can hate Street Fighter II; it’s far too awesome. Plus, it’s not one of those fancy-looking but ultimately superficial fighting games where you can win just by randomly hammering all the buttons over and over again throughout the fight. An experienced Street Fighter II player will annihilate a button-mashing noob every single time.

    You have to play against other humans to fully appreciate its depth, though. Single-player can still be fun but once you know which tactics to employ to routinely beat the crap out of the other characters, it becomes fairly easy, even on the ‘Hardest’ difficulty setting.

    Once you have it installed, I recommend reconfiguring your controls thusly:

    W (UP)
    A (LEFT)
    S (DOWN)
    D (RIGHT)

    Insert (Button 1 – Light Punch)
    Home (Button 2 – Medium Punch)
    Page Up (Button 3 – Hard Punch)

    Delete (Button 4 – Light Kick)
    End (Button 5 – Medium Kick)
    Page Down (Button 6 – Hard Punch)

    Those settings better resemble the original button layout for the arcade version. Here’s a relevant LINK.

    Oh, and HERE is a good place to learn the basics (special moves, etc).

    Comment by april15th — June 5, 2008 @ 6:41 am | Reply

  9. Um, I clicked on the image where it says “click here” and nothing happened. I think I may be getting a false == true error?

    Comment by anonnnnymousssssssss — June 6, 2008 @ 7:31 am | Reply

  10. Hmm … a ‘false == true’ error would certainly account for that kind of behaviour but there is another possibility; that is, you’re an idiot.

    I’ll have to check the HTML.

    Comment by april15th — June 6, 2008 @ 1:17 pm | Reply

  11. Idiot equals True

    Comment by anonnnnymousssssssss — June 6, 2008 @ 2:53 pm | Reply

  12. You’re really selling me on StreetFighter II! Naturally I’ve never played it, but it sounds, and looks, like fun!

    Hey Johnny, if I downloaded MAME32, would you club this baby seal? Club a seal to make a better deal?? I know you’d do it too, ’cause you’re crrrraaazyyy!

    Comment by canadiansheri — June 6, 2008 @ 4:12 pm | Reply

  13. I’m afraid I’ve never seen any movies starring Weird Al, so your obscure reference there is lost on me.

    By the way, did you notice yesterday that my visitor numbers finally eclipsed yours? I assume the expensive, congratulatory gift you sent to mark the occasion is on its way!

    Comment by april15th — June 6, 2008 @ 4:20 pm | Reply

  14. What the….??! That’s BULLSH*T man!! My blog is way cooler than yours!

    It’s not really, I just want to pretend it is so I can seem cool in front of my friends.

    Comment by Sheri — June 6, 2008 @ 8:19 pm | Reply

  15. What friends?

    Comment by april15th — June 6, 2008 @ 8:36 pm | Reply

  16. “I’m hopefully getting my 500gig external hard-drive tomorrow” – He completely failed to mention that I was the one who spent her saturday, driving 30 km out to Cannington in the thunderstorm, waiting in a queue at Harvey Norman, driving 30 km back home in the thunderstorm…and in turn, losing 2 hours when I COULD have been doing study.


    Oh, but the blog looks impressive JP. Maybe I should check out street fighter on Robin’s, and if I like it then I’ll do the boot camp thing, then give street fighter a shot. I love playing games. 🙂

    As for who’s blog is cooler…they’re both cool!

    Comment by Mel — June 7, 2008 @ 12:42 pm | Reply

  17. I finally installed Windows, and Street Fighter II. It jerks a little bit, but I assume that’s the charm about it?

    Comment by Blobs — June 7, 2008 @ 7:01 pm | Reply

  18. swish

    Comment by Annonnnimousnnn — June 7, 2008 @ 9:19 pm | Reply

  19. (Leigh’s ‘swish’ was in response to Comment #15.)

    Mel, why are you wasting precious study time doing Robin’s shopping? I’m curious … partly because I have to buy a new hard drive, motherboard and PC case fairly soon and if you’re free, it’d save me a lot of hassle. The stores I have in mind are in Melbourne and Sydney, so just let me know when you’re available and I’ll send you the directions.

    If you do give Street Fighter II a whirl, let me know what you think! You can actually play it two-player using the same keyboard, so get some practice in single-player mode, then challenge Robin to a few fights. The loser should have to undertake a frustrating, 2-hour-long errand for the winner.

    My copy of the game experiences some jerkiness, too, Robboin, but if I have my other applications closed and no ‘full system anti-virus scan’ running in the background, it’s usually quite smooth. Of course, it’s hard to know if yours is a Boot Camp issue or the same type of jerkiness mine suffers. Maybe it’s just the fact that it’s an old game and we’ve been so spoiled by technology in the time since that we forgot how games used to look.

    Either way, let me know how you’re faring, which characters you’re using, etc.

    Comment by april15th — June 8, 2008 @ 9:52 am | Reply

  20. What friends?? What friends????!! Are you kidding, I have TONNES of friends!! There’s uhh… that girl, and ummm… that guy over there… and….

    SHUT UP!!!!

    (runs away crying)

    Comment by Sheri — June 9, 2008 @ 7:07 pm | Reply

  21. My friend works at Harvey Norman’s, so I thought I could get a discount. Alas, he wasn’t at work when I rocked up so I had to pay full price anyway…
    I’d love to go out and do your shopping, providing you give me a highly detailed list…oh, and you pay for a percentage of my airfares. 🙂

    I know my chance of beating Robin at Street Fighter II are slim, as are my chances at beating him at any game other than Mario Kart on the DS…but I may try my luck someday.

    Comment by Mel — June 11, 2008 @ 2:11 am | Reply

  22. No need to cry, Sheri. Lots of successful, highly-regarded people go through life without friends. Off-hand, I can’t think of any names but if ever I do, you’ll be the first to know.

    Mel, I’d be more than happy to pay for a percentage of your airfares. (‘0′ is a percent, right?) Or I could just spare you the trip and order everything on-line using my trusty Visa Classic credit card. I like to call that one “Good ol’ 239” on account of its last digits (4467 0167 8972 0239). Or maybe I should name it “Good ol’ 6735” after the PIN. Nah, I’ll stick with “Ol’ 239” … that sounds much better.

    Speaking of Mario Kart have you tried the Wii version yet? Has anyone?

    Comment by april15th — June 13, 2008 @ 10:55 am | Reply

  23. I think my family back home has it. Maybe pay a visit to Leigh’s facebook and instead of suggesting ridiculous video cameras to buy, you can ask him what mario kart is like.

    Comment by Blobs — June 13, 2008 @ 3:40 pm | Reply

  24. There’s nothing ridiculous about high-def 3CCD digital video camcorders for under $2000. I paid $2200 for my camcorder. The one I suggested to Leigh is at least … ooh, 6 times better.

    Comment by april15th — June 13, 2008 @ 4:59 pm | Reply

  25. Haha! Wouldn’t you be worried about the fact that you’ve just listed off your credit card number, and your pin?! I really should consider learning mine off by heart because I’ve developed a love of internet shopping and it’s frustrating having to get up and find my card every time I want to buy something!

    I haven’t tried the Wii version yet, but I’ve hear it’s meant to be pretty awesome. Maybe someday I’ll splash out and buy a Wii and Mario…

    Comment by Mel — June 14, 2008 @ 1:30 am | Reply

  26. Awww poor Mel. Only a little bit slow, not getting the joke. But that’s ok. 🙂

    Comment by Blobs — June 15, 2008 @ 3:55 pm | Reply

  27. Who’s joking?

    I’m very confident no-one would be stupid enough to try and use my card. Besides, I only have $4.70 in that account. Granted, the card has a $25,000 limit but I’m sure the NAB will identify any ‘unusual spending’ and alert me. They have my best interests at heart.

    Comment by april15th — June 19, 2008 @ 5:20 pm | Reply

  28. You know me Robin…I’m two beef patties short of a big mac. Buying Live Jazz is an example. 😛

    Good to know the bank’s looking out for you. Mine doesn’t. They charge me a $4.50 account servicing fee every month despite the fact that when I signed up they said that if I deposit $500 or more in one transaction each month then I’m exempt from paying it… When I went in to question it, the lady said that I have to deposit the $500 via eftpos or something ridiculous.

    Whinge whinge whine whine…Oh well, it’s only $4.50.

    Comment by Mel — June 19, 2008 @ 8:39 pm | Reply

  29. Banks are run by criminals. The only difference between bankers and the local scumbag who robs people at knife-point is that bankers are rich and powerful enough to make their crimes legal. They’re still the scum of the Earth, though.

    Of course, I hope to be an international banker some day.

    Comment by april15th — June 20, 2008 @ 3:19 am | Reply

  30. John-Paul, I am now disappointed, which is disappointing, because I was so excited about this!
    I loved your tutorial, but it just didn’t work for me. I couldn’t get the download to work!
    I thought I may have missed something, so I googled lots of stuff, finding new things I never thought possible – What a journey!
    I realised I missed one crucial detail, which I think you should add to the tutorial as point 1b:
    It is a little rough, but I’m sure you’ll be able to make it look professional.
    It is here:

    (oops… gave away my identity there didn’t I)

    Comment by strange loop — August 3, 2008 @ 3:49 pm | Reply

  31. Hey dude,
    I’ve got a new job! I’m an international banker!

    Comment by strange loop — August 3, 2008 @ 3:53 pm | Reply

  32. You deleted my comment… Thanks dude… Last time I make a contribution.

    Comment by strange loop — August 4, 2008 @ 10:04 pm | Reply

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