A lot of people get confused about MAME ROMs, they seem so complicated and fragile.

“I upgraded my version of MAME and now none of my games work”
“I got <gamename> ROM from <website> and it wont work”
“Why is this so much more complicated than NES or SNES ROMs?”

I hear these kind of things a lot on various forums around the web and it’s true, MAME ROMs are more complicated than console ROMs, but not hugely so. There are just a few concepts you need to understand and some simple terminology and it all makes sense.

Here is my guide to MAME ROMs and their associated terminology.