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Upcoming Changes in MAME

19 Oct 2021

We’re well on our way through the current development cycle, and MAME 0.237 is going to have some significant changes, not just in terms of emulation, but in the user interface and debugger. Don’t worry, no functionality has been removed. In fact, we’ve added several features. It just might take a little while to adjust to the differences.

First of all, we’ve added support for localised system name files, as used by front-ends like Retrofire, MxUI and MAME Plus! Popular files include mame32j.lst (Japanese) and mame_cn.lst (Chinese). You’ll be able to put your preferred system name file in the DATs (or “history”) folder, and select it in MAME’s UI customisation settings menu. UI localisation support is more complete, and MAME 0.237 will include high-quality Chinese and Greek translations, thanks to YuiFAN and BraiNKilleRGR.

Mouse/trackball navigation has been improved (you can even click DIP switches to toggle them), and the system and software selection menus have been tweaked to include more information and make better use of space.

Lots of debugger commands have been enhanced to work better with newer memory system features. We’ve also updated and expanded the debugger documentation, both on our web site and for the built-in help command.

If you’re compiling MAME yourself, Python 2.7 will no longer be supported: compiling MAME now requires Python 3.2 or later (this won’t affect you if you just use MAME, Python isn’t required to run MAME). Most operating systems have included Python 3 for years, and our MSYS64/MinGW build tools for Windows already include Python 3.8 – as long as you have a python3 command, you should be good to go.

Read on for a more complete list of changes.

General UI changes

Settings in menus can be changed by clicking the left/right arrows.

DIP switches can be toggled by clicking the DIP switch display below the menu.

We’ve made the headings in the full-size info viewer clickable.

System and software selection menus

The info panel on the right now includes the name for systems, or the description, software list/item, and all info from the software list for software. We’ve Added support for finding software items by alternate title, and added developer, distributor, author and programmer filters for software.

There’s now an option to use to file manager to select media for systems that require media to be mounted.

We’ve moved the option to return to the previous menu or exit from the menu to the right of the toolbar (use the UI cancel input if you aren’t using a pointing device), and moved the plugin selection option off the system selection menu to the settings menu. We’ve removed the short name (or ROM set) for systems, the description for software, and the software list/item for software favourites from the info box below the menu (this info is all in the info panel on the right). This frees up three lines for systems/software items.

We’ve added a toolbar button to audit system ROMs/disk images (magnifying glass), and allowed selecting whether to audit media for all systems or only unavailable systems from the confirmation menu, eliminating the need for one input. It’s now possible to cancel an audit, and auditing can use multiple CPU cores.


Memory access syntax in expressions has been extended to support arbitrary address spaces and tags relative to the current CPU.

Memory, watchpoint and cheat commands have been extended to work with arbitrary address address spaces. This is an incompatible change for a number of commands that previously accepted a CPU parameter. The device and/or address space are now supplied as a suffix on the address.

Breakpoints and watchpoints can now be set for CPUs other than the CPU currently visible in the debugger by adding a device suffix to the address. The commands for clearing, disabling and enabling breakpoints, watchpoints and registerpoints can now take multiple arguments to operate on more than one breakpoint/watchpoint/registerpoint at a time. The commands for listing breakpoints, watchpoints and registerpoints now accept an optional argument to list breakpoints/watchpoints/registerpoints for a single CPU.

The history command now shows visited instructions in order from least recently visited to most recently visited.

The Windows, Qt and macOS debuggers have a new option to show registerpoints in breakpoints/watchpoints windows.