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 the first games released under the Bally Midway label, Satan's Hollow centered around the somewhat edgy (for the '80s) concept of fighting Satan's minions in "the Hollow" (because hell was presumably one step too far). The gameplay is reminiscent of Galaga, with the addition of a shield and the ability to drag segments across the playfield to build a bridge over a lava pit, which enables you to fight Satan himself (who is actually not terribly impressive). The original cabinet featured a translucent red flight stick that glowed next to the black light embedded in the front of the control panel.
Still a beloved classic from the early '80s, Tron adapted the concepts and overall vibe of the Disney movie to create a memorable set of minigames. The music and sound effects still evoke an '80s arcade almost as much as Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. Tron also featured a distinctive cabinet design, with a deep interior that made you feel like you were being sucked into the game world, and a black light-enhanced glowing flight stick. Our version of the cabinet is somewhat stylized, taking some liberties with the actual design in order to represent the feel while optimizing playability. To play it on MAME, you'll need a one-button flight stick or joystick as well as a spinner (thanks to a resurgence in interest, you can now get a decent reproduction of the flight stick, and there are several spinners available).
Released during a period in which even middle-of-the-road rock bands wanted to get on the arcade bandwagon, Journey launches the titular band into space to retrieve their "electro supercharged instruments" from "wild alien groupoids" (yep). The game riffs on the minigame formula of Tron to send the five band members, complete with digitized black-and-white heads, through multi-stage levels to grab their instruments (which turn into weapons) and make it back to their scarab spaceship. Completing all five games takes you to a final concert (which featured a cassette-powered loop of "Separate Ways") in which roadie Herbie must defend the stage from the aforementioned groupoids, lest you be forced to do it all over again. Weird stuff, but worth a try. Make sure you grab the audio sample Zip file and place it in your MAME samples folder.
Wacko was wacky in a variety of ways, most noticeably with its oddball cabinet design, which tilted at an extreme angle (yes, this is what the cabinet looked like). The game itself puts you in control of alien Kapt. Krooz'r, previously the star of 1982's Kozmik Krooz'r, and tasks you with eliminating monsters in a sort of matching game variation of Robotron: 2084. You must shoot the monsters in pairs, and as the levels progress, shooting non-matching creatures creates even weirder mutants. The control scheme uses a trackball for movement and a joystick for firing, but it plays acceptably with two 8-way joysticks.
The closest we ever got to hanging out in bars in middle school, Tapper featured Budweiser taps and drink holders, and was designed to be placed in bars before it was re-released as the far less cool Root Beer Tapper (the dancing girls don't quite make sense in a root beer parlor). You control a bartender who must serve an onslaught of thirsty customers without dropping beer mugs or making the customers angry, with a shell game-like interstitial minigame between levels. The distinctive character designs and charming music make Tapper even more refreshing than a sip of Dad's beer on a summer afternoon (ew, gross).
Timber takes the working-man ethos of Tapper into the woods, where two burly, enflanneled woodsmen compete to chop down the most trees within a time limit. In addition to trying to crush your opponent with falling trees, you must avoid beehive-throwing bears and catch newly homeless birds for bonus points. Timber was designed by Steve Meyer, who also designed Tapper, and like that game it features a minigame every couple of levels, this time a log-rolling challenge that is a fair bit tougher than the beer-shaking game of its predecessor.
Take to the skies and slowly sink the enemy's ships with the flaming wrecks of their planes, with or without a wingman, in this challenging shooting game. The mechanics of Two Tigers take some practice, as you must shoot down enemy planes or drop bombs in the same spot several times in order to punch enough holes in the ship to sink it, before the ship sails off for calmer waters. Fortunately your lives are unlimited (you lose after two ships escape) and the enemy planes mostly don't notice you're there (though you can be killed by enemy fire and some planes). The game includes a dogfight mode in which the players take turns trying to shoot each other down. Note that there are three buttons – shoot, speed (accelerate) and bomb.
Zwackery was an oddity in mid-80s arcades, combining excellent and expressive graphics with surprisingly complex gameplay and controls. Players step into the robes of Zachary Thwacker, a wizard on a quest to save a lovely princess who has been turned into a frog. Along the way you'll encounter crows who love to drop things on your head (and then turn into flying eyeballs), aggressive mushrooms, gargoyles, guards, devils, skeletons and ultimately a dragon, all while trying to defeat the Evil Ghoulum. Zwackery requires near-ambidexterity to master, as you control the wizard with a flight stick with two buttons corresponding to your sword and shield, rotate your sword/shield arm with a spinner, push the spinner down to pick up items and pull it up to cast spells. We included this game because it's a cult classic, but it is very difficult to play on MAME without a two-button flight stick and a push-pull spinner. If you can find a way to play it, it's something special.
It may have mutated into a questionable Dwayne Johnson movie, but Rampage started as an '80s arcade hit, centered around three erstwhile scientists who tear their way across the country after transforming into giant monsters. Players choose a character and then must destroy all the buildings on a level to advance, eating people and other food for health and avoiding attacking helicopters and soldiers. Like the arcade version, the MAME version ties the character to the controls, so you may need to edit the controls in the Tab menu to get the character you want. Rampage's pixelated cityscapes, tiny denizens, expressive creatures and addictive gameplay make it a classic worth playing today.
Xenophobe innovated on several fronts, with a unique cabinet design and a game concept that puts three players in the same game but allows them to move around independently thanks to a three-way split screen. The game sends a crew of space officers into a series of alien-infested ships to take out the space vermin (or Xenos), gather whatever valuables are left behind and then (optionally) destroy the ship before moving on to the next one. Xenophobe borrows cheekily from Alien and various other sci-fi properties, creating a universe that is both challenging and a lot of fun to play. The arcade game used flight sticks with two buttons whose functions constantly changed – watch the bottom of your section of the screen to determine what they do as you go.
This somewhat experimental, not-quite-a-gun game started out as a four-player shooter called International Team Laser, but switched directions to this two-player version instead. Blasted pits one or two military snipers against evil cyborgs intent on wreaking havoc in... an apartment building, for some reason. It is not a gun game, but instead uses a joystick that moves a targeting reticle, providing both a zoomed-in sniper view and a wider view to take out your enemies. You must shoot the glowing red sweet spot on the various cyborgs, with a particular emphasis on the floating "cybornetic balls," before they can shoot back. The original cabinet used gun-shaped joysticks, which are reproduced in some of the presets below, if you're into that sort of thing.
Taking a page from Cyberball's "football but robots" playbook, Pigskin 621 A.D. is "football but actual Vikings and other medieval and sometimes fantasy characters, but also sort of rugby." Appearing with the tagline "Ancient Archrivals on a Rampage" (because the game's designers worked on both Arch Rivals and Rampage), Pigskin litters the field with hazards like pits, pools and logs, and encourages beating up the other team at every opportunity. Control can be difficult at times given that the game follows the ball (so your character is regularly offscreen and can be hard to find), but the game offers an amusing take on a familiar sport. The original cabinet featured light-up indicators of your team's current strategy, which are sadly non-functional in our version, but the same information appears on-screen.