How To Play MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) Games On The Raspberry Pi

How To Play MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) Games On The Raspberry Pi


Even though arcades are becoming less and less available in the country, it does not mean that you cannot play your classic arcade games anymore; and what could go better than use it in an environment with a little $35 Raspberry Pi.

Disclaimer: We know there are other ways of getting these software and games. The sources we used in this instruction comes from from world renowned organizations that have the rights to send out these information to the public for free.

Step 1: Get the MAME Roms

Though there are other ways of getting these games, the world renowned Internet Archive site has an easy and the most legal way of getting these MAME roms. The organization made the ROMS available to be download is to “preserve gaming history by preventing vintage games from being lost or forgotten”.

Go over to and click on the latest MAME rom packs (currently it is version 0.149) and download the ZIP file from the site.

We placed the step of getting the ROMS first is due to the fact that the pack is more than 40GB of games. It will take a while before you will be able to completely download the whole packed file together.

Step 2: Get the games running on the Raspberry Pi.

While you are downloading the complete pack of MAME ROMS, we need to get the emulator that will allow our Raspberry Pi to play MAME games. There are two solutions we can use.

The first solution available is to run the Raspberry Pi’s official distribution, Rasperian Wheezy. First, go to the downloads section of the Raspberry Pi’s site and download the “Rasperian Wheezy” image. Follow the instructions posted about loading the image onto an SD card. After the image has been loaded onto an SD card, remove the SD card and place it into the Raspberry Pi, boot into the SD card and set it to allow the opperating system to “expand_rootfs” (we need it so we can install as much MAME roms as we can) and set “boot_behavior” to boot straight into the desktop. After setting the boot and setup parameters. Go the to the Raspberry Pi’s App store and find an app called MAME4ALL and install the app. After installing the app, place the roms into “/usr/local/bin/indiecity/InstalledApps/mame4all_pi/Full/roms/”. After loading the MAME roms into the correct location, launch MAME4ALL and select the game you want to play.

If the steps using Rasperian Wheezy seems a too complicated, a community called RetroPie designed a custom gaming interface on top of the Rasperian Wheezy to simplify the process. You can find the build with instructions over at the RetroPie’s website.