MIS-SHAPES, MISTAKES, MAME
Indignant ELSPA members might be surprised to
hear it, but the main man behind the mighty MAME has his own set of
ethics and morals when it comes to the behemothic emulator. The
project’s originator and co-ordinator Nicola Salmoria (who recently,
local colour fans, completed his graduate thesis – yes, he does have
a real life too – which can be downloaded from many emulation sites
for the Italian-fluent stalkers among you) takes both a purist and
Puritan approach to certain games which fall within MAME’s emulation
umbrella, and will not allow them to be included in official builds
of the program.
Examples include Pong (on the purist grounds
that its function in MAME is technically via simulation rather than
emulation, since the original coin-op functioned on solid-state
technology rather than ROM files), some Neo Geo prototypes, and a
whole slew of arcade gambling games (on the more Puritan grounds
that, well, gambling’s a bit iffy). That this self-censorship
doesn’t also extend to MAME’s many extremely explicit X-rated
Japanese coin-ops is something we should all be grateful for.
Anyway, completists should know that these
forbidden titles do still have a home in the emulation community,
and that home is the self-explanatorily-titled MisFit MAME. MFM is a
special build of the emulator which includes only games which aren’t
found in the official one.
Not only do the likes of Pong and the gambling
games reside there, but also hundreds of homegrown “hacks” of the
more popular coin-ops. (MisFit MAME has swallowed up the defunct
PacMAME, which offered several hundred versions of the various
Pac-Man games hacked in endlessly inventive and bizarre ways –
vector graphics, sprites and sounds from the infamous Atari VCS
version, and versions where all the characters look like Elton
John.) PC gaming’s own Jeff Minter, for example, contributed a
remake of Ms Pac-Man called Ms Yak-Man, with the ghosts replaced by
fluffy sheepies and the central character transformed into,
obviously, a yak.
And while we’re on the subject of the
Peruvian-mammal-obsessed one, competitive Emu Zone readers might be
interested to know that the Llamasoft forums have for some time been
playing host to a very well-organised MAME league, where users can
battle away at a different game every week in a continuous series of
It’s a friendly, welcoming site, (assuming you
can put up with the constant animal references and general hippy
undercurrents), and if you want to add that little bit of edge to
your MAMEing experience, it’s well worth a “trip”. (Did you see what
Emu Zone did there?) Plus, most of them are rubbish, so it won’t be
as dispiriting as wandering in to the average CounterStrike match.
Tell them Emu Zone sent you.