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MAME Direct Input

Image of an Atari VCS games console. The woodgrain is good!

Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME)

MAME brings home games from the Golden Age of arcades and beyond such as Taito's Space Invaders and SEGA's Out Run. If you have a fast enough PC much more recent games can be made playable.

Thanks to MAME DI (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator Direct Input) all kinds of assistive technology can now be used to play these previously inaccessible games. Including the One Switch Pulse method enabling one-button navigation of menus and game play.

Additionally, the Pugsy's Cheat system that comes bundled with this version of MAME DI makes many games playable for the first time for players with slower reactions, and/or issues with the control schemes.

Getting Started

MAME DI installationDownload and unzip the file (or mirror MAME).

MAME Double-click on the MAME UI icon to start.

Finding Game ROM files

This special version of MAME comes with a range of public domain ROMs (aka games) and unique Asteroids cheats. For other ROMs you should only really use if you own the original hardware.

Trouble Shooting: New ROMs should be virus-checked, placed in the roms folder and MAME's game list refreshed by pressing "F5" whilst at the game selection screen. Click on the "Available" folder to view them once the scan completes.

Finding games: The OneSwitch list gives some ideas for games playable with one button, but the list below should help most to find gmaes. N.B.virus check anything you download and never install anything from these sites if asked:

  • Emu Paradise: A wide range of MAME ROMs. You should really own these games to play them legally.
  • As above.
  • Twisty's MAME Samples: Save and drop files from here into the "samples" folder (you may need to create that folder if it doesn't already exist). Gives Votrax speech to the likes of Gorf and Wizard of Wor.

Basic Emulator Controls

Insert Coin = 5
Start Player 1 Button = 1
Start Player 1 Button = 2

In-game MENU = TAB (cursors, CTRL, Enter and Escape to navigate).
Pause = P
Windowed/Fullscreen mode = Alt+F4
Save state = Shift+F7 (use a letter)
Load a save state = F7

Reset game = F3
TURBO mode = F10 (or hold the Insert key)
Screen grab = F12

Exit emulator = Escape

Trouble Shooting

Arcade games came with many different types of controls. Use the TAB key to view and change these. Keep them the same if you want this system to work with the One Switch Pulse system.

Speed issues? Try running with graphics card / adjust GDI to Direct 3D etc.

Menu navigation problems? Ensure joystick mode is off.

Rotating Screen? Some graphics cards will clash with the controls scheme of MAME. You may need to go into your graphics card settings and stop any hot-keys that rotate the screen using the cursor keys.

Common Joystick Controls

Atari Joystick


Cursor Keys (direction)
LEFT-CTRL, LEFT-ALT and SPACE (buttons 1, 2 and 3).


R,D,F,G (direction)
A, S and Q (buttons 1, 2 and 3).


From within a game and the TAB key (assuming you have Cheats enabled already) you should be able activate a range of cheats. You may need to reset the game to activate them using the F4 key.

LEGAL NOTICE: Many game ROMs remain the copyright of the original owners who may or may not be happy for them to be played under emulation. Put in the context of these games impossible to play in their original format for some disabled gamers and I would hope that attitudes would be more relaxed. Support developers by letting them know why you can't play their games and offer some solutions.