The Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (also known as MAME) is a project which endeavors to preserve the heritage of Video Gaming by allowing the average person to play Arcade games on their computer. MAME was created by Nicola Salmoria and was originally released on February 5th, 1997. He began working on emulators for single games then merged a number of these to create MAME. Emulation is, in essence, the Arcade code that runs the game ported onto a more usable (i.e. not six feet high and 400 pounds) platform, in this case, the PC. MAME is one of the oldest and most wide-spread emulators out there and is doing quite a good job. Now, technically, this shouldn't work. Copyright law prohibits the downloading of ROMs (game files) unless one owns a copy of the original game, i.e. has the cabinet. I do not, however, know of a case where infringements on this particular copyright have been punished, basically, the games are still copyrighted but the company no longer makes money from them anyway so they don't much seem to care*.

Another interesting application of MAME is the manufacture of home-made arcade cabinets, known in this case as MAME cabinets. These consist of a (usually) standup arcade cabinet shell with an arcade monitor connected to a computer which holds numerous MAME games. A list of links containing various howtos concerning cabinets and controllers can be found at:

CmdrTaco is in the process of building a MAME cabinet, his tutorial and pictures can be found at
TheBooBooKitty has built several (he's so cool) and has one on hand at present.

*if there is precedence, please let me know.