MAME stands for (M)ultiple (A)rcade (M)achine (E)mulator. MAME is a strictly non-profit, free source, emulation project directed by Nicola Salmoria. Its purpose is to document the inner workings of the emulated arcade machines and to preserve the historical aspects of the arcade games for future generations.
Running the MAME executable along with the ROMs from a game, will more or less faithfully reproduce that game on your Home Computer. With MAME you can actually play an ever increasing number of classic arcade video games on your Home Computer.
As of June 5, 2006 the latest version of MAME is 0.106. Version 0.98 supports 6166 ROM sets, 3342 unique games.
As MAME is a free source project, anybody can add different functions to the source-code and compile a specialised version of MAME. However, there are several official versions:
As of MAME v0.53, the main development version of MAME became a PC Windows executable (prior versions were DOS-based). Download it from the official site at http://www.mame.net/downmain.html
A MAME version for PCs running in DOS. You can also download the Dos version from the official site at http://www.mame.net/downmain.html
The former standard Windows version. In contrast to MAME, MAME32 sports a very nice GUI (graphical user interface) and supports screenshots from the games plus cabinet and flyer artwork. You can get it from the Official MAME32 site here: http://www.classicgaming.com/mame32qa/
A version for the Mac-user. Never far behind the DOS version: http://www.macmame.org/
A version for various Unix systems: http://x.mame.net/
For other Computers / Operating Systems there are also the following versions of MAME:
A front-end is a program designed to let you easily select the game and the different parameters for running (DOS-)MAME. A Front-end is not a necessity, but it sure makes using (DOS-)MAME a lot easier...
Some Front-ends are (in alphabetical order):
There are several work in progress (or WIP) pages related to MAME. These web pages are put up by MAME developers, and discuss what they may currently be working on. They are (in no particular order):