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Piracy Emulation (Games) Games Your Rights Online

Ask Slashdot: Where Can I Buy Legal Game ROMs? 361

PktLoss writes "I'm interested in building an arcade machine, following the footsteps of Cmdr Taco among many others. Not being all that interested in piracy, I need to find somewhere to buy games. StarROMs used to be the kind of thing I was looking for, though with an incredibly short catalog. The MAME people have a few available for free (non-commercial), but this isn't going to sate my needs. There's an entire cottage industry supporting this goal. People are ready to sell me plans, kits, buttons, joy sticks, glass marquees, and entire machines. That's fantastic, but where can I get the games? I refuse to believe that this entire industry is built on piracy."
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Ask Slashdot: Where Can I Buy Legal Game ROMs?

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  • by YesIAmAScript ( 886271 ) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @12:33PM (#37368868)


    • by somersault ( 912633 ) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @01:01PM (#37369060) Homepage Journal

      Yeah. Asking a question and ending with "I refuse to believe the truth!" isn't the best way to go.

      If these are ancient games, and there is no other way to get them, then they're "abandonware". Just grow a pair and download them. It might be illegal, but I don't see how it's immoral. If the company that made the game is even still around, you could try contacting them for a license as AC suggested.

      • Many games will never be released for purchase because all of the various copyrights/licenses cannot be tracked down, or the companies are simply defunct. The only legal way to get them is to wait until they become public domain.
        • by somersault ( 912633 ) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @02:51PM (#37369824) Homepage Journal

          By which time you will be dead..

        • Which is a waste of time, copyright terms are unrealistically long so anyone who remembers these games will be long dead by the time they fall into the public domain.

          Just goes to show that copyright terms are far too long. Anything that falls into the public domain will be long forgotten. Media should fall into the public domain once the original authors stop selling it.

          • by bored ( 40072 )

            Just goes to show that copyright terms are far too long. Anything that falls into the public domain will be long forgotten. Media should fall into the public domain once the original authors stop selling it.

            And that, I think is the point. The media companies are having enough problems selling you their latest trash. The last thing they want is to have to compete with free public domain content. There are enough books on Gutenberg project at this point that I could _NEVER_ expect to read them all in my lifet

        • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

          There should be rules stating that if someone has made an reasonable attempt to get hold of copyright owner (documentation needed of course) and failed then the software shall enter Public Domain.

          • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @07:11PM (#37371694) Homepage Journal

            No, there should be a registration requirement, without which you cannot claim damages, and you should be required to update that registration in a timely manner. You know, like the way things used to work before we went all Berne-Convention-y in the 1970s.

            The burden should be upon the copyright owner to facilitate contact by potential licensees, not on the potential licensee. After all, it is the copyright owner who stands to gain, not the licensee (who could almost invariably just ignore the copyright, and the licensor would never know).

            • This.

              There is a valid argument for saying 'People should not have to pay to register every single thing.'. But the fact is, at this point in time, there's absolutely no reason why anyone should have to pay just in case.

              The government could simply have a website and hand out unique IDs whenever anyone wanted. You produce something you suspect might be worth copyrighting, you get a unique ID for that thing for free and stick it in the copyright notice.

              Then you have three years to actually fill out a copyright registration for that ID and pay $25 or whatever, or it's considered abandoned and thus public domain.

              That seems to get rid of any of the so-called reasons we started issuing copyrights automatically. It gives people plenty of time to see if the registration is worthwhile, it helps people who might not have thought that specific thing was worthwhile, yet doesn't result in every single damn thing ever written being copyrighted.

              Likewise, if someone attempts to contact the person listed, and they can not be reached, they should be able to send a notice to the copyright office, which will then mail an official letter giving them a year to fix their registration, or it's public domain. Any idiot can type in the unique ID and see the copyright status, and where to send the info to. (We could even charge people for questioning the status. You try to contact a copyright holder, you can't, you pay $1 to have the copyright office send an official postage-paid letter that they are require to respond to.)

              And we need to go through the older stuff and slowly start requiring that done to them, also. The older stuff actually _does_ have registration, as you pointed out....but we need to put the contact information online, so we can say 'Hey, those people don't exist', and get the copyright office to remove the copyright after a year or so.

              As for the newer stuff, that's harder to figure out, but I think giving people ten years or so to locate it and register it would be reasonable.

        • by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @05:26PM (#37370936)

          Always remember that law is not more or less than an arrangement of convenience for maintaining social order.

          We choose which laws we obey based on the cost/benefit perception we have of the results.

          Don't act as if law is sacred and that all law should be obeyed because it's "law".

          • One step further, since you own the physical cart ( and license to use it ) i don't see a problem with downloading it. It's only 'piracy' if you don't own a license.

            Right. I've heard Penn Jillette say several times he doesn't mind if you download BullShit! from Bittorrent if you subscribe to Showtime - you've already paid for it.

            He probably doesn't own the copyright himself, but he's got the moral equation worked out properly.

          • Don't act as if law is sacred and that all law should be obeyed because it's "law".

            Anyone acting this way is just ignorant of political philosophy beyond a fifth grade level. Heck, Augustine wrote "an unjust law is no law at all" in the 4th Century. Note to Catholics: that's the teaching of a Saint.

    • Strictly speaking, some tiny percentage of the industry(the chaps who dumped the ROMs, if nobody else) is in possession of a backup copy of a cartridge that they own, which is arguably legal in some jurisdictions; but other than that it is pretty much all piracy all the time...
    • The entire system is built on piracy. Might makes right

    • The various media industries, when they're being selfish, say "Piracy" to mean "You made a copy when we asked you not to." Generally, the courts force this to only be a crime if you then share it with others. The existence of ROMs at all, even ones you dump yourself, are nevertheless piracy in that definition.

      Now look at the logistics of it. At this point, they're not manufacturing these products anymore. Unless they remade games for a new device, there is no product you can buy from them anymore--you c

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        If you want to support game developers or the industry, buy new products, whether it's games or licensed T-shirts. There's precious little to be found in emulation that could possibly help their bottom line.

        I presume you've never owned a Nintendo Wii then?

        In response to the originally asked question, the only way to have a legal ROM without buying it directly from the publisher (which isn't going to happen) is to make your own ROM. Get something like this: [] and make your own. And don't distribute them.

        • That makes you legal at the price of some money and a good deal of inconvenience, none of which helps the original creators or anyone making games now.

          Unlike recent games, where the used market at least supports the higher new-game price, buying a cart of Super Mario Bros. and dumping it is just a silly ritual some people do to make their activities technically legal (the best kind of legal, I admit) and let them lord their imagined moral superiority over other people online.

          The MAME folks seem to be especi

    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      Or to put it another way, ideally enforced copyright would kill this entire industry.

    • by greg1104 ( 461138 ) <> on Sunday September 11, 2011 @03:29PM (#37370076) Homepage

      The reason piracy is the rule here is that it's almost impossible for a single home user to acquire the rights to use these ROMs. There are a few game vendors who have packaged up their ROM files to sell in that form. But those aren't normally aimed at an individual to buy; they're only packaged as a set of raw ROM files ffor resale as part of something else.

      If you buy a fully legitimate arcade console with licensed games, what they will typically do is negotiate licenses to several sets of these packaged games from multiple manufacturers. For example, X-Arcade Machine [] includes 205 licensed games [], for the most part collections such as Namco Muesum and Midway Arcade Treasure's Titles where the manufacturer has gone to the trouble of packaging the game ROMs for distribution--and therefore licensing. (Note that the quality of the joystick and buttons used in the X-Arcade hardware is considered low compared to what most DIY consoles aim for; don't consider the above a recommendation for buying one of them, they're just a good example here)

      Packages such as Namco Muesum are available to buy on a wide variety of platforms []. When you buy those, you're not directly given the ROMs though; you just get the right to play them as they are packaged for that platform. What I do to try and keep myself morally clean here is purchase any such collection that's available for the games I play on MAME.

      I buy these collections, I bought all of the games I liked from StarROMs when they were available. But the ROMs I play on MAME, those are coming from the bootleg distributions; like a lot of things, the pirates provide the easiest to use packaging of the software. Until companies like Namco and Atari start selling ROM licenses directly, I don't know that it's possible to be legally clean here, unless you buy one of the packaged cabinets from a manufacturer who is big enough to have negotiated a resale license.

  • From who? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TerminaMorte ( 729622 ) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @12:35PM (#37368880) Homepage
    Who would you be buying it from? In most cases you'd just be buying a shady company for a pirated ROM regardless. Most of the companies that made these games no longer exist. Any IP is going to be owned by a large corp like Nintendo, who will want you to buy their console and not DIY You are saying you do not want to pirate, while at the same time you want to use this content in an un-authorized/un-approved way. Piracy is your only real option if you want to play "popular" game ROMs.
    • by PktLoss ( 647983 )

      Well, once upon a time StarRoms was that company, and even (appeared) to have licensed the games they were selling. I naively thought they might have been replaced by something I was missing.

    • Re:From who? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 11, 2011 @01:04PM (#37369082)

      The most entertaining part of this whole discussion is we're talking about games made in the 80's and 90's.

      Whatever happened to the Public Domain? Or have we all forgotten, since there's basically nobody alive who's really experienced works in the public domain, that THE ENTIRE POINT OF COPYRIGHT IS TO ENRICH the public domain?

      There are those who argue the age-old publishers cry "we need to protect scientific and cultural advancement" I say, without the public domain, there's no incentive not to reproduce the same things that were in the past, or not to sit on your hides renting technology. Such hypocrisy; to build off the technology of the past in order to monopolize the present. Publishers will never stop arguing "longer longer" and the people, well, they're the only reasonable one in the discussion.

      Sony doesn't want you buying FF7 for the same reason Best Buy doesn't want a Sony TV on their shelves that is more than a year old. They don't want to dissuade your dollars from buying the new shiney. Although I do have to ask what kind of market it would be, especially for gaming, if the current cookie cutters had to compete with the old cookie cutters.

        I say, if there's works created in my lifetime will never enter into the public domain, then there is no point in participating in copyright.

      • Re:From who? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @01:17PM (#37369166)

        Thanks to Disney and the corrupt shills that have taken over the government, games made in the 1980s won't "expire copyright" and return to the public domain until sometime after 2100. If there isn't yet ANOTHER "Mickey Mouse Protection Act" copyright extension passed in the meantime.

        Part of the problem is that copyright doesn't take into account the life of the medium any more. Imagine what happens when most books are only available on e-readers and most e-readers no longer read the format the book was put out in (not so hard to imagine: think of some of the books that only exist on B&N Nook format and imagine that B&N goes under and nobody bothers to code a translator because "well most of it is on Kindle anyways", followed by B&N's servers shutting down and nobody having a remaining copy of the book anywhere).

        The longer copyright terms are, the more information we LOSE to bad circumstances and bitrot. For one of the most famous cases, consider the missing episodes of Dr. Who [] - the BBC now has a comparatively huge bounty out for anyone who has them, even if it's a really crappy telecine.

        • Re:From who? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Smallpond ( 221300 ) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @01:33PM (#37369258) Homepage Journal

          This raises an interesting legal question. If I have a copy of a missing TV show episode, what claim would the copyright owner have if they don't have a copy? If I distribute it I'm violating the copyright. But I'm not taking anything from the owner because they can't do the same. The whole point of copyright is to preserve the right to distribute for the owners. In particular, it's NOT to prevent old episodes from being watched so that people will watch new episodes. Copyright is only for protecting that work, not other works using the same trademarks or characters.

          • by swb ( 14022 )

            The right of ownership is to the intellectual property, the ephemeral content that is on every piece of media containing a copy, not any specific copy they might or might not own or have in their possession. It's the ideas, artistic works, etc.

            Aren't there plenty of "lost" negatives, master recordings, to movies, TV shows, records, etc? It's not like the people who own the copyright lose their copyright claims simply because they can't account for a copy of the media.

          • O.K. First of all, give me a copy of that Dr. Who episode your obviously taking about. Second, if you sell it you are breaking the law. So you must give it to me for free.

            btw. can you point out which episode it is?

        • A great example. The BBC chose to copy over old 1/2 inch tapes, and possibly misfiled some episodes or just assumed that once the show was aired, that would be the end of it. Other examples from that era are common - for just two, there's the first Quatermass TV series (now public domain, but with only 2 parts of 6 still in existence, and Tales from Tomorrow, with about 43 of the original 85 episodes still in existence. (Here's a link for a legal download).):


          • I hate to reply to my own post, but there's a right parenthesis in that first paragraph that should have been right after '2 parts of 6 still in existence', not way at the end of the paragraph.

      • Whatever happened to the Public Domain?

        Mickey Mouse will never enter the Public Domain while Disney's lobbyists draw breath. Whatever violence needs to be done to the copyright laws to ensure this will happen.

    • While there may be some gray area debate about 'fair use', but if you want to stick with the moral high ground, i don't see a problem with buying the game on a cart at your local store ( be it new or used ) then copying the data off to use in your emulator. ( im also assuming here you have an old console in the closet, just to be 100% legit )

      One step further, since you own the physical cart ( and license to use it ) i don't see a problem with downloading it. It's only 'piracy' if you don't own a license.

      • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

        Yeah, but I think he's talking about arcade ROMs, not home console games. If he just wanted to play an old video game there are still plenty of used consoles available on eBay, etc.

        Original arcade ROMs, on the other hand, can be *really* hard to find, and legally licensed ROM images aren't much easier (which was what his post meant).

        • by nurb432 ( 527695 )

          I still see arcade machines out there for sale, much cheaper if they are broke ( even better for this use-case ).

          Sure, extracting that code is really complex, but if you have the box in the basement ( even if its dead since i don't think your license gets revoked when a machine breaks ), i don't see a problem with downloading it.

      • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gmail.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Sunday September 11, 2011 @02:54PM (#37369842) Homepage Journal

        i don't see a problem with buying the game on a cart at your local store ( be it new or used ) then copying the data off to use in your emulator.

        This would appear to be legal under 17 USC 117(a)(1). But good luck finding the copier tools to extract the data from the cartridges. A Nintendo DS or DS Lite with a flash card can dump Game Boy Advance cartridges, but that's about it. For Sega Genesis and Super NES, there was the Retrode, but that's sold out. For NES, there's the Kazzo, but that's hand-assembled in extremely low volumes and apparently not intended for sale to the casual gamer.

    • at the same time you want to use this content in an un-authorized/un-approved way.

      Actually, it seems that the poster wants it to be approved and just wants the appropriate price tag attached. People are going to consume the media in this way, it's up to the companies to step up and accept money for it, otherwise they'll be losing out. That's the reality of it.

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      Any IP is going to be owned by a large corp like Nintendo, who will want you to buy their console and not DIY

      Let me know when Mother or its SNES sequel Earthbound is made available on North American Virtual Console.

    • by jadin ( 65295 )

      My wife just found the SEGA Genesis Classics Collection [] on Steam of all places.

      With smart phone gaming becoming popular, there might be a new market on previously 'abandoned' games.

      Didn't Atari recently enforce it's copyright on some 2600 games?

  • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdot.hackish@org> on Sunday September 11, 2011 @12:36PM (#37368884)

    The only real non-pirate way to get a significant number of ROMs is to buy the physical games and the equipment to image a ROM from them.

    A few university libraries have started digitally preserving culturally significant games, and that's what they end up doing, because they can't really pirate the ROMs, yet can't buy legitimate digital copies either.

    • You mean copy the ROMs from the hardware without the permission of the copyright holder? No, that's still piracy.
      • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdot.hackish@org> on Sunday September 11, 2011 @12:45PM (#37368940)

        If you legitimately own a copy on some medium, medium-shifting to another one is legal, just like you can rip your own music CDs to mp3s.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by davester666 ( 731373 )

          It depends entirely upon the patch of ground you happen to be standing on and the relative quality of your lawyers as to whether it is or is not "legal".

          • Bravo, that's the final word for EVERY legal advice question!

            ...Well, almost. If you're playing at the big boy's table you can get law created or changed in your favor, so tally up your lobbyists along with your lawyers.

            Face it -- starting off with the "I'm a good little boy and I don't want to break any laws" attitude is pretty pathetic. The entire 20th-21st century copyright ecosystem is in place because of bold people who dared to dream that they could be richer if they got the laws written in thei
        • by mysidia ( 191772 ) *

          If you legitimately own a copy on some medium, medium-shifting to another one is legal, just like you can rip your own music CDs to mp3s.

          Yes... but is it legal to buy the CD and then download the MP3 version of the same thing from someone else who doesn't have a right to upload that MP3 to you?

          Seems like buying a legitimate copy of the media and then obtaining the ROM from someone not authorized to give it to you would be similar. Unless you are going to, er, try and dump the rom yourself from your ow

          • Usual I'm not a lawyer etc but yes downloading something you already have the rights to is legal. You may need to show you owned a copy before the time you downloaded it to a judge though. The uploading you often do as part of downloading is not though (in the US).

        • Apparently Slashdot has decided Informative is Funny?

          I give up moderating.

        • by crankyspice ( 63953 ) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @04:22PM (#37370444)

          If you legitimately own a copy on some medium, medium-shifting to another one is legal, just like you can rip your own music CDs to mp3s.

          Incorrect, at least under U.S. copyright law. RIAA v. Diamond, 98-56727 (9th Cir., June 15, 1999) ( []), the seminal case on the issue, found a fair use in "space shifting" music to MP3 players, but did so under the auspices of the Audio Home Recording Act ( []), which carves out specific exemptions applicable to sound recordings. No such provision(s) exist for video game ROMs, in any jurisdiction I'm aware of.

    • You don't have to buy the entire game, You can generally find the boards that were removed from the cabinets when the cabinets were upgraded to some other game. Prices range from $20 to several hundred dollars depending on the popularity of the game.

      The legal status of copying those roms on to modern hardware is in doubt. The moral status is more clear: of course you can put the board in the closet and do the minimum it takes to run the software on modern hardware.

  • Piracy is inevitable with MAME, unless you dump your own ROMs. No one offers legit ROMs for sale, and I'm taking it you're not the type who plays modern arcade games like Street Fighter or Blaz Blue.

    Just buy a cab and boards instead.

  • by Oxford_Comma_Lover ( 1679530 ) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @12:38PM (#37368896)

    Keep in mind that every unofficial copy of a protected work isn't necessarily copyright violation. Look up fair use, and consult a lawyer for its application to a given field. You can also ask that the library of Congress put a DMCA exemption on a particular use, IIRC, although that would be more for the field than for your personal use. []

  • Try Ebay. however, most of what you will find are pirated games anyway. (Wouldn't it be nice if electronic works went into public domain after 10 or 15 years, or after the company creating the work folded up?)
    • It would be nice, and rational. Too bad copyright law is anti-consumer and pretty much only benefits corporations.
      • Theoretically it's supposed to be balanced by fair use and limited period of protection. In practice it's gotten really out of hand over the last hundred years or so and mostly serves to stifle creation of new cultural items.

        • Yes, it is unfortunate. It actually causes legal issues for people that want to preserve history. An appropriate example for this article; say I wanted to preserve a collection of vintage games. I expose myself to legal risk by doing so, but to my knowledge there is not a legal repository of these games in existence where a person can access them to learn. Music is similar. Undoubtedly there have been some games, or some music that are no longer in existence because the original media is worn with age.
        • It's also supposed to be balanced by the idea/expression divide, which can be thought of as implying a "right to clone". Copyright doesn't prevent you from making your own game in the same genre. See, for example, Lotus v. Borland (uncopyrightability of computer program menus) and Capcom v. Data East (uncopyrightability of character archetypes, even in a video game with mostly the same rules).
  • Virtual Console... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Windwraith ( 932426 ) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @12:45PM (#37368948)

    That's the whole idea behind them, selling you ROMs and a license to use them.

  • Same way all those things are available, you can also get the kits to extract the data out of an old NES cart.

    The legal way is to get the original game, the kit, and rip it yourself.

    Other than that: piracy.

  • There are many titles that were on obsolete systems people would love to play again. Unfortunately the publishers behind those titles don't care about the people who still want to play them. Either you have to ignore the legal ramifications (you could, of course, try to challenge them in court if they actually came after you) or not do it at all. The choices aren't great, but those are about it for you.
  • Bonk/BCKid, Katakis, and R-Type: []

    Factor 5s first game as a free download for everybody who loved the Amiga or just plain historical interest – also known in other parts of Europe as Denaris. 50 frames per second of high-adrenaline shooting action very reminiscent of R-Type.
    Note: This only works 100% with the UAE emulator .
    Katakis, R-Type and BC KID are not provided for the public domain. You are entitled to download and use these games only for non-commercial purposes. All copyrights are retained by their owners. Any distribution of this data through any medium unless specifically permitted by the copyright owners is not allowed.

    • by PktLoss ( 647983 )

      thanks for the heads up!

      • This site doesn't appear to be any more legal than the other ones you expressed concern about. Look on their license page.. They don't have the legal standing to offer you these games for non-commercial use, they're just operating under a legal theory that pirating abandoned games for non-commercial use is legal (or at least it's not going to get you or they into trouble). Very similar to the underdogs website theory (

  • 1.) Buy the original arcade board 2.) Dump ROMs Of course, you could use your cabinet to play the original games instead of emulating them.
  • by AngryDeuce ( 2205124 ) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @12:58PM (#37369044)

    The only way you're going to get any games is piracy. Even if the original IP holder is still around (which many of them aren't), there isn't enough interest for them to offer a commercial product. They're not gonna be satisfied servicing the desires of a figurative handful of DIY'ers making MAME cabinets, the only way to see these in commercial release is through emulation on a console so they can ensure they get their $10 or whatever out of it. Frankly, the MAME emulation scene just isn't popular enough to ever really see even that come to pass, except for those select few titles like Centipede or Breakout that have stayed relevant in the popular consciousness.

    You have to move up to the 8-bit home consoles like the NES and Sega Master System, and beyond, if you're looking for actual legal re-releases, and you will NEVER see that happen in ROM form. If you want a legal way to play old arcade games, go buy some old arcade games. Otherwise, I wouldn't feel too bad about piracy when it comes to this stuff. They have no legal alternative.

  • I refuse to believe that this entire industry is built on piracy.

    Please remember to check your idealism at the door.

  • At the computer game museum in Berlin there is a great piece of computer art where these roms are randomly tossed together and the resulting mash up is funny and interesting gameplay.
  • by blahplusplus ( 757119 ) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @01:40PM (#37369302)

    ... that copyright laws are fucked up and piracy is the necessary response. The fact that he's trying to submit and "be moral" to a bankrupt system of laws is the first problem. There is no ethical quandary here. Software licensing for unlimited time due to copyright has has always been a scam it prevents old software from being modified/studied/updated as well as preserving older applications. Companies would like to just sit on/throw away or control works for eternity.

    The fact is you already live in a tyranny when you need "permission" to do things with things you already own or that should have legitimately become public domain after all these years. I'm not a believer in eternal rights for corporations and 'business people' that's our fundamental problem of this age - everyones sucking corporate capitalist dick and needs to get their heads read.

    Did we not learn anything from DRM and stallman's prescient "Right to read"? []

    The next time you are thinking of "doing the right thing" by submitting to laws made by lobbyists and corporations and their supporters just remember this video about the secret (at the time) trillion dollar give-aways by the fed reserve to the banks and other corporations who had huge investments: []

    These people don't give a shit about anyone but themselves they are greedy bastards.

  • by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @01:49PM (#37369366) Homepage Journal

    AFAIK the easiest way to be legal about the whole thing would be to get a Nintendo Wii, wire your own arcade controls from a GameCube controller and get games from their Virtual Console service. The selection is extremely small if you compare to just finding ROM files from some place, but at least there's 29 Neo-Geo games and 19 arcade games [] in the list.

    Oddly enough, there's the SEGA Master System and the Turbografx-16 versions of R-Type, but not the original arcade version.

  • by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @01:52PM (#37369394) Journal
    If you have an ethical dillemma contact the rom copyright holders. If they cant be reached dont add the game or do, according to your conscience.

    The TL:DR here is: The law is murky, there is no true authority to buy the ROMS, any money you pay will almost certainly not reach anyone truly relevant ot the game or anyone that is empowered to license the game.
  • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @03:05PM (#37369904) Journal

    There are two types of people doing emulation. The Ebeneezer T. Scrooge types who think anyone who doesn't have their very own collection of vintage arcade games to reverse engineer doesn't deserve to play them. And the eyepatch-and-jolly-roger set. Personally I find the pirates far less offensive.

  • by El_Oscuro ( 1022477 ) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @06:41PM (#37371460) Homepage
    Both Williams [] and Atari [] released PC collections with emulators and the ROM's of the original games. I am not sure they can be extracted for MAME use, nor if it is legal, but it does provide another option. Many other old games have been released in some fashion with the ROM's included.

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.