Since Carlos thinks I already spend too much time in the basement, I am preparing to add even more entertainment to Mediaportal. This time, the fun will be provided by MAME. MAME stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. In english, it means that it is a piece of software that lets you play “classic” arcade games on your computer. Mostly everything from the late 1970’s to the early 2000’s can be played. I used to spend a lot of time and a lot of quarters playing coin-op arcade games. Now with MAME, I will be able to play them on my TV in the basement.

Some people have gone out of their way to build authentic looking arcade cabinets for the classic arcade look and feel powered by MAME. Costco even sells an Ultimate Arcade 2 for a whopping $2400. I love the product but it’s quite a ways out of my price range. If I had the talent, I would build my own MAME arcade cabinet as the Ultimate Arcade 2 is basically a MAME system given a very fancy presentation.

However I do have some talents and Mediaportal has some MAME integration built-in. After some quick testing, I was playing Mario Bros. on the TV with the Harmony remote. The harmony is a wonderful device but it is certainly lacking as a game controller.

I spent some time looking at Logitech gamepads to power use as MAME controllers. They would work fine but the downside would be having to buy a couple of them plus USB extensions. I considered some wireless gamepads but again the problem of a lot of stuff to buy plus extensions. Then I had the most amazing thought…

I already have Nintendo Wii remotes – Could these be used to control MAME?? After some research and testing, the answer is YES! I read about similar setups where people were connecting the Wii remote to their PC via Bluetooth and the remote would work perfectly for MAME. I verified this by borrowing a bluetooth adapter from work and that weekend I was happily testing out MAME with the Wii Remote. It didn’t take me long before deciding to order my own Bluetooth PC adapter which arrived today!

This is going to be a tricky system to build and certainly won’t be “perfect”. However, it will be a lot of fun! Stay tuned for lots of tips and tricks on how I will be turning this project from an idea to reality.

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