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.
One of a seemingly endless number of maze game clones lurking around every corner in the early 80s, Amidar was distinctive and original enough to stand out. Based loosely on the Japanese Amidakuji game, Amidar casts players as an ape (or a paint roller in some levels) trying to capture sections of an uneven grid while avoiding enemies (tribesmen on the ape levels, and pigs on the paint roller levels — just go with it). The enemies move in a predictable manner, but it's easy to get trapped, with a jump button helping you temporarily slow them down and a brief period of invincibility when claiming the four corners.
One of a number of Pac-Man clones that popped up after the runaway success of that game, Lady Bug reimagines the maze as a garden filled with walls, gates, flowers and insects. Players control the aforementioned ladybug, munching the dot-like vegetation and avoiding enemy bugs, and while there are no power pills that let you turn the tables, the rotating gates add a new layer of strategy to the formula. Lady Bug is at least as notable for its fanciful cabinet art, featuring realistic (and oddly sexualized) ladies dressed in bug costumes, which you can experience in all its glory with our overlay.
The story of Ms. Pac-Man is worthy of a documentary, which it got as a part of Netflix's High Score series (definitely worth watching). Though it was seen as a proper sequel to Pac-Man, the game was actually created by an upstart American company as an add-on board for Pac-Man cabinets, which they sold to Pac-Man's US manufacturer Midway. Ms. Pac-Man expanded upon the original's female fanbase, and added numerous improvements to the original game's formula, including multiple mazes, updated sound effects and graphics and semi-random ghost movement designed to prevent pattern memorization. The game became a huge hit in North America and is often considered superior to the original.
Pac-Man is nothing short of a phenomenon — a game that created its own genre, was one of the first games designed to appeal to women gamers, became the best-selling arcade game of all time and is a household name even among non-gamers. Appearing at a time when manufacturers were cranking out Space Invaders clones, Pac-Man creator Toru Iwatani wanted to create non-violent game with cute characters, and settled on the idea of eating rather than shooting or sports as a gameplay concept that would appeal to women and couples. His intuition was arguably one of the most important factors in the success of American arcades, as Pac-Man exploded into arcades and then pop culture in the US. The game would spawn numerous sequels as well as countless imitators, not to mention pop songs, cartoons and endless merchandise, and would leave an indelible Pac-shaped mark on the world.
Joining the maze game craze rampant in the early 80s, Sega's take on the genre was novel enough to stand out from the crowd, and created one of the company's first arcade hits. Pengo features a lovable red penguin who is constantly harassed by blob-like enemies called Sno-Bees, who runs around a maze made of slidable ice blocks that also spawn his antagonists. As the Sno-Bees zero in and break down the maze blocks, Pengo can fight back by crushing them with sliding blocks or vibrating the ice walls to stun and then crush them himself. Pengo's constantly-shifting maze and ability to turn any part of the maze into a weapon give it a level of strategy that goes beyond the maze clones of its era, as your enemies are constantly both hunting you and making it harder for you to kill them.
The first actual sequel to Pac-Man by creator Namco but the third Pac-Man game on the market, Super Pac-Man mixes up the formula considerably – while Pac-Man is still eating his way through the mazes, he must first eat keys to open up gates to access the entire maze, which is filled with fruits and other objects rather than dots. The game's key differentiator is the ability to eat super pellets, which enlarge Pac-Man and allow him to eat through the gates, move faster by holding the Super Speed button and make him temporarily invulnerable (supposedly he is "flying," though he still must navigate the walls of the maze). Super Pac-Man's updates both complicate the game and arguably make it more approachable, as you can complete the mazes faster and more easily avoid danger.
Developed by Konami and released by Stern in the US, Tutankham (supposedly so named because "Tutankhamen" wouldn't fit) combined the maze game craze popular in the early 80s with Defender-like shooter mechanics to create a challenging dungeon crawl through ancient Egyptian tombs. You can shoot the asps, parrots, bats and other baddies that chase you, but only in left-right corridors, which adds a level of strategy beyond the usual maze run. Swipe the treasures on each level, grab the key to advance and see how deep you can go. The MAME version includes a version without a control panel, for those that want the art without the joysticks and buttons.