MAME-derivatives or ports
MAME is probably the most widely know multiplatform emulator
emulating almost 10 000 arcade games, starting from the oldest and ending with the latest titles. It runs flawlessly even on slower Windows devices (for example, even, CPU-wise, underpowered UMPC's) and is REALLY recommended for a quick test to see what kinds of games you can (hopefully) also play on your mobile device.
To do this (test and/or play arcade games on your desktop Windows computer), you will need to download and utilize the desktop MAME. I'll explain this in the following section. Note that this has nothing to do with WM - just a quick explanation of what you should do in order to be able to play these games on your desktop computer (including UMPC's, notebooks and the like).
The desktop MAME
Download mame.rar from here
- there, you’ll need the topmost file (now, it’s mame0115b.exe
). UnRAR it to anywhere. Move your ROM ZIP files to the roms
subdirectory of the emulator. For NeoGeo games to play, you’ll also need THIS
file. Just put it in the home directory of MAME.
To start a given game, directly execute MAME.exe
(in the home directory), passing it the name of the ZIP file (also the official MAME name of the game) like this:
This will start the game (if everything is OK). Upon the first running of each ROM set, you’ll need to at least once press Left and, then, Right on the cursor block of your PC. Then, after the game has loaded, you’ll need to press 5 (with two players, 6) to insert (virtual) coins and, then, press 1 (with two players, 2) to start the game. In one-player mode, the games are controlled by Ctrl / Alt + D-pad; in two-player mode, the other player is controlled by D: left; F: down; G: right; R: up.
Now, back to the question of Windows Mobile: what arcade emulators are there on the platform? Now follows PocketCultMAME, the best generic MAME port.
(main game selector of version 0.4a)
(main game selector of a 0.5 preview)
Currently, this title is by far the best generic MAME port. This means it's able to run both 25-year-old classics (which Finalburn Alpha is fully incapable of) and (comparatively) new titles.
However, it should NOT be used for NeoGeo / CPS emulation - in that, Finalburn Alpha is WAY better. Should you be unsure about what runs under Finalburn Alpha and what needs the more generic, but slower PocketCultMAME, you may want to deploy the ZIPped ROM files under both emulators. If Finalburn runs the game flawlessly, then, just stick to it and don't even test the game under PocketCultMAME - believe me, it'll be FAR slower with should enabled (if it runs at all).
For emulating significantly older stuff (games from the entire eighties - not just the 25-year-old titles), however, it's the emulator you must check out.
There are two versions of the emulator: 0.4a (currently the fastest version with, compared to the newer one, more limited compatibility) and 0.5WIP, a MUCH slower, experimental tech demo with much broader compatibility.
This means you should download both versions. Always try to run a title under 0.4a first and only give a try to 0.5WIP if it doesn't run in the older emulator.
Note that version 0.4a has two additional EXE files as a separate download. One of them, noCYCLONE
, is related to the Motorola 68000 emulation and using it instead of the default one will result in a certainly visible speed penalty. It, however, offers somewhat improved compatibility with some titles otherwise incompatible with PocketCultMAME 0.4a. That is, if an otherwise as compatible listed game doesn't run in the standard version, just exit it and run these two files instead to see whether, then, it runs or not. Affected games are for example 'Black Tiger', 'Rampage' and 'Pang'; see for example THIS
for more info.
Conveniently, unzip the two additional EXE files in the same directory where the traditional executable of 0.4a, PCMAME.exe, resides. As these files are named differently, they won't override the default file, PCMAME.exe. Putting it in the same directory results in not having to copy the same ROM files in more than one directory on your memory cards.
Still speaking of add-on downloads, 0.5WIP also has an additional download fixing some NeoGeo issues. As PocketCultMAME should NEVER be used to run NeoGeo games (it's just too slow for this), you don't necessarily want to download / install it.
Using these emulators are pretty straightforward and if you know how Finalburn Alpha is used you also know how PocketCultMAME is: after starting the application (PCMAME.exe
with version 0.4a and PocketCultMAME.exe
with 0.5WIP), you're presented a list of the compatible, playable ROM's in the roms subdirectory. You select one and start the game. During the game, you insert virtual coins to the game, (keep) press(ing) the Start button and, then, play.
Also, you can do some settings. For the two current versions, I've compared these in the following chart. Make sure you follow the links to see the screenshots of the individual settings. This will really help you in discovering the emulator.
The chart is available HERE
(CLICK THE LINK!).
Note that you WILL want to fine-tune these parameters; most importantly, you WILL want to disable sound, should you encounter speed problems. Also, if you have a Dell Axim x50v / x51v, you MUST enable 2700G support for greatly increased speed.
To demonstrate why it's worth fine-tuning these parameters, I've made some very serious benchmarks to find out what the speed culprit is (it turned out to be the sound, unlike with, say, Finalburn) and how the different settings have an affect on speed.
I've run the tests on three different devices: the Dell Axim x50v / x51v (VGA WM5 device with the 2700G 3D chip equipped with a 624 MHz Xscale CPU), the HP iPAQ h2210 (an older, QVGA WM2003 model with an older, less efficient, 400 MHz Xscale CPU) and a Fujitsu-Siemens Pocket Loox 720 (520 MHz VGA WM2003SE).
Note that the chart only contains data on the first two models; with FPS display enabled, nothing runs on the Pocket Loox 720 (only a black screen and a part of the "FPS" text is displayed in the bottom left corner). (Note that this problem may be pretty common with all F-S models; see THIS
.) This means I don't have quantitive results on the Loox. However, it, subjectively, delivered pretty playable results. With the Loox, I could only display the FPS in MAMECE3 (in 1941, 38 fps without sound; 20 with it). Note that, except for the last column, I've only en/disabled one feature / changed one parameter a time to see how it affects speed.
The chart is available HERE
(CLICK THE LINK!).
As can clearly be seen, you WILL want to disable sound with more action-packed games. With much older, less CPU-intensive games like Scramble, you can safely keep it on. If this doesn't help or you still need additional speed, you may also switch to the "Steplines" mode to only display half of the scan lines. And, of course, if you do own a 2700G-enabled Dell Axim, make sure you enable the 2700G support. While it, because of the pixel doubling, results in for example hard-to-read text, its speed gain is enormous.
Note that the "doc" subdirectory of both versions contains the lists of compatible games and a quick intro to the emulator.
Fixing your ROM images with RomCenter
The author of PocketCultMAME frequently asks users to fix the ROM’s they plan to use; that is, to convert to the (ancient) MAME format used by the emulator. Unfortunately, as using the recommended application RomCenter isn’t really explained anywhere (except for some not very detailed forum posts still missing some very important steps like THIS
) this may prove to be an impossible task for many. This is why I’ve written a mini-tutorial to fixing ROM images.
Download RomCenter from HERE
(don’t get the 3.0 Alpha; the latest stable release, 2.71, accessible on the Download page
, will do just fine), install and execute. Go to File / Open datafile manager
and click Add…
. In the file selector dialog, look for pcmame.dat
(or, as far as version 5 is concerned, pcmame05.dat
) in the home directory of the (two) Windows Mobile PocketCultMAME’s. Note that you can safely import both if you plan to convert the format of your ROM’s into both 0.4a and 0.5WIP. Click Close
after finishing adding the file(s).
Now, open the drop-down list under the menu bar of the menu bar of RomCenter. Select the file you’ve just added (pcmame.dat
for 0.4a or pcmame05.dat
for 0.5) as can be seen in here