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This page serves as the README.Debian of the mess programm DebianPkg:mess package. See See MameDevel for how to build the package. This page serves as the README.Debian of the mess programm in the DebianPkg:mess package. See MameDevel for how to build the package.
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  * 5 to select, 1 to start   * 5 to select
1 to start

Translation(s): English - Italiano

This page serves as the README.Debian of the mess programm in the mess package. See MameDevel for how to build the package.


This package supersedes the xmess-* packages, as the unix sdl port of mess has been integrated in official mess since 0.136.


1. Create a folder "mess" and a subfolder "mess/roms" in your home directory.

2. For each emulated system, Mess needs a bios/romset to be put in this directory, plus some software to run ( an exception is the famicom/Nintendo Entertainment System where everything happens inside the cartridge )

3. Check the sanity of your roms. Mess is very picky about that.

 mess -verifyroms | grep ^romset
romset famicom [nes] is best available
romset fami_key [nes] is best available
romset famitwin [nes] is best available
romset stbook [ste] is best available
romset ti99_224 is best available
romset ti99_232 [ti99_224] is best available
romset tmc1800 is best available
romset tmc2000e is best available
romset osc1000b [tmc1800] is best available

4. Get a public domain rom of LJ65, a tetris clone, for your nes

wget http://www.pdroms.de/media/upload/files/20091126_lj65_v0.41.zip

unzip 20091126_lj65_v0.41.zip

5. Now start mess with

mess nes -cart lj65.nes

6. Basic keyboard commands include

  • Tab key to access the mess internal menu
  • 5 to select
  • 1 to start

7. If mess is way too slow on your computer and you have 3D hardware acceleration available, change the "video" parameter from "soft" to "opengl" in the mess configuration file.


  • mess binary: /usr/games/mess

  • Configuration file: $HOME/.mess/mess.ini or /etc/mess/mess.ini

  • Output folders: $HOME/.mess (memory cards, snapshots, ...)

  • Core folders: /usr/share/games/mess (roms, cheats, ...)


A default configuration file is provided with the package and installed in /etc/mess/mess.ini

If you need to change the location of the roms folder or tweak something like video or cheats you can either:

  • make your own copy of /etc/mess/mess.ini in your home at $HOME/.mess/mess.ini and edit that file (recommended)

  • edit directly /etc/mess/mess.ini

You can verify that mess have read the correct options with "mess -showconfig" and even create a fresh mess.ini file with "mess -createconfig".


mess utilities like chdman, jedutil, ldresample or ldverify are available in a separate extra package called mame-tools.


This package uses quilt to manage all modifications to the upstream source. Changes are stored in the source package as diffs in debian/patches and applied during the build. See /usr/share/doc/quilt/README.source for a detailed explanation.