How to install MAME emulator on Ubuntu

MAME emulator in Ubuntu

If, like me, you played the classic arcade machines of the 80s-90s, surely you know the MAME emulator. Those are the acronyms of Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator and the emulator allows us to play those titles that we liked so much on practically any device. How could it be otherwise, it is also available for Ubuntu and its installation is as easy as typing some commands and doing some checks. Of course, I recommend patience because we can always leave something to do and we can find ourselves with the unpleasant surprise that we do not see the image that heads this article. Below we explain the steps to follow in order to play MAME games on your PC with Ubuntu.

How to install MAME on Ubuntu

The most important part of the process is to have some games or Roma that we know they work. Having one that works is enough, but there can always be incompatibilities with the BIOS and if we trust a game and it turns out that it does not work, we will go crazy trying to solve the problem. Therefore, it is best to put several games on the route that you will see later. Here are the steps to follow to install and run MAME on Ubuntu:

  1. As always in these cases, especially if we want to receive future updates to the package, we will install the SDLMAME repository (more information) by opening a terminal and typing:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:c.falco/mame
  1. Next, we update the repositories with the command:
sudo apt-get update
  1. Now we install the emulator:
sudo apt-get install mame

You can also install the mame-tools package, but I don't have it installed and I have no problem.

  1. Now we have to run the emulator (it will give an error) and check that the «mame» folder has been created in our personal folder. If this is not the case, we create it with the command:
mkdir -p ~/mame/roms
  1. Inside that folder we have to put the games, so we add the ROMs.
  2. Finally, we open MAME and check that it works.

Some games may not work, so I always recommend doing an internet search for "all mame bios", which will allow us to find a package that has many of the BIOSes necessary for most games to work. The downloaded package has to be decompressed and inside there will be many compressed files that we will have to put, without decompressing, in the same folder «roms» where we put the games.

Have you tried it? Do not hesitate to leave in the comments if you have done it and how it has gone. Of course, be careful with the computer keys 😉


15 comments, leave yours

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  1.   David portella said

    Dear there is an error in step 2, where it says

    $ sudo apt-get install update

    should say

    $ sudo apt-get update

    1.    Paul Aparicio said

      Right, thanks for the point. Corrected.

      A greeting.

  2.   Pepito said

    Hi, what about Ubuntu 15.10 and future 16.04? Because the repository does not have Mame compiled for those versions. Thanks

    1.    Paul Aparicio said

      I have tested it on Ubuntu 15.10 (that screenshot is mine) and it works.

      A greeting.

      1.    hbenja said

        Hi, I have Ubuntu 15.10 and it doesn't install the assigned repositories when apt-get update is given…, I still installed it, but it doesn't work.
        The error that appears when loading the rom is the following: «the selected game is missing one or more required rom or chd images», could you help me? Thanks a lot

  3.   Belial said

    I have installed it but nothing comes out…. I have corrected the error that the colleague has pointed out, but I do not see what the MAME executable is anywhere…. any ideas ??? because the browser does not come out ... how can I run it? where is it ?? has it been installed ??

    1.    Paul Aparicio said

      Hello, belial. In Ubuntu, it appears like any other application. It has ever happened to me that I install something and it does not appear if I do not restart the session or the computer. Try to see. Are you sure it has been installed?

      A greeting.

  4.   Jose Miguel Gil Perez said

    Now it comes with a default ui which is the oxtia. Although I recommend compiling it and adapting it to your processor, the difference is brutal. Well and a few tweaks in mame.ini do it better than in Windows.

  5.   BelialSpain said

    I have already managed to install it, but now my problem is that I cannot find the installation folder to put the roms. In theory it tells me that it is on the path USR / GAMES / MAME…. but when I open the Games folder inside Usr there is no Mame folder. I have tried to visualize the Games folder with the hidden files but it is not there, there is only the mame executable… .. any suggestions?

    Thank you

  6.   BelialSpain said

    Ok I have already found XDD uff I still do not clarify with the directories in Ubuntu ... sorry for the inconvenience.

    1.    Paul Aparicio said

      When you open it the first time, it should create the folder "mame" inside your personal folder (home). If it doesn't, you create it by hand. Inside must be the folder «roms» and there you have to put the games. It is worth putting several because some may not work. In fact, I had two to test and only one worked.

      A greeting.

  7.   William said

    Hello, your post does not work and everything is done and nothing happens, it asks me for the chd and I put the roms in it and nothing happens

  8.   noobsaibot73 said

    Hello everyone,

    It does not have to create the «ROMS» folder in your personal folder, by default, it creates it in usr> local> share> games> mame> roms, you can check it.
    The executable is installed in usr> games> mame
    You can create an entry in the launcher, even with a custom icon, it's very easy.

  9.   William Charles said

    Very short and good, I really like the explanation of this installation. Thanks a lot. and could you explain how to install retropie and also how to configure it.-
    Thank you in advance.

  10.   alexb3d said

    Install QMC2, it is the definitive frontend and it is native to Linux, development is a bit stopped but it works wonderfully.