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.
Bringing the comic series into game form, Alien vs. Predator lets players choose from a pair of cybernetically-enhanced Earth soldiers and two types of Predators as they take on wave after wave of alien invaders. Alien vs. Predator is more complex than many of the beat-em-ups that preceded it, with each character fielding unique weapons and fighting moves that reflect the Street Fighter era. This overlay features two versions – a standard version (shown here) and a version that emulates the look of the Capcom Big Blue cabinet this game was sometimes found in.
This sequel to 1994's Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom upgrades the experience in every way, with 6 playable characters and more sophisticated graphics, spells, environments and enemies. Like many games of the mid-90s, its controls are complicated enough to require instructions, reproduced here albeit in somewhat tiny form. One of the last real arcade beat-em-ups, Shadow Over Mystara is complex enough to reward repeat runthroughs. The standard overlay shown here takes some liberties with the original cabinet design, as it was primarily a conversion kit with little art, and it also includes a Capcom Big Blue version that reflects the look of that cabinet.
Magic Sword (subtitled Heroic Fantasy) is a 2D platforming hack n' slash game, making up for a lack of horizontal movement with the ability to recruit NPC teammates to battle alongside you. Your quest is to ascend the 50 floors of Dragon Keep to defeat the dark lord Drokmar (truly a memorable storyline), fighting enemy hordes with swords and sorcery, and a second player if you choose. Magic Sword's colorful graphics and vibrant sound effects make it a classic worth playing even next to more complex games, and its evocative cabinet art represents the end of an era when arcade manufacturers still put considerable effort into the look of the cabinets.
The TV cartoon series Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa lasted for only two seasons on Saturday mornings in the early '90s, but it was around long enough to spawn an arcade adaptation that's still worth playing. As is usually the case, dastardly villains have kidnapped the game's love interest, and mutated bovine heroes Moo Montana, Cowlorado Kid and friends must battle their way through a herd of ornery, gun-toting steers to rescue her. The game features nicely realized art by and inspired by creator Ryan Brown, and we added a bit more art to the cabinet to better reflect the spirit of the game.
Vigilante is a bit of a throwback for its time, in that it didn't adopt either the 3D movement of games like Double Dragon or the platforming mechanics of Bad Dudes, instead opting for more sophisticated graphics and sound applied to a simpler formula akin to Irem's original Kung-Fu Master. Your goal is to rescue Madonna (sadly not the Madonna) from the clutches of endless waves of "skinheads" with full heads of hair. There is very little strategy to Vigilante, only timing, as there is little subtlety to enemy attacks, and once you get the nunchucks you can easily beat the game. But the colorful graphics and fantastic synth soundtrack make it worth a few punches (it has a very satisfying punch sound, you have to give it that).