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Area 51 (MacMAME)

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Year released:
[www].se [ftp].se [mirror].us
area51.sit (628.13 KB)
MD5: 4788ff57b97657a985aeee5a12bff48c
For Mac OS 9 - Mac OS X
[www].se [ftp].se [mirror].us
area51_MAME-081.sit (1.22 MB)
MD5: 0626e2d4e83387f6f876682de6ed5f49
For Mac OS 9 - Mac OS X
[www].se [ftp].se [mirror].us (515.40 MB)
MD5: 0ecaad3442047a7e1a731b8f751b485d
For Mac OS 9 - Mac OS X
[www].se [ftp].se [mirror].us (515.40 MB)
MD5: 2c2945baa2061cb6a9ab4a6fa66d092e
For Mac OS 9 - Mac OS X
[www].se [ftp].se [mirror].us (1.22 MB)
MD5: 996522fcdfd0a8c883e33f8b3583657d
For Mac OS 9 - Mac OS X
Guides on emulating older games

Area 51 is a large and demanding, one-of-a-kind lightgun "rail" shooter game which, with a little effort, works in a wide range of MacMAME and MAME OS X versions, on a substantial assortment of hardware, from OS9 and PPC through OS X and Intel, even running without a supported GPU. A historic arcade coin-op for emulation, this game is exceptional in MacMAME and MAME OS X.

You're not supposed to talk about it. Men in black hunt those down that do; the place don't really exist anyways. But something went horribly wrong. Now, in the sands of Nevada you must infiltrate the military's compromised testing facility. There's only one thing that must be done: initiate the bunker's nuclear self destruct, or all will be lost!

Using the best FMV-on-CRT engine at the time it was released, the Area 51 coin-op did cycle on an overclocked Atari Jaguar system, though this game could never be published for the Jaguar home console due to its overclock requirement. I strolled past these upright cabinets numerous times in those 90s. On the one attract mode screen titled ":MISSION:" Instructions, behind the flashing blue Player 2 "INSERT COIN" popup you'll see the hardware serial # or, since this is being emulated, it will show "No Serial Num".

Two quarters were needed per play.

1st DL - This is the game program, provided as MAME v0.66 expects to see it. In today's terminology, this is the "area51a" ROM (originally meaning 'alternate' but later hijacked to mean 'Atari'). It is the 68EC020 "Oct 25" 1995 version, but I personally have not gotten Area51 to run in MAME v0.66. I suspect it requires a unique CHD file format or else was never 'ready' to be run. Unstuff this (preferably with StuffIt Expander v7 or older, to prevent unzipping) and move the "" file into your ROMs folder. If you unstuff it and get a folder named "area51" then you can re-zip that folder, or check to see if "" to has appeared in your working directory. This particular download is actually very OS9-friendly.

DL 2 - These are the game program(s) as MAME v0.81 expects to see them. There are two ROMs, though there is a problem here. What had been "" for older versions of MAME is here changed to "area51a" (alt), while the other "" had become the default due to its slightly newer date of "Nov 15" 1995. (The latest version of MAME changes its date to Nov 27, 1995.) We now know this version today as "area51ta" (meaning "Time-Warner alternate"). One is forced to play using the "Atari" chdfile, although it originally had its own Time-Warner specific chdfile.

(Whether or not the "ta" game is supposed to be able to play with either chdfile, or this is just an artifact of emulation, it performs real dang slow on my great hardware. Instead, the "Oct 25" ROM plays incredibly fast. The "Oct 25" ROM must stay named "" in order to play so quickly, as although it can be played under the 0.66 filename, it won't perform as well. For best performance in OS9 MAME 0.81 play this "alt" Oct 25 1995 ROM.)

DL 3 - This is the game data for MAME 0.81+ thru 0.124. Unzip it and place it in your MAME "Hard Disk Images" folder, making sure that it is named "area51/area51.chd".
md5 & *filename: 28e3ad6ca2aef8139a20652600a2c45f *area51.chd (unzipped)

DL 4 - This is the game data for MAME 0.135 and newer. Unzip it and place it in your MAME "Hard Disk Images" folder, making sure that it is named "area51/area51.chd".
md5 & *filename: fd41829a2c122087ec1ca8b2280f2197 *area51-0135.chd (unzipped)

DL 5 - These are the game programs for MAME v"0.87b" and higher. Unzip this and you will find two smaller zips which should be copied into your ROMs folder. The new default is a MIPS R3000 1996 version, which ought to render the smoothest, especially on PowerPC hardware. The second ROM is the same 68EC020 "alt" Oct 25 version mentioned before.

Architecture: 68k PPC x86 (Intel:Mac)

Zips tested working in MAME 0.66 thru 0.135 and higher.

"chd" files tested working in MAME 0.81+ thru 0.135 and higher.

MAME 0.66 thru 0.80 might be able to run Area 51 with another chd file, but this has not yet been found.

In order to change between area51 chd file versions on the fly, you must first delete any "Diffs" file pertaining to area51.


SkyCapt's picture
by SkyCapt - 2019, December 15 - 11:54pm

I got this to speed up rendering in OS9 - see the page description about using the right ROMs.

SkyCapt's picture
by SkyCapt - 2019, December 1 - 2:31pm

so be it...
I played with the alternative version that combined two games in one console Area 51 + "Maximum Force" and was disappointed on many levels. The max-force game-play is disappointing or embarrassing, the emulation of its Area51 half didn't received the level of optimization attention that standalone-51 has, and the hd data file is over three times larger, it's no contest, this version is great.

There's also a coin-op sequel named "Area 51 Site 4" ... I haven't seen.

SolarstrikeVG's picture
by SolarstrikeVG - 2019, December 1 - 4:11am

You might want to note that Atari and Atari Games are actually not the same company.