• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


MESS Emulation

Page history last edited by Jon Davies 11 years, 8 months ago

Good Day everyone!


I've been setting up an SD card to demonstrate the Raspberry Pi's capability of acting as a Retro Games Emulator for the upcoming eDay at Gateshead Library and Tony Dixon suggested I bung something on the Wiki...so here it is.


First up, I searched for NES emulators - I thought it would be great to go way back to one of the most ubiquitous consoles 'back in the day'.  I finally came across Shea Silverman's Blog.  This introduced me to 'MESS' - Multi Emulator Super System.  It's a great piece of software that is able to run lots of software from lots of platforms so long as you have the necessary 'BIOS' files.


As per the [modified] MESS instructions from Shea's blog...

  1. Download MESS Binaries.
  2. Unzip MESS to the ~/mess directory
  3. chmod 777 /dev/fb0
  4. Put your console BIOS into ~/mess/share/advance/rom/<console>/ (i.e. mess/share/advance/rom/nes/)
  5. Put your console games into ~/mess/share/advance/image/<console>/ (i.e. mess/share/advance/image/nes/)
  6. CD into ~/mess/bin/
  7. Run advmess with ./advmess
    (The first time it’s run it will generate a set of folders and files into ~/.advance)
  8. edit your ~/.advance/advmess.rc to include the proper display configuration
    1. For HDMI try: (This worked for me)
      1. device_video_clock 5 – 50 / 15.62 / 50 ; 5 – 50 / 15.73 / 60
    2. For NTSC TVs try:
      1. device_video_clock 5 – 50 / 15.73 / 60
  9. While still in the mess/bin directory, type ./advmess <console> -cart <filename>
    e.g. ./advmess nes -cart DKong.nes
  10. ENJOY!!!


As for obtaining console BIOS and game ROM files, it would seem Shea is erring on the side of caution and suggesting that your should go have a look for the games yourself.  It's likely that games such as Super Mario Bros and Donkey Kong are not abandonware though you might reckon so.  This is because they are still releasing new titles under these names, so I am assuming the oldest game lives on as 'surviving' through the latest respective iterations!  So...I will err on the side of caution and simply suggest that you search for something like NES Console BIOS (for MESS) and NES Game ROMs in your favourite search engine :)


Ok...here's a quick-start demo on how I run my games (for the benefit of Tony Dixon and eDay at this point)...


  1. Power-on the rPi with the configured SD card
  2. In pi's home dir (~), choose a game:
    1. For 'Super Mario Bros.'
      1. Type: ./messBin/bin/advmess nes -cart SuperMarioBros.nes ...and press enter
      2. Type: ok
      3. Press enter twice 
    2. For 'Donkey Kong'  type the following, then hit [enter]
      1. Type: ./messBin/bin/advmess nes -cart DonkeyKong.nes
      2. Type: ok
      3. Press enter twice
  3. Typical NES controls:
    1. 1=Start
    2. 5=Select
    3. Ctrl=A
    4. Alt=B
  4. MESS keys:
    1. Esc=Quit Menu
    2. Tab=Configuration Menu


Hope this helps anyone else who fancies a wee bit of Retro on their Pi.




Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.