How to Use MAME For Playing Arcade Games On Your Windows PC


Staff member
So you want to play arcade games on your PC? Getting started with MAME is not easy for the average Joe. There is a lot to learn. Where do you put the game files? What commands do you use? How do you get the joystick working? Here’s a mini guide for those that just want to quickly get up and running with MAME for Windows.
  1. Download MAME Binaries.
  2. Extract the files. When prompted for a directory, provide a folder you wish to extract the files to. In this example, we use “C:\mame“.
  3. You will want to download roms to use with MAME. You can search roms for almost any arcade game, however it may not be legal for you to use many of them. You can always get legal ROMS like we did.
  4. When you download MAME Roms, they come in ZIP format. You do not need to extract them. Leave them zipped and place them in the “C:\mame\roms” folder.
  5. Bring up a DOS command prompt. To do so click “Start” > “Run” and type “CMD“.
  6. Type “cd\” to go to the root directory.
  7. Type “cd mame” to go into the “C:\mame” folder.
Now to start mame, you type mame, then a space, then the game file you want to use:
  • Example: mame robby
If you have a joystick or gamepad you wish to use, you have to use the -joystick switch:
  • Example: mame robby -joystick
Now the game rom should run.
  1. To insert a quarter, press 5.
  2. For 1 player, press 1. For 2 players, press 2.
  3. P pauses the rom.
  4. You can press Tab to access the options in MAME.