MAME 0.261 will be the final MAME release of 2023, and it’s a real ripper! We’re ending the year with a bang! Over a hundred pull requests were merged this month, including several from first-time contributors as well as many familiar names. Following up on the work last month, two more Casio Phase Distortion synthesisers have been added: the high-end CZ-1 keyboard and the unreleased MZ-1 module. The Yamaha MU50 XG tone generator module is also working a lot better in this release.
Two home consoles with drawing features are now working: LJN’s VideoArt from 1987 and Sega’s Advanced Pico BEENA from 2005. Although they were both positioned as intellectually stimulating consoles for children and both had drawing features, they couldn’t be more different. The VideoArt was universally derided for its poor controls and lack of entertainment value, drawing negative comparisons to the popular Etch-a-Sketch toy. On the other hand, the BEENA was a high-quality device using media combining a ROM cartridge with a picture book, and featured dual pen digitisers. Its ARM CPU is fairly demanding to emulate in MAME, so you’ll need a fast PC to run it at full speed. We’re aware that the current scans of the picture books are not perfect, but it’s still quite usable apart from some peripherals that aren’t emulated yet.
On a completely different note, some of the Taito gambling and medal games have started to come to life. The purpose of the games is to separate you from your money, and there isn’t much gameplay value, but they’re still interesting to see. Some of them feature characters from popular Taito franchises. Speaking of gambling games, a couple of Chinese-language mahjong gambling games from BMC have been dumped.
Systems with AVR8 CPUs now run up to 50% faster, including the Uzebox console, Linus Åkesson demos, and the homebrew Sega Master System paddle controller. A means of dumping the microcontrollers Jaleco used for protection in some Mega System 1 games has been discovered recently, allowing the protection simulation code to be retired for 64th St. - A Detective Story and Big Striker. Our understanding of the gate array protection used for some other Jaleco games has also improved. The internal Super A'Can now has its main CPU’s internal ROM hooked up properly, improving the accuracy of its boot process.
Of course, there’s far more in this release than we have time to talk about here, including newly dumped Korean versions of arcade games, bootlegs from Spain, support for PDS cards on the Mac Quadra/LC 630 family, more Heathkit Terminal Logic Board variants, and lots of new software list items. You can read all about it in the whatsnew.txt file, or get the source code and 64-bit Windows binary packages from the download page.