To run Mame you need to have done the following things...
1. You need to have a copy of Mame installed (See the Installation page for details).
2. You need to have the correct zipped system roms files in the
C:\Mame\roms. folder. This could be just one file or you may need additional files such as a parent rom set, BIOS file, CHD file or software image. You can find details of the different types of additional files in the "About" pages on the side menu. If you are stuck on what to download then a site like the Arcade Database will tell you the files you need by typing in the game name in the search and looking under "Files".
You can run Mame in two ways. You can just click it's executable file from the
... or you can use the command line. If you click the file then Mame will open up to it's own user interface. From here you can click the system you want and if it's installed, it will run.
If you want to run Mame from the command line then you'll need to open up a command prompt. You can do this from the Windows start menu or by using Win+X (Win 7 and above) and selecting "Command Prompt". If you've followed the installation page then you'll need to navigate to the Mame folder. Type the following...
If it's the first time you've run Mame then type...
Above is for the 64 bit version and below for the 32 bit version.
This will create Mames's default configuration files.
If you want to run a system from Mame's internal user interface then type the following into a command prompt...
You can then load a system from the on screen menu as seen in the image below...
Mame's Default Interface
If you want to find your system quickly then just click "Available" in the on screen menu. Once you have selected a system, press "Enter" or double-click it. If the system supports software then the list will change to the available software in its software list. Again, you can press "Enter" or double-click it to run it. The other screen that may come up is for BIOS selection. BIOS chips were used to store settings and hold data for certain systems. Again, you can press "Enter" or double-click a BIOS file and the system will load.
You can also run a system directly from the command line. The command line is formatted like this...
mame64 <system> <media> <software> <options>
<system> is the name of the system that you want to emulate.
<media> is the format of the software that you want to run. (Common formats are -flop, -cart, -cass, -cdrom or -hdd)
<software> is the name of the software image you want to load. This can be a name from a soft list or the full path to a file.
<options> are the command line options used to override Mame's default settings.
Only you know what system you've installed so on the next line replace <system> with the name of the rom you downloaded (minus the .zip obviously!). If you mis-spell the system you want to run, Mame will list similar systems to the one you typed in to help you find what you want.
Mame will now run your system with it's default settings. There are a lot of options available on the command line which are explained on the Mame Options page but here are a couple options to get you started...
-joystick (Enables joystick support)
-window (Runs Mame in a window)
You add the options like this...
mame64 <system> <option1> <option2> ...
Here's how to run Pacman with joystick support and in a window...
mame64 pacman -joystick -window
To use software on a system you need to use the following format...
mame64 <system> <media> <software>
This will use the software list associated with the system to add the software in the correct way. If you are using software that isn't in a list then you need to specify what format the image file is in. For instance, if you want to load a floppy disk into disk 1 on an Amstrad PC1640 you need to type the following...
mame64 pc1640 -flop1 system
The command is made up of mame64 which is the main exe, pc1640 is the system driver, -flop1 is the media the software is on and system is the software image. Mame will look at the software list and load the first image. In the file manager menu you can find the other images in the list which can be mounted and used.
Besides software, systems can often support extra devices. For example, say on your Amstrad PC you want to have a Soundblaster card in it for better sound in a game. You would use the following command...
mame64 pc1640 -flop1 system -isa1 sblaster1_5
To find out what devices are supported by a system you need to use the -listslots command. For example...
mame64 pc1640 -listslots
This command will generate a list of all the devices used on the Amstrad PC1640 computer. Some systems have a lot of supported devices so if you want to get the output as a text file then use >pc1640.txt. This will send the output to a text file. The full command would look like...
mame64 pc1640 -listslots >pc1640.txt
This is part of the text that is outputted...
SYSTEM SLOT NAME SLOT OPTIONS SLOT DEVICE NAME
---------------- -------------- ---------------- ----------------------------
pc1640 kb:joy keypad Atari / CBM Keypad
wheel Atari / CBM Driving Wheel
joy Atari / CBM Digital joystick
joybstr Atari / CBM Digital joystick with Boostergrip
pad Atari / CBM Digital paddles
lp Atari / CBM Light Pen
mous mouse Amstrad PC1512 mouse
ic112:0 525dd 5.25" double density floppy drive
ic112:1 525dd 5.25" double density floppy drive
centronics covox_stereo Covox (Stereo-in-1)
covox Covox Speech Thing
printer Centronics Printer
p72 NEC PinWrite P72
ap2000 Epson ActionPrinter 2000
pl80 COMX PL-80
lx810l Epson LX-810L
ex800 Epson EX-800
lx800 Epson LX-800
This text pretty much tells you how to generate the command line. The format is...
mame64 <system> <software> -<slotname> <slotdevice> <options>
Note that there is a minus sign (-) before the slot name type.