This last week saw the release of MAME 0.100, the Multi-Arcade Machine Emulator. An amazing technological accomplishment is MAME and a nice milestone. At this rate it'll hit 1.0 in 2048. If you're using Windows, you'll find MAME32 more to your liking.
When I noticed this milestone it spurred me into action. I decided on the spot to write a MAME front-end for Media Center (hoping to put my fallow MCPC back to work). As with all good ideas, it's long ago been done - and in .NET to boot. GameEx is it's name and it's fabulous. It integrates nicely into Media Center and is totally worth the $15.
I immediately visited XGaming who is currently selling a refurbished version of their amazing Two-Player Arcade Joystick for a cool $99.95. (It also works with XBox via Adapter) I ordered it and it was here in five days. Interestingly it came "broken" in that one of the primary buttons didn't work. I assumed it was misconfiguration or something I'd done, but I fired up KeyboardTest and confirmed it from a software POV. I opened it up and traced the wires one at a time and found one slightly disconnected. Once it was reconnected I was back in business.
There was a little trouble initially as I found myself remapping all the buttons manually. Then I realized that a product this good and the MAME32 team being as clever as they are, I must not be taking advantage of their wisdom. MAME32 includes a "Default Game Properties" option and the "Controllers" tab include an option for XArcade. Paydirt. Once this was selected, everything fell into place.
Now I can move seamlessly from the Media Center interface (using the Joystick) into the GameEx menu and into Mame32. Took about 4 hours (while the pregnant wife napped) on a Saturday. Very slick. Now I have to figure out how to explain to her how the infant will develop fine motor skills playing PacMan in his own Arcade.
Next I'm looking at Arcade Cabinets and Games on Craig's List, and I think I'll build an Arcade System for the home, powered by MCPC/GameEx/Mame32.
For the children.
Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. I am a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.