Alpine Surfer is Finally Playable in MAME, Marking a Win for Game Preservation

Ule Lopez
Alpine Surfer MAME

Arcade game preservation is a rather unique pursuit, as older arcade machines eventually break down 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 title saw a release in 1996 in arcades (and never left that scene). In it, players controlled the character using a cabinet-mounted snowboard controller, playing alone or with another player’s linked cabinet.

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Alpine Surfer is now finally playable in MAME, so you don’t need to hunt down exceedingly rare cabinets to play it. You can view a gameplay video of Alpine Surfer running in MAME below

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. The game can run on a custom version of MAME built specifically for it. However, it should be noted that Alpine Surfer is playable, not arcade-perfect, so you may run into issues emulating it if the necessary files misbehave with your computer. Thanks to this advance, the entirety of the Namco System 22 library is now playable 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 downloadable and playable on most PCs.

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