Representative MAME Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. When used with an arcade game’s data files (ROM in, CHDS, samples, etc.) together, MAME attempts to reproduce as faithfully as possible in the game more modern universal system. MAME can currently simulate hundreds of thousands from the earliest CPU-based system of the classic arcade video games to more modern 3D platforms.
The ROM and CHD images that MAME requires are “dumped” from arcade games’ original circuit-board ROM chips, hard disks, and CD-ROMs. MAME becomes the “hardware” for the games, taking the place of their original CPUs and support chips. Therefore, these games are NOT ports or rewrites, but the actual, original games that appeared in arcades, complete with all the bugs, glitches, slowdowns, and subtleties of the original game as it appeared in the arcade.
MAME’s purpose is to preserve these decades of video-game history. As gaming technology continues to rush forward, MAME prevents these important “vintage” games 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 games are playable serves primarily to validate the accuracy of the documentation (how else can you prove that you have recreated the hardware faithfully)?