MAME gives you the perfect retrogaming experience - also on your Mac
Last update: 9 December 2019
Mac-specific documentation for MAME is scarce. I try to close this gap a bit by explaining my setup and other approaches/ideas in this blog. Although I have written this documentation for Macs, most of this documentation will help for other platforms as well.
I started this blog back in 2016, and the resonance is still great. MAME on Macs is great and stable.
But I currently still shy away from MacOS Catalina 10.15, since the new system seems to provide a lot of hickups for all sorts of emulation.
Homebrew MAME? It is an interesting concept, however I do not really understand the folder structure that is used by this installation. Typically I already fail with installing BGFX shaders properly, thus I stay with manually installing MAME as described in this blog.
My current setup
- Hardware: iMac 27 (Late 2013), 3.5 GHz i7 with 32 GB RAM, 3 TB Fusion Drive and Nvidia TTX 780M 4 GB; MacBook Pro 13'' (early 2013) as a fallback station for enhanced testing
- Software: MacOS Mojave 10.14, SDL 2.0.10
- MAME: 0.206 (R0ni binary from here: http://sdlmame.lngn.net)
- Frontend: Attract Mode 2.6.0 or the MAME internal UI
Basic homework prior to setting up MAME as a beginner
- Download SDL MAME for Mac: http://sdlmame.lngn.net/
- Download and install SDL Runtime Library: http://www.libsdl.org/download-2.0.php and put it into /Library/Frameworks
- Download a frontend, if needed, e.g. Attract Mode (http://attractmode.org) or QMC2 Frontend for Mac: http://qmc2.batcom-it.net/
- Have some ROMs - please do not ask me where to find them, unfortunately, the legal situation is blurry (to say the least), which is a shame. With many arcade machines dying over time time, Arcade manufacturers should love to see that there is a scene that preserves this work in the emulated sphere. Let's hope that emulation gets more acknowledgement from manufacturers and other rightholders for these incredible efforts.
- You might want to look for the following MAME Extras, which can be displayed in the relevant QMC2 tabs (Screenshots, Titles, Cabinet photos, Marquee photos, PCB Board photos (very very nerdy :-)
- If you do not shy away from text editors (you shoudln't), I clearly recommend Attract Mode - see my recent post as frontend. If you are willing to spend some time, it's simply the best experience you can get right now.
I am writing this documentation from a non-coder perspective. If I should be on a wrong path in any case, please be so kind and post a note here.