So now I've got a nice looking cocktail arcade cabinet running Windows XP. Woop-de-do. How about some games? ("Let's play Global-Thermonuclear War....")
We've established that this is going to be a MAME machine, right? But there are many, many, many versions of MAME now besides the original (www.MAME.net). After tinkering with the original MAME, I decided to try something new, just for grins.I came across a nice program called FastMAME, which is a heavily-optimized version of MAME for windows that allows many games to run at full speed (www.geoshock.com). After downloading version .70, I proceeded to install it and begin working on the frontend.
It needs to be pretty. Arcades are visual. It's all about the eye candy. So naturally, it wouldn't do to be loading games from the command prompt or trying to double-click an icon. I needed a suitable frontend. The first thing I tried was ArcadeOS, the frontend that my original upright and all subsequent machines I installed MAME on ran. Immediately, my system became unstable, which came as a big surprise since it worked fine on 5+ other machines. Looking back now, it may have been the combination of FastMAME and ArcadeOS that just didn't play nice with each other. So, off I went to find a new frontend. I stumbled upon a wonderful program called AtomicFE (www.atomicfe.com/EN2). Graphically appealing and easy to use, I set it up as fast as I could. The final results were stunning. After loading up a few more games, I pulled up a stool and played a Galaga marathon, immediately followed by Tetris Cocktail with my little sister (who, by the way, kicked my butt.... I still think she cheated....). It was finally ready to take to competition.
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