MAME on Mac OSX Yosemite

Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME) is a free and open source application used as a reference of the inner workings of arcade gaming systems. A side effect of this is that MAME can be used to play old arcade games if you can find the games. MAME uses data dumps from the Read Only Memory chips (ROMs) that were used in the original arcade games.

You can download the ROMs of some games from the mamedev.org website. I am going to use Robot Bowl as an example.

You will have to use the terminal app and the console to get MAME working, but it is very easy following the steps below. You will also need admin privileges on the computer, this is not absolutely necessary to run MAME, but that is how I am going to cover it here.

These instructions are for SDLMAME version 0.156 64-bit which was released on November 28, 2014.

Lets get started.

  1. Visit http://wiki.mamedev.org/index.php/SDL_Supported_Platforms and click on the URL for “Apple Macintosh OS X Intel” with a build target of “MAME”. Curretly that URL is http://sdlmame.lngn.net/
  2. Follow the instructions at the top of the page and install the “SDL runtime library
    1. From the SDL website download SDL2-2.0.3.dmg or the latest version.
    2. Double-click the SDL2-2.0.3.dmg file which will mount it as a drive.
    3. Open the Terminal application Applications > Utilities > Terminal
    4. Enter “open /Library/Frameworks” into the terminal window, this will open a window for the Frameworks directory
    5. Drag the “SDL2.framework” file from the SDL2 window into the “Frameworks” window, you may be prompted to enter an Admin username and password to authenticate your desire to modify the Frameworks directory. Click “Authenticate” and then enter an Admin Username and Password.
  3. Back at the SDLMAME page click on the “SDLMAME v0.156 64-bit” link and save the file to your computer. I am placing it in the “Documents” directory.
  4. Double-click the zip file, when finished you should now have a folder named “mame0156-64bit”, now rename this folder “mame”, keep in mind that case counts so make sure the folder name is all lower-case.
  5. Open the “mame” folder and take a look at the contents
  6. Over in the Terminal app, enter “cd ~/Documents/mame” and then “ls -al” to double-check that you are in the right directory
  7. Now to create the MAME configuration file enter “./mame64 -createconfig” this will create a “mame.ini” file in the “mame” directory
  8. Now to get a ROM visit the mamedev.org website and the Robot Bowl game at http://mamedev.org/roms/robotbwl/
    1. Click on “I understand…” and download the game to the Documents/mame/roms directory
    2. WARNING: ROMs are saved as zip files and they should stay zipped. MAME will handle unzipping them and using the contents inside. If you use a web browser that automatically unzips files when you download them you will need to change that setting to preserve the original files.
  9. In Yosemite the keyboard does not use the function keys on as F-1 through F19 the way other operating systems do, they are assigned all kinds of other functions. You can hold the “Function (fn)” key down everytime you want to use a function key or you can open the System Preferences > Keyboard and check the “Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys” box. If you check this box you can use the “fn” key to utilize the special functions of those keys. That is my preferred method.
  10. Now to launch MAMA and give Robot Bowl a try
    1. In the Terminal enter “./mame64”
    2. Use the arrow keys to select “robotbwl Robot Bowl” and tap Enter
    3. You may see a screen warning about using ROMs that you are not legally entitled to play, give it a quick read and know that you have been given permission by H.R. Kaufmann, president of Xidy, the original ROM images for Robot Bowl have been made available for free, non-commercial use. On your keyboard the left then right arrows to move on.
    4. Then you may see a message that there are known problems with this game. The sound emulation isn’t 100% accurate. Click the left then right arrow keys again to move on.
    5. Now the game should be playing its attract animation of a stick figure coming out to bowl.
    6. Tap the “Tab” key to bring up the in-game configuration menu and choose “Input (this Game)”
      1. NOTE: I prefer not to change the “Input (general)” controls from the default. By keeping the general defaults tutorials and other help I may use in the future will work without me having to translate which keys to press.
    7. Controls
      1. This is really cool, when you look at the input controls for a specific game, it shows ALL of the control options for that game making it very easy to learn how to play that game and re-configure the buttons and controls for it.
      2. For Robot Bowl the default controls are:
        1. 1 Player Start: 1
        2. Coin 1: 5
        3. P1 Left Button: Left arrow key
        4. P1 Right Button: Right arrow key
        5. P1 Button 1: Left Control key or mouse button 1 (left mouse button)
        6. P1 Button 2: Left Alt key or muse button 3 (right mouse button)
        7. Hook Left: Z key
        8. Hook Right: X key
      3. You can use the arrow keys to navigate to any of these and change them by tapping the Enter key then tapping the key you want to use; you can have more than one key assigned to a single control.

And that is it; you now have MAME up and running on your Mac OSX Yosemite computer.

You can find a lot more information about customizing MAME in the ~/Documents/mame/docs directory, especially in the config.txt file.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

I really like the Borderlands series of games, they are the right combination of first-person shooter (FPS), customizability, and goofy humor. The mechanics have always been good and it has been much more fun than frustrating.

The story lines in the Borderlands series do tend to be thin, this is not epic story telling by any means, but there is a story and it stays pretty consistent throughout the franchise, and I really enjoy it.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is the third update to the franchise. There are 3 main games, Borderlands, Borderlands 2, and now Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. But each of these have a lot of downloadable content available that greatly extend the gameplay.

So far I have made my way through The Pre-Sequel with Nisha bringing her up to level 50 and now I am working my way through with Jack from the most recent DLC.

These games are solid fun if you enjoy FPS and the skill trees give you the opportunity to play the game using many different styles of play.

My only real complain right now is that the Mac and PC updates are not in sync so as a Mac player am having a tough time to find groups to play with. That is very frustrating as Jack is the perfect team player and should be most enjoyable with a full group. I think a group of 4 jacks would be a blast.

I rate Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel an 8 out of 10 and recommend it to anyone looking for a fun FPS to play.

Lock In by John Scalzi

Here is something new, an single audiobook with 2 performances. Not 2 narrators in the same recording, but 2 narrators with their own recording. Kinda cool.

I bought the audiobook from Audible as a pre-order that came with the added benefit of giving me the Amber Benson recording of the book.

I first listened to the Wil Wheaton recoding and really enjoyed it. Wil Wheaton has turned in some great performances as a narrator of audiobooks and this is no exception.

I am familiar with Amber Benson primarily from Buffy the Vampire slayer that I thought she was great in. I didn’t know that she is also an author and has narrated audiobooks.

After listening to the Wil Wheaton version of the book I decided to wait a month or so before listening to the Amber Benson version. During that break I read a blog post by John Scalzi that was pretty cool and shines a new light on the book. It makes the story kind of gimmicky, but I don’t believe it ruins the book.

WARNING: This link contains SPOILERS that will absolutely impact your enjoyment of reading or listening to Lock In. So don’t follow the link unless you have already read the book. If you have read it, please check it out, it is a cool aspect of the story you may have missed.

I HAVE READ THE WARNING, TAKE ME THERE

I enjoyed the story in Lock In and hope to read more stories that take place in the same universe. There is also talk of a TV series or a Movie, that could also be cool.

From the publisher:

"I love working with Audible, in no small part because they’re committed to doing what’s right, both for my books, and the people who listen to those books. There’s a really excellent reason for Lock In to have two entirely different versions, so when it came time to make the audiobook, Audible did an ingenious thing: they asked both Wil Wheaton and Amber Benson to record entire versions of the book. As the author, I’m impressed with Audible’s commitment to my narrative – and I’m geeking out that both Wil and Amber are reading my book. This is fantastic." (John Scalzi)

A blazingly inventive near-future thriller from the best-selling, Hugo Award-winning John Scalzi.

Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever, and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent – and nearly five million souls in the United States alone – the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.

A quarter of a century later, in a world shaped by what’s now known as "Haden’s syndrome", rookie FBI agent Chris Shane is paired with veteran agent Leslie Vann. The two of them are assigned what appears to be a Haden-related murder at the Watergate Hotel, with a suspect who is an "integrator" – someone who can let the locked in borrow their bodies for a time. If the Integrator was carrying a Haden client, then naming the suspect for the murder becomes that much more complicated.

But "complicated" doesn’t begin to describe it. As Shane and Vann began to unravel the threads of the murder, it becomes clear that the real mystery – and the real crime – is bigger than anyone could have imagined.

BONUS AUDIO: Audible’s audio edition of Lock In contains the bonus novella, Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome, written by John Scalzi and narrated by a full cast.

©2014 John Scalzi (P)2014 Audible Inc.

I rate Locked In a 9 out of 10 and recommend it to anyone who enjoys police thrillers or science fiction.