Return to the main Frequently Asked Questions page.
Can I save my game and resume it later?
Sometimes. There is a save state feature implemented in MAME; however, there are some caveats to its use:
- Many games in MAME have not been updated to support save states. (Games that haven't been updated will display a warning upon save.)
- MAME will allow you to save the state of any game, even if it is not officially supported.
- The use of certain features (such as "anonymous timers") may prevent a save state from succeeding (though this should never happen for games that have been updated to support save states).
- The save state format is currently very fragile, and save states from one version of MAME are not necessarily compatible with save states from another version of MAME.
With all of that out of the way, when it works, it generally works quite well. To save the state of a game, use the default save state sequence of Shift + F7. At this point, you will get a prompt asking you to select a slot. Type a letter from 'a' to 'z' and the game's state will be saved. If the game doesn't officially support save states, you will be warned at this time.
To restore a saved state, use the default load state key F7. Again, you will prompted to select a slot to load from, and the state will be loaded. If something has changed in the way the driver or any of its dependent code handles save states, then the restore may fail, so be warned.
If you'd like to automatically save the state when exiting MAME, and automatically restore the state the next time you run any game that supports save states, you can add the
-autosave option to the command line. For example:
mame robby -autosave
Will automatically save the state of the game when you exit, and will pick up where you left off the next time you run.
Can I play two-player games over the Internet?
Officially, no. Empirical evidence shows that network play tends to attract the wrong kind of people. Network play is also seen as a novelty feature with no development value, so none of the main developers are interested in implementing it.
Do not ask for such a feature to be implemented, and do not ask us for any support using 3rd party programs. Specifically, do not ask about a well-known but license violating build that starts with a 'K'. That such a build exists and openly flaunts their violation of the MAME license only serves to reinforce the assertion that this feature attracts the wrong crowd.
What is Cocktail Mode?
Quite a number of games from the "classic" era (early-to-mid 80's) came in both traditional upright cabinets and in a glass-topped cocktail table cabinet. At the table, two players typically sat across from each other, each with their own independent set of controls. Between turns, the display flipped 180 degrees so each player could play the game in its natural orientation while the other player observed the action flipped upside-down. (Note that not all cocktail cabinets had players sitting across from each other, but the vast majority were configured that way.)
MAME supports cocktail mode in many games. To see if it is available for a game:
- Press Tab to access the main menu.
- Select Dip Switches.
- Select Cabinet Type, and use the left/right arrows to select between Upright and Cocktail (and any other styles).
Before playing, it is a good idea to reset the game (you can reset by default with the F3 key) or exit/restart the game. Note that not all games with a cocktail mode DIP switch actually have the necessary cocktail mode support in MAME; normally, you should see a warning at startup when running such a game.
I'm a bad loser. How can I cheat in the games?
Go to Pugsy's MAME Cheat Page and obtain a file called CHEAT.DAT, which includes technical data that enables you to cheat in the games. Put this file in the same directory with MAME. Then edit your MAME.INI file (if you do not see it, run MAME with the parameter -createconfig or -cc). Change the line that says cheat 0 to read cheat 1. Alternately, you can run MAME with the -cheat command line parameter.
When you run the game, press Tab to display the configuration menu. Select Cheat to see the list of cheats for that particular game and to enable them.
How do I add cheats to the CHEAT.DAT file?
Please visit Pugsy's MAME Cheat Page for a tutorial on how to fully make use of the cheat engine and find more cheats.
Why doesn't my favorite game save my high scores?
Almost all of the games that actually saved the high scores in the arcades have the high score saving supported in MAME. However, quite a few games — especially the classics from the late 70's and early 80's — did not have any mechanism to save high scores. When the power plug was pulled on these games, the high scores were lost. This generally wasn't a big problem in the arcades, as they tended to leave the games up and running for long periods of time.
Unfortunately, when you play a game in MAME, it is as if you are turning the game's power on fresh, and thus all of your high scores will be missing unless the original game had support for saving the scores. Early versions of MAME had a built-in hack that would attempt to save high scores even in these older games, but the hacks were eventually deemed to be too problematic for accurate emulation, and this support was removed. With the introduction of Lua plugins, new experimental high score saving support was added in 0.172 that is backwards compatible with high score files from the old version.
One alternative to saving high scores is to make use of MAME's "autosave" functionality. If you run MAME with the -autosave parameter, then when you exit the game, MAME will save the state of the emulation, and will attempt to restore that state the next time you start up MAME. To the game, it's as if you never pulled the power cord. At this time, however, only a subset of MAME's games fully support save states, so this approach is not a perfect solution.
Note that some games (like many Atari games) keep only the top three high scores; lower scores are deleted. This is faithful to the original arcade games.