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I have been trying to set up a computer to use as an arcade cabinet computer, but I can't figure out how to set up MAME and ROMs on it. I have installed MAME with

sudo apt-get install mame mame-tools gnome-video-arcade sdlmame sdlmame-tools

and I have set up all of the folders and made sure that the .ini file points to the correct ROM path. I downloaded a ROM from freeRoms and put it in the Rom folder still in a zip file. I started up mame by


in the terminal, but when I do that it says "No games found. Please check the rompath specified in the mame.ini file." Could I please have help setting MAME up? I've done pretty much everything that I know how to do and it seems to me like I just have the wrong version of ROMS. I am open to re-installing everything if that would help. Thanks!

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run sudo /usr/games/mame – user224082 Jan 1 '14 at 6:27
Edit your question and add the ini file and ls /path/to/roms. – Braiam Jan 10 '14 at 3:13
@DuminduMahawela: running an arcade emulator as root? Eww! – MestreLion Feb 20 '14 at 8:41

4 Answers 4

Ubuntu 13.04 onwards:

The default path for user roms changed in MAME v0.147 to ~/mame/roms, while settings are still at ~/.mame, so before changing any ini files, please first try putting a known-to-work ROM zip there and test it.

When you run mame for the first time, ~/mame or its roms subfolder may not be automatically created. So do this:

mkdir -p ~/mame/roms

Personally, instead of cluttering my top-level home dir and my small HOME partition with MAME and large ROMS, I usually choose to symlink it to my data partition ROMs folder:

ln -s /path/to/your/roms ~/mame/roms

You can also edit ~/.mame/mame.ini (note the leading dot, it's a hidden dir!) and set the location of all MAME-related data paths, or edit the global config /etc/mame/mame.ini for all users, including changing the default top level data path ~/mame or the settings path ~/.mame to other paths.

Also it's worth noting that you don't need all those packages to install MAME. sdlmame* was a dummy transitional package and was removed in recent Ubuntu releases, mame-tools is not needed to run games, and gnome-video-arcade is just a GUI (that you're not using, considering you're starting MAME in the terminal). So mame is the only package you really need.

Note for previous Ubuntu releases:

The user paths for MAME-related dirs were changed in recent Ubuntu releases. For older releases such as 12.04, both settings and data (like ROMs) are inside the hidden ~/.mame

After a lot of digging and researching, I've found out when and where such changes were made: the .ini location and default user paths are not an upstream setting, so it's not the MAME developers that set it, but rather configured by each distro.

It was changed in Debian, and later incorporated in Ubuntu, starting in MAME v0.146-5 and finished in v0.147-1.

From the Debian Changelog:

mame (0.146-5) unstable; urgency=low

  [ Cesare Falco ]
  * Replace -march with -mtune=generic gcc flag for compatibility issues
    with older CPUs (LP: #1063993)

  [ Emmanuel Kasper ]
  * Add support for parallel building using DEB_BUILD_OPTIONS
  * Reorganize default paths:
       $HOME/.mame for ini file and output files
       $HOME/mame for data search paths

 -- Emmanuel Kasper   Tue, 13 Nov 2012 22:54:27 +0100

mame (0.146-4) unstable; urgency=low

The relevant commits for such changes were

  • 2012-10-26 - 9677867a63c6 - Switch local folder to ~/mame (from ~/.mame)

  • 2012-11-14 - 824bc168084b - Edited config files; use personal non-hidden resources dirs.

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I've downloaded rom from this link and keep .zip files in ~/.mame/rom path. But MAME still showing No games found. – Scotia 웃 Oct 4 '14 at 4:05
it is ~/.mame/roms, not ~/.mame/rom, Note the plural. – MestreLion Oct 23 '14 at 5:34
I have edited folder name. But still facing the same problem. – Scotia 웃 Oct 26 '14 at 12:46
it's mame, not .mame, without the dot. But you can change it in /etc/mame/mame.ini – Luis Sieira Oct 13 at 22:23
@LuisSieira It seems this was changed from Ubuntu 12.04 to 13.04, thanks for pointing it out! I've made a major edit to update all info, including my own research, check it out – MestreLion Oct 14 at 0:48

Mame is just the emulator - now you need to find ROMs for the games you would like to play and put them in ~/mame/roms (create the directory if it doesn't exist)

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Please refer to this guide to set up mame You can download ROMs from different website such as this Roms should be put in the roms directory specified in the file mame.ini

Note that if you need Metal Slug to work (as most of the users downloaded mame just for that game) you need to include the latest rom of neogeo and put it in the rom directory.

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Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. – fossfreedom Feb 20 '14 at 20:31

From :

  1. MAME Configuration

Start now MAME with this command so that a hidden folder (.mame) is created in your home directory which will contain all emulator settings:


You can now close the emulator. Run this command to create the configuration file for MAME:

cd ~/.mame && mame -cc

The "mame.ini" file will be created in the ~/.mame folder. Edit now this file with this command:

gedit ~/.mame/mame.ini

For Linux Mint:

pluma ~/.mame/mame.ini

In "rompath", you can set your own ROM directory path or leave default paths:

Next, create the following directories in the ~/.mame folder:


You can create them all with this command:

mkdir ~/.mame/nvram memcard roms inp comments sta snap diff

You can access the rom folder with this command to place your downloaded roms in:

nautilus ~/.mame/roms

As for player controls, you can easily configure them from the main interface of MAME (Configure General Inputs):

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I would not recommend this blog post: It says "14.04 and older" but yet it contains outdated information, incorrect commands, and, it suggests installing MAME from an unofficial PPA instead of using the trusted repositories. – MestreLion Oct 14 at 1:00

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