Gaming in the TARDIS


The TARDIS by Almost Witty
Note: This is the BBC prop – not the MAME cabinet

Well, Doctor Who was a bit of a disappointment tonight so here’s something a bit different to fulfil my weekly fix.

Simon Jansen wanted to build a MAME console so that he could play classic arcade games (MAME is an arcade machine emulator), but didn’t want some boring old cabinet sitting there… instead, he decided to build a replica of the TARDIS to house the console.

There’s so much that’s cool about this project: the actual building of a (scaled-down) police box, wiring everything up so that the various lights and so on work, building a proper arcade-style control panel… But since not many of us will have that kind of dedication (or, perhaps, DIY skill), let’s go with something that’s cool and within the reach of most geeks: MAME lets you play those old arcade games you remember from your childhood! You know, when you would ask your mum for 10p just so you could have a go of something while your parents went for a coffee… Ah, those were the days :)

MAME’s purpose is to preserve older arcade games for posterity as the original hardware wears out and becomes more and more rare. That’s the problem with our digital lifestyle, isn’t it? When the hardware starts to go, or when the file formats become obsolete, information is lost. At least with a book or photo you can pick it up years after the original technology went out of use and it’ll still work. Well, MAME is an attempt to ensure that arcade games remain for future generations by emulating the original hardware.

MAME is available for Win32, or you can use MAMEOSX if you are on a Mac. I’m having trouble finding an up to date release for Linux: does anyone out there know of one?

To play MAME games, you will need the appropriate ROM (legally obtained, of course). And, finally, click here for all the info on the fantastic TARDIS MAME cabinet.

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