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MESS icon
Developer(s) MESS Team
Stable release 0.137 / March 14, 2010; 1 day(s) ago (2010-03-14)
Operating system Cross-platform
Type Emulator
License Custom [1]

Multi Emulator Super System (MESS) is an emulator for many game consoles and computer systems, based on the MAME core.

The primary purpose of MESS is to preserve decades of computer and console history. As technology continues to progress, MESS prevents these vintage systems from being lost and forgotten.

MESS emulates portable and console gaming systems, computer platforms and calculators. The project strives for accuracy and portability and therefore is not always the fastest emulator for any one particular system. However, its accuracy makes it useful for homebrew game development, for example on the Atari 7800.[1]

MESS supports 461 unique systems with 1254 total system variations and is growing all the time. However, not all of the systems in MESS are functional, some are marked as non-working or are in development. MESS was first released in 1998 and has been under constant development since.


MESS license

MESS is distributed under the same license as MAME. While MESS is available at no cost, including its source code, it is not open-source software or free software because commercial use and redistribution are prohibited. That is, its license does not meet the conditions of the Open Source Definition, nor is it "free software" as defined by the Free Software Foundation.

In particular, MESS may be redistributed in source or binary form, either modified or unmodified, but: "Redistributions may not be sold, nor may they be used in a commercial product or activity." Also, redistributions of modified versions (derivative works) must include the complete corresponding source code (similar to a copyleft). [2]

List of supported systems

See List of systems supported by MESS.

Challenges of MESS Emulation Usage

Generally the emulation only includes raw hardware logic such as for the CPU and RAM, and specialized DSPs such as tone generators or video sprites. The MESS emulator does not include any programming code stored in ROM chips from the emulated computer, since this may be copyrighted software.

Obtaining the ROM data by oneself directly from the hardware being emulated can be extremely difficult, technical, and expensive, since it may require desoldering of integrated circuit chips from the circuit board of the device they own. The desoldered IC is placed into an expensive chip reader device connected to the serial port of another computer, with pin sockets on the reader specifically designed to match the chip package shape in question, to perform a memory dump of the ROM to a data file.

Removal of a soldered chip is often far easier than reinstalling it, especially for extremely small surface mount technology chips, and the emulated device in question may be effectively destroyed beyond recovery after the ROM has been removed for reading.

However, if one has a working system, it is far easier to dump the ROM data to tape, disk, etc. and transfer the data file to one's target machine.

See also


  1. ^ Grand, Joe; Frank Thornton, Albert Yarusso (2004). Game Console Hacking: Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo, Atari, & Gamepark 32. Syngress. p. 506. ISBN 1931836210. 

External links



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