Hey! Remember when Google announced that you could play console games in Google Chrome a few weeks ago? Now you can play classic arcade games in your web browser too, thanks to a few Google gamers who got the Linux version of the popular (and free) Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (or MAME) running on Google Chrome's Native Client in just four days. For those of you not familiar with the Google Chrome browser, Google’s Native Client (or just NaCl if you’re feeling funny) is basically a software sandbox to run native code in your web browser. The debut of Native Client makes it easier and safer to run complex apps from within the Google Chrome browser, and that means you can run and play games without having to bother installing them.
Google recently published a case study that explains the process of porting the Linux version of MAME to Native Client, and it’s a fascinating read if you’re a coding nerd interested in the dual-build approach to cross-language ports or what a resource hog OpenGL can be.
If you’re just interested in playing games, you can download Robby Roto from the Chrome Web Store and play it for free right in your web browser; if you're curious, Robby Roto is an old Midway arcade game from 1981 that’s public domain and thus legal to download and play. The Chrome version of MAME also allows you to upload and play your own ROM iles, so if you happen to own physical copies of other arcade games you could also legally download them from a ROM hosting site, or head over to the MAME website where a number of arcade games have been made available for free (non-commercial) download.
If you do choose to upload your own ROM, be aware that the Google Chrome MAME app doesn’t support every game. Hopefully the Google engineers will work to make more games playable in Google Chrome, be sure to let us know if you can get your favorite games working!
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