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What is an Arcade Game ROM?

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You can’t play or use MAME without ROM. So when you install MAME on your PC make sure to install ROM also because you are going to need it, especially after extracting the MAME files into your given directory.

So what is an Arcade ROM?

ROM is a setup which was common hardware for arcade games. It also contained the image of the game. So if people wanted to hack into an arcade machine back in the day, they used to remove the ROM chip, thus, making the arcade multi-game playable.

If you would like to know more about what an arcade game ROM is, you will want to keep reading this article and check out this video!

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So Why Does MAME Use ROM?

The science is pretty simple, an emulator is a program that runs the script or image of a game, but it is directly dependent on a ROM to run or start a game. At the same time ROM can’t start itself without an emulator thus they share a mutual relationship.

Installing A Software ROM and MAME Emulator 

Use the following steps to install and use MAME on your computer:

  1. Download MAME binaries
  1. After downloading the binaries, extract the files. When prompted, provide a directory in which your extracted folder will be placed.
  1. To use MAME it’s necessary to download ROM.
  1. Move the downloaded zip files from ROM  into the directory where you have  MAME stored.
  1. Click run CMD on Windows to run command prompt.
  1. Type the CD name for your MAME command.

As you can see, one cannot work without the other. 

Is Downloading ROM Legal?

Absolutely. Downloading ROM is perfectly legal.

Is ROM Like Memory?

ROM is the short form of Read Only Memory. After the advancement of the CPU, ROM worked hand in hand with RAM as an assistant memory for caching. Back in the day arcade games had only ROM, which made them volatile, so they couldn’t cache data. So if the power went out, you would have to restart the whole game to reach the level that you were previously in. This was a setback for the people playing the game. It did mean a lot of people spent more time in the arcade playing the game, which meant more money for the owners.

In summary

  • ROM is the image for a game. They act as a carrier for games.
  • ROM is normally in the form of bits. Since it is a common type of memory the data it carries is in the form of binary.
  •  ROM cannot stand on its own. It needs an emulator to stand by its side.
  • A solid stateroom comes in the size of 2 because it’s binary.
  • It’s not illegal to download a ROM.
  • ROM in most modern game systems and machines works alongside the RAM to improve its caching ability of data.
  • ROM is stored in the cartridges as a chip in Arcade games.


Emulators are programs that run the script of the game. The most famous emulator for arcade gaming ISM is MAME.

MAME was first released on February 5th, 1995 by an Italian programmer named Nicola Salmoria. Its roots go back to the project called Multi-Pac. In the beginning, it was specifically developed only for MS-DOS, but since it was open-source, it was later integrated into Unix, and later into Mac.

 MAME is an acronym for the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator.

Best MAME games

Some of the best quality MAME games include

  1. Donkey Kong

Perhaps it’s the most famous MAME game ever. It was inspired by King Kong and Beauty and the Beast. The game transformed over the years until it got to a point that Super Mario was the main character of the game.

  1. MS. Pac Man

The first gender-based game was a MAME game. It was developed by Bally Midway who wanted to capture the attention of women in arcade games.

  1. Mortal Kombat 2

This franchise is very famous due to incorporating superpowers in its combat game. It’s one of the earliest unique combat games which was released in 1993. It was developed by many companies including Midway Games.

  1. PAC-Man

Since emulators have a habit of storing vintage games, they decided to incorporate one of the best games in the arcade gaming business which is PAC-Man. Pac-Man is the face of the arcade franchising business. 

It’s indeed the highest arcade selling game in the history of arcade games with an estimate of over 3 billion US. Dollars in revenues total. 

  1. Street Fighter 2

This game received a lot of critical acclaim during its release and it’s considered as one of the arcade vintage classic games of all time. At first, it didn’t have the mirror multiplayer combat, but it was later introduced on its champion’s edition which doubled its earnings.

The Significance of MAME

-It is an open-source emulator thus the technology is shareable for everyone in need.

– It stores vintage arcade games to avoid the thought of them being forgotten. MAME has 7000 games up to date and it plays a big role in the preservation of the history of games.

– It acts as a helping hand for ROM, giving them purpose in the gaming world.


Both ROM and emulators like MAME are directly correlated. Their existence depends on each other. ROM is needed for the memory and image and works directly in correlation with MAME.