Alpine Surfer is Now Playable in MAME. This is a win for game preservation


Arcade game preservation can be a difficult task as old arcade machines eventually fail and stop working. MAME also has a hand in this since players can emulate arcade games they can’t easily access. Some specific board systems’ entire libraries can be emulated, like Capcom’s various CPS board systems.

Meanwhile, Namco’s System 22 board has had one specific game missing from its MAME compatibility, known as Alpine Surfer. This game was released in 1996 in arcades and has never left the arcades. In it, players controlled the character using a cabinet-mounted snowboard controller, playing alone or with another player’s linked cabinet.

Alpine Surfer is now finally playable in MAME, so you don’t need to hunt down exceedingly rare cabinets to play it. Below is a gameplay video showing Alpine Surfer in MAME.

Namco’s System 22 (and subsequently its Super System 22 variant) board system has played host to over a dozen of their racing games, like Ridge Racer’s first two entries, Ace Driver, and is also where Time Crisis got its own start. Of these games, Ridge Racer is one of two series that wound up escaping arcades – the other being Time Crisis – landing on the PlayStation in 1995 and 1997, respectively.

Back to Alpine Surfer, arcade machines for the game are so rare, even more so if they’re in working condition. A custom version of MAME can run the game. Alpine Surfer is not compatible with MAME. PlayableNot arcade-perfectIf the files you need are not available on your computer, you might have to emulate it. This advancement has made it possible to play the entire Namco System 22 library in MAME.

Overall, the game’s state as of today marks another big goal for game preservation, which begs the question; which arcade games previously thought to not be playable is next? MAME is available for download and can be played on most computers.



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