I love my MAME Cabinet

Some of my most fond memories are from the early-mid 90s. Every Saturday at 9am, I would have my mom or dad drive me to the local Putt-Putt mini golf place and drop me off. The place had an amazing arcade, and with it, a special called Super Saturday where from 9am-noon, you’d get DOUBLE the number of tokens for your money. $5 would get you 40 tokens. 40 tokens would keep me playing for almost 4 hours.

I remember handing over the $5 and getting back a large cup of tokens. I’d leave the counter and begin shoving the tokens in my pocket until I had a rather loud jingly mass of tokens that would seem to cause a limp when I walked. There were some Saturdays where I bought $10 worth.. 80 tokens. Gives me shivers just thinking of it.

My favorite games during that time were most 2D Fighters.. All of the Street Figther’s (II, II Turbo, Hyper Fighting, Super, Alpha 1/2/3, III for a little), Mortal Kombat’s (I, II, III, Ultimate III), Mace: The Dark Ages, Killer Instinct (I/II), Primal Rage, Time Killers (Banned in most arcades!), Marvel Super Heroes, Marvel Vs X-men, Marvel Vs Capcom, Tons TONS more, really. I was -not- a fan of 3D fighters like Tekken, Virtual Fighter, and the like. So slow to respond.

I’d even see the same kids there each weekend playing the same games. Rivalries were established and reputations were earned. That one Asian kid would always beat me at MKIII and I was thrilled the one time I beat him… though he wasn’t. :)

Putt-Putt even had a sleep over where you’d pay like $15 and they’d put all the games on Free Play over night. All the regulars were there and we had a blast until the sun came up.

But arcades faded, most malls closed them. The games evolved (3D’s..bleh). That era was over. Now everything is ticket games.

Enter MAME.

Sure, I’ve had it for a couple years now, but I must tell you, I’m a -big fan- of my MAME cabinet. For those not familiar with it, MAME is a program allowing arcade games to run on a home computer. These aren’t replicas or knock-offs of the original games, but the information found on the circuit boards inside the arcade cabinets is downloaded (“dumped”) from the original cabinet to a computer. In fact, when playing these games, they even still believe that a quarter needs to be inserted, yet a simple button push can fool the game.

So, a MAME cabinet, is a home-built structure that looks like a normal arcade game but instead, houses a computer running MAME which can support thousands of arcade games. And I have one.. Matt Mahoney and I constructed it in my garage. We couldn’t even wait to have it all together before we enjoyed a few rounds of Marvel Vs Capcom. There we stood, playing it amongst the saw dust and scrap wood, the computer monitor still exposed, front door not on. No paint. But it was just a good enough feeling to play an arcade game standing up using real arcade controls.

I really can’t express the memories that are relived when I start up and hear the `attract mode` music from some games. Does it make me a dork? .. Perhaps. No matter, I`ll still beat you with Akuma after wedging you in to a corner. :)

Thursday, May 1st, 2008 at 10:59
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