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  • FIRST POST
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 13th Jul 18, 12:28 AM
    • 8,369Posts
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    esuhl
    Arcade game emulators for Linux
    • #1
    • 13th Jul 18, 12:28 AM
    Arcade game emulators for Linux 13th Jul 18 at 12:28 AM
    I have an old PC running GNU/Linux that I want to set up as a games machine.


    I want to play arcade games like Donkey Kong, Pacman, Arkanoid, Space Invaders, Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario, and all the other classic games I've forgotten from the arcades and 8- and 16-bit consoles!


    Has anyone else done this? What are the best console emulators to use?
Page 1
    • Tarambor
    • By Tarambor 13th Jul 18, 2:21 AM
    • 3,567 Posts
    • 2,645 Thanks
    Tarambor
    • #2
    • 13th Jul 18, 2:21 AM
    • #2
    • 13th Jul 18, 2:21 AM
    Take a look at MAME.
    • teleaddict
    • By teleaddict 13th Jul 18, 12:41 PM
    • 202 Posts
    • 35 Thanks
    teleaddict
    • #3
    • 13th Jul 18, 12:41 PM
    • #3
    • 13th Jul 18, 12:41 PM
    another vote for MAME. I have it installed & it plays great
    My 2 savings total for 2007 = 92, for 2008 = 124
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    • S0litaire
    • By S0litaire 13th Jul 18, 1:11 PM
    • 3,450 Posts
    • 2,177 Thanks
    S0litaire
    • #4
    • 13th Jul 18, 1:11 PM
    • #4
    • 13th Jul 18, 1:11 PM
    here's a "step by step" for getting an arcade system up and running with few classic games...

    https://www.linux.org/threads/linux-arcade-system.4470/
    Laters

    Sol

    "Have you found the secrets of the universe? Asked Zebade "I'm sure I left them here somewhere"
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 13th Jul 18, 6:52 PM
    • 8,369 Posts
    • 6,145 Thanks
    esuhl
    • #5
    • 13th Jul 18, 6:52 PM
    • #5
    • 13th Jul 18, 6:52 PM
    Thanks all.

    The system requirements for the latest version of MAME are quite beefy:
    • Intel Core series CPU or equivalent, at least 2.0 GHz
    • 4 GB RAM
    My system isn't up to that. I have:
    • AMD64 3700+ CPU
    • 2 GB RAM
    I got Donkey Kong running, but it's so slow that it's completely unplayable.

    The most modern console I want to emulate is probably the Sega Megadrive... which had a 7.61 MHz CPU and 64KB RAM! What does MAME do with all the extra processing power and memory?!

    Is my machine just too old, are there more lightweight emulators, or is it worth trying to get an older version of MAME working...? :-/

    Someone suggested trying MAME v0.106 (released 12 years ago) or earlier... but also warned that the new ROM images won't work with earlier versions of MAME... :-/
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 13th Jul 18, 7:49 PM
    • 8,369 Posts
    • 6,145 Thanks
    esuhl
    • #6
    • 13th Jul 18, 7:49 PM
    • #6
    • 13th Jul 18, 7:49 PM
    I've just come across AdvanceMAME, which is based on MAME v0.106.

    https://www.advancemame.it/

    I'll give that a go when I get a chance... :-)
    • that
    • By that 13th Jul 18, 11:12 PM
    • 523 Posts
    • 290 Thanks
    that
    • #7
    • 13th Jul 18, 11:12 PM
    • #7
    • 13th Jul 18, 11:12 PM
    I never got the impression that linux was good at high speed graphics and great graphic hardware support, but I could be extremely wrong too. What is the chance that it is using cpu cycles rather than gpu to make it work?
    Last edited by that; 14-07-2018 at 2:37 AM.
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 19th Jul 18, 9:20 PM
    • 8,369 Posts
    • 6,145 Thanks
    esuhl
    • #8
    • 19th Jul 18, 9:20 PM
    • #8
    • 19th Jul 18, 9:20 PM
    Well, AdvanceMAME runs faster, but still not fast enough.

    It's infuriating. A friend bought one of those two-player cocktail table arcade machines. It plays Pac-Man, 1943, and a dozen other games. Inside is a Compaq Deskpro 400MHz PIII!

    The hard drive died, but I'd love to know what kind of OS it was running.

    I never got the impression that linux was good at high speed graphics and great graphic hardware support, but I could be extremely wrong too. What is the chance that it is using cpu cycles rather than gpu to make it work?
    Originally posted by that
    I've always used nVidia cards, which have been well-supported in GNU/Linux. You can use either the proprietary nVidia driver or the open-source nouveau one.

    There's no reason GNU/Linux should use any more CPU cycles than Windows to drive graphics output.
    • forgotmyname
    • By forgotmyname 19th Jul 18, 10:17 PM
    • 27,602 Posts
    • 11,174 Thanks
    forgotmyname
    • #9
    • 19th Jul 18, 10:17 PM
    • #9
    • 19th Jul 18, 10:17 PM
    You can run emulators on a Raspberry Pi, so a desktop should not have issues.

    I remember running MAME on sub 1Ghz machines.

    Use an all in one Emulator/OS ?
    Punctuation, Spelling and Grammar will be used sparingly. Due to rising costs of inflation.

    My contribution to MSE. Other contributions will only be used if they cost me nothing.

    Due to me being a tight git.
    • Tarambor
    • By Tarambor 20th Jul 18, 3:01 PM
    • 3,567 Posts
    • 2,645 Thanks
    Tarambor
    Wow the minimum requirements for MAME have really shot up. Like forgotmyname, I remember running it donkeys years ago on sub 1GHz CPUs. It was released in 1997 so 1GHz CPUs didn't exist and systems with even 1GB of RAM were almost unheard of. God knows what they've done to it because the ROMs you play haven't changed.
    • forgotmyname
    • By forgotmyname 20th Jul 18, 3:50 PM
    • 27,602 Posts
    • 11,174 Thanks
    forgotmyname
    Must be some ancient versions of mame out there, all packed up with the required roms etc.
    Punctuation, Spelling and Grammar will be used sparingly. Due to rising costs of inflation.

    My contribution to MSE. Other contributions will only be used if they cost me nothing.

    Due to me being a tight git.
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 25th Jul 18, 3:58 PM
    • 8,369 Posts
    • 6,145 Thanks
    esuhl
    Well... I tried Lakka, which sounded promising. But after the boot screen appears, the screen goes black.

    http://www.lakka.tv/

    I might come back to it -- maybe I can manually install a video driver or change something. I'm still sceptical that my PC will be fast enough, anyway.

    So the next plan is to download MAME 0.37b5 from the year 2000. I'm pretty hopeful that will work well. But old versions of MAME aren't available from any Arch repositories, so I'll have to build a package and compile from source. Fingers crossed...
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 27th Jul 18, 6:15 PM
    • 8,369 Posts
    • 6,145 Thanks
    esuhl
    Just in case it helps anyone else, I finally tried RetroArch, which is what the OS Lakka uses.

    http://www.retroarch.com/
    https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/RetroArch

    You can add various "cores" (which are emulators -- like the MAME 0.37b5 one, or... any other from a huge list), and then use RetroArch as a GUI to play them.

    The GUI is a bit ugly and confusing, but it works!

    So, I might have to have another look at Lakka to see if I can get it working. :-)
    • that
    • By that 27th Jul 18, 9:24 PM
    • 523 Posts
    • 290 Thanks
    that
    eshul, many many years ago ran mame on our work PCs (after hours). They were Pentium 2 233/266Mhz, think 64MB? on windows nt4. They worked really well too. Many of those arcade games had 1 or 2 MHz cpu, and no maths co-processor
    • Tarambor
    • By Tarambor 28th Jul 18, 4:21 PM
    • 3,567 Posts
    • 2,645 Thanks
    Tarambor
    eshul, many many years ago ran mame on our work PCs (after hours). They were Pentium 2 233/266Mhz, think 64MB? on windows nt4. They worked really well too. Many of those arcade games had 1 or 2 MHz cpu, and no maths co-processor
    Originally posted by that
    I worked as a bench engineer at a company that made video games in the 80s. CPUs were either 6502 or Z80s, even on games with moving cabinets like Afterburner.
    • forgotmyname
    • By forgotmyname 28th Jul 18, 10:28 PM
    • 27,602 Posts
    • 11,174 Thanks
    forgotmyname
    I use RetroPie on the Raspberry Pi.

    Openelec or OSM
    Last edited by forgotmyname; 28-07-2018 at 10:34 PM.
    Punctuation, Spelling and Grammar will be used sparingly. Due to rising costs of inflation.

    My contribution to MSE. Other contributions will only be used if they cost me nothing.

    Due to me being a tight git.
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 28th Jul 18, 11:10 PM
    • 8,369 Posts
    • 6,145 Thanks
    esuhl
    eshul, many many years ago ran mame on our work PCs (after hours). They were Pentium 2 233/266Mhz, think 64MB? on windows nt4. They worked really well too. Many of those arcade games had 1 or 2 MHz cpu, and no maths co-processor
    Originally posted by that
    I can totally believe it. It's not like I'm trying to emulate games that require high-spec hardware!

    That's why I'm using Linux -- there's great driver support for old machines, and you can start a single program in X without needing to run a full GUI Desktop Environment. And updates are so much easier -- one command updates everything, and there's no system-wide registry to get corrupted.

    But it's incredible that modern emulators should struggle to reproduce systems that had 0.1% of the CPU power and RAM that even my ancient PC has!

    I installed libretro-blastem - the Sega Megadrive core in RetroArch, but the games ran about 30% slower than they should. (Judging by the timer in Sonic the Hedgehog 2!)

    I then discovered gens, which runs Sonic2 at full speed!

    https://www.archlinux.org/packages/multilib/x86_64/gens/

    I worked as a bench engineer at a company that made video games in the 80s. CPUs were either 6502 or Z80s, even on games with moving cabinets like Afterburner.
    Originally posted by Tarambor
    I remember watching in envy as my rich friend played Afterburner in one of those cabinets that could turn you upside down! But seriously... 1 a game?! Wow! I could buy five chocolate bars with that!

    And I absolutely loved by Amstrad CPC 6128 -- along with its Z80 processor. The best thing Amstrad ever made!
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