How to play MAME arcade games on Apple TV

By , Nov 6, 2015

MAME Apple TV

Along with being able to play classic Nintendo and Sega games on your Apple TV, you can also play classic arcade titles. Doing so is made possible by a port of MAME, which stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. Unfortunately there isn’t yet a GitHub page setup for the MAME tvOS port, but the same developer that created the MAME emulator that we showed you a while back has made the full Xcode project available for download.

Before you begin, get familiar with our official sideloading tutorial. This teaches you the mechanics and ins and outs of sideloading, which is what we’ll be doing to get MAME installed on our Apple TV. Also, you will need a Bluetooth controller to control the MAME interface and games.

Step 1: Connect your Apple TV to your Mac using a USB Type-C Cable

Step 2: Download the MAME Xcode project

Step 3: Drag and drop your MAME ROMS into the Resources folder under the project

MAME Roms Apple TV

Step 4: Click the Play button in Xcode to deploy the app to your Apple TV and click Finish (if needed).

And that really is all there is to it. Once you have MAME running on your Apple TV, it’s just a matter of pressing the A button on your controller repeatedly to get to the ROM selection screen. Happy old-school gaming!

Update: a new GitHub page has been created for the MAME tvOS emulator. The GitHub download includes a new version with fixes and preliminary Apple TV remote support.

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  • kline1

    Im getting a lot of errors! help

  • kurt

    It’s alright I guess. Not big on how you have to get the Roms on there. Makes it more of a pain. Needs something like Provenance where it creates a server to load the Roms onto the TV.

    • I agree.

      • Bendy

        Jeff Springtomize has been updated for iOS 9 I am running it now.

  • kline1

    ok got it to run thru the download, did not get it to run thru the github way.

    • Raibalisi

      how did you fixed the errors?

  • kline1

    ok nvm it installed on apple tv, but when open the app it justs hangs on the splah screen doesnt get passed that screen, can anybody help.

    • [RECON1]

      Same here

  • Wesh

    do games like Streetfighter vs Capcom, Mortal Kombat work? or is it just simple arcade games?

  • kb

    Can someone provide more details on exactly how to sideload this via xcode? I downloaded but am have problems with provisioning profiles (I assume it’s not related to this project – just not 100% familiar with xcode yet).

    • [RECON1]

      From my understanding, provisioning profiles have to do with the bundle identifier, which is what you need to sign the apps to get them to side load. So, usually you need to change that from whatever the developer had, to your unique ID. I could be wrong though. I’m still learning all this myself.

  • [RECON1]

    Nice! That worked.Now I just gotta figure out why only one of the games shows up lol

    • kline1

      Yeah a lot of games dont work, i have the same problem i loaded like 15 games only half of them are showing up and half of those are working.

      • [RECON1]

        Yeah same. Only 3 out of the like 10 I loaded show up and one has a bad buzzing noise when I play it. But at least some work for now 🙂

  • EricNyc

    Was anyone able to get the neogeo bios to load? I keep getting errors

  • hsm_disqus

    Just wanted to add 2 notes for anyone who tries this. (1) Make sure you download MAME ROMs that are appropriate for the underlying MAME in imame4all – which is not very recent (its 0.37b5). These are possible but not necessarily easy to find. Second – I was hurrying, and forgot that the samples folder in the github dist’n is sound samples, not sample ROMs, there is no point moving those .zip files into the ROM folder! Finally – there are a decent amount of likely compile errors you’ll get – but the github issues page walks through all of them. Overall, without these boneheaded errors I could have been up and going faster than it took to download Xcode!

  • Corsasri

    Where is the new build located ?

  • jose ortega

    I have an error with “tvosbootstrapper.m”. Any solution?

  • Hueseyin U.

    I have already sideloaded Mame with ipwnstore without Xcode because I have no OSX system. How do I get the Mame ROMs into Apple TV 4 now?