Sadly, the release of MAME 0.216 coincided with the passing of
contributor Morten Shearman Kirkegaard. Regular contributor and former
project coordinator David
“Haze” Haywood writes:
I just wanted to write a brief thank you to Morten Kirkegaard who
passed away earlier today, at 12:45 on Wednesday 27th November 2019
after a drawn-out battle with cancer.
While I never knew Morten personally outside of contact on IRC and
e-mails, he was a key part of the two-man Danish team, also featuring
Peter Wilhelmsen, who together overcame some of the toughest challenges
emulation faced in the time they worked together.
Even knowing his own chances of survival were low, his interest in
both technical challenges, and the retro scene was such that he made the
choice to pour his remaining time and money into doing something that
would outlast the days he had remaining, and make a long-term
That he did, with magnificent results. The DS5002FP-protected Gaelco
games for example could only be dumped thanks to the work he put in – a
path full of setbacks, boards suiciding, and even once a working setup
was found there was still a high risk each time. To put things into
perspective, prior to Morten and Peter taking on the challenge, it was
one that most people had already written off as simply impossible.
As for the games themselves, thanks to Morten’s work we’re fortunate
enough to have dumps of all the known ones. This includes the rare
Goldart, which I regret not being able to finalize the emulation of
while he was still around to see it. Still, Morten did understand the
challenges involved, and the part of the that task could only be done
with him present was complete, so he excitedly continued to work on
His final contributions included working with Peter on dumping the
Air Blaster plug-and-play TV game. Even in a severely weakened state,
he opted to take it home for a weekend and work well into the night on
finding a dumping solution that worked, debugging the FPGA-based dumper
and tangle of wires until he had a dump we were satisfied with. In what
can only be considered an act of complete selflessness he pushed past
the pain barrier, making light of his rapidly declining and severely
Between that, other contributions included fathoming the Gunpey
Arcade compression scheme, and likewise doing the same for Sega’s
Decathlete (and I hope we can finish off that work for the Print Club
games using the same type of chip), as well as work on more obscure
titles such as Hoei’s Future Flash, the Gamate handheld, and many other
important pieces of work.
As a person, he always came across as incredibly skilled and
self-motivated, but still humble and happy just to see things progress –
a rare mix that made him a joy to work with. If at any point I wasn’t
convinced by the results of something being presented to me, I only had
to say so and he would take another look.
In the end, he didn’t win his own battle, but he certainly achieved
his goal of keeping other things alive for as long as people still have
an interest in them.
I know Peter was a lot closer to Morten, considering him a good
friend, and so has been hit hard by this, regardless of how expected it
was. But even as a distant colleague in another country, I can honestly
say his presence will be missed both on a personal and technical
Thank you for everything.
Goodbye Morten, and thank you for all your contributions. We’ll all
miss you and mourn your loss.