These overlays (sometimes known as bezels) display art on top of the game you're playing. To use them, you need a PC or Raspberry Pi (or other compatible system) running some version of MAME and the associated game software, as well as a widescreen (16x9) monitor mounted vertically. To display the overlay while playing a game, download the artwork file for that game overlay (it must have the same filename as the game), place it in the Artwork folder within your MAME directory and launch the game. (For instance, the software for the game Magic Sword is called msword.zip, so it requires a file in the Artwork directory also called msword.zip.)
All overlays are 4K resolution (2160 x 3840), and listed dimensions are for the game screen, relative to a 4K vertical monitor. The actual game screen size will depend on the resolution of your monitor.
Most of the overlays include multiple presets that let you choose the size of the game screen, access a "dark" version designed to look more like a dark arcade, and sometimes other options. To choose a preset, press Tab while running the game to bring up the MAME menu, select Video Options, and select a preset from the list.
Some overlays include Curved presets designed with a curved screen port, to better simulate the look of a CRT monitor. These presets work best if you are using a geometry shader that adds a curved look to the game screen. For an optimal experience, you may need to adjust your shaders to match the curvature of the screen shape in the overlay. If you are not using a geometry shader, you are using a shader that adds a curved bezel, or if you prefer a rectangular screen port, choose a Straight preset where applicable.
Alien 3 is often considered the low point of the movie series (despite being directed by the great David Fincher), but it also spawned this 1993 light gun game from Sega, which was better received than its inspiration. Alien 3: The Gun loosely follows the setting of the movie, but with a focus entirely on gunning down hordes of attacking aliens across numerous industrial-style levels. Its gun mechanics differ slightly from the usual, in that you never actually run out of ammo but must pause shooting periodically for your gun to recharge. The game's engrossing sprite-based graphics and frenetic style make it an enjoyable taste of early 90s shooting action.
Operation Thunderbolt picks up where predecessor Operation Wolf left off, featuring not only improved graphics and gameplay but the addition of a second player to the shooting mayhem. The plot is more specific this time, bringing in Hardy Jones to join the original's Roy Adams to rescue American hostages from a hijacked airliner that lands in a fictional African country. The sequel adds pseudo-3D forward-scrolling levels featuring sprite scaling graphics, including scenes where you are inside a moving vehicle, where your submachine gun is somehow more than enough to defend you against fighter jets and their missiles. Hostages are even more of a focus here, forcing you to make split-second firing decisions to avoid friendly fire. All in all, Operation Thunderbolt delivers another simple but enjoyable rail shooting experience from a time before 3D graphics.
Aerosmith were never shy about milking their somewhat cheesy image with flashy technology, including a Walt Disney World ride and a Guitar Hero game, but this mid-90s rail shooter from Midway was somehow both the least and most impressive of their extracurricular experiments. The game’s “Music is the weapon!” mantra and dystopian rock band-fights-censorship schtick were cringe-inducing even at the time, but the game goes all-in with its cheese, and over 25 years later it feels strangely reassuring. (Remember CDs? Remember… Aerosmith?) Though not the most imaginative or varied gun game ever made, Revolution X is a great reminder of Midway’s 90s heyday, and it has a sense of style and silliness that make it worth a few rounds fighting Mistress Helga alongside a pixelated Steven Tyler.
Both a movie tie-in game and a demonstration of Midway's video capture tech, Terminator 2: Judgment Day brought the excitement of the movie to arcades as a rail shooter in 1991. The game puts you in the flesh-covered endoskeleton of a T-800, battling through a series of stages modeled after the movie, grabbing weapon powerups and shields along the way. The game starts in the future, as you battle Terminators across a devastated landscape through several levels, before transporting you through time to wreak havoc at Cyberdyne Systems alongside Edward Furlong and finally shoot Robert Patrick's T-1000 repeatedly in the face. The game's realistic graphics and challenging gameplay made it an arcade hit and paved the way for even more intense shooters to come.