It’s been a busy month for MAME development, and we’ve got a whole lot of surprises to unwrap today as we continue to celebrate twenty years of MAME. First up, we’ve added some incredibly rare systems to MAME. Omega is an Arkanoid-inspired arcade game with a production run of about ten boards. Dodge Man is a rare Omori title from 1983. The vertical version of Flash Boy, a DECO Cassette title that borrows more than a little from a well known anime is another very rare game that was at risk of becoming nothing but a memory. Westinghouse Test Console #5 is possibly a one-of-a-kind wire-wrapped prototype machine for field-programming some kind of interlocking equipment (it has a rude easter egg – press X|TRAN in calculator mode to see it). Less rare, but still awesome, are arcade titles Galaxy Games StarPak 3, Sega Sonic Cosmo Fighter, and a U.S. release of Puzznic with the digitised photos intact.
This release adds support for a number of electronic toys/handheld games, including Atari’s Touch Me (a clone of Simon, which is itself a clone of an Atari arcade game), GAF Melody Madness, Lakeside Le Boom, and with possibly the most awesome title if not gameplay, LJN’s I Took a Lickin’ From a Chicken. Many of these games have colourful, clickable artwork. MAME is dedicated to preserving more than just video games, and these systems are great examples of some of the other experiences you can relive through emulation.
If you use MAME’s computer emulation and have been frustrated by modifiers not working properly in natural keyboard mode, you’ll be pleased to know that this release addresses that. Natural keyboard mode now works properly with many more systems, including Amiga, Sun and RM Nimbus. Speaking of Amiga, we’ve emulated a 3rd-party variant of the Amiga 1200 keyboard and added support for many different language variants, so chances are you’ll be able to use keyboard that matches your Workbench language. And speaking of keyboards, the Zorba keyboard now works properly, so you can try out one of the last luggable CP/M machines.
Other improvements include fixing the crash on encountering invalid cheats, allowing multi-part software list entries to load each part on the correct interface, emulation of the Poly-Play light organ, a brand new preliminary Interpro 2800 driver and Clipper CPU core, support for VIC-20 and C64 speech synthesiser cartridges, support for the Osborne-1 Nuevo Video 80-column modification, protection MCU emulation in Bad Dudes vs. Dragonninja and Bouncing Balls, audio improvements to a number of supported games, and optimisation of the netlist emulation.
Some of these improvements might seem inconsequential, or apply to systems you don’t use, but they often lie in common components used by many other systems. For example, the Amiga 1200 and Zorba keyboards use the same MCU family used in a lot of arcade games published by Taito. The same change that fixes the Zorba keyboard also fixes enemy spawning and timing in Xain'd Sleena. The Nuevo Video board uses a common Motorola CRT controller, so improvements made to support it stand to benefit a lot of other systems.
Of course there are plenty of other improvements not listed here, and you can read all about them in the whatsnew.txt file located here.