From Retro Arcade Guides

A Frontend is software that presents a list of games and calls the appropriate emulator to run the selected game.

The main reason to use a Frontend is to simplify the gaming experience: when all the games are organized and the emulators are configured, the user concentrates only in choosing what to play.

Some Frontends are suited to be run in home-built arcade machines which have a PC computer inside with many different games and emulators to choose.

The HyperSpin, for example, is considered one of the best looking frontends. It has custom-made graphics art for specific games, movie support with transition effects, and theme and favorites support.

List of frontends

It's impossible to say which is(are) the best frontend(s) as every person has different necessities and preferences.

Below is a list of frontends that are worth using, in no particular order:

Name Comment
3D Arcade virtual arcade machines in 3D models
Atomic FE Windows
Attract-Mode open source; Windows, Linux and OS X
Big Blue Windows
BletchMAME replaces the internal MAME UI with a more conventional point and click GUI
Emu Loader Windows; supports MAME Software Lists
EmuCenter2 Windows
EmuCon Windows
emuControlCenter Windows
EmulationStation open source; Windows and Linux
FEEL Windows XP or newer; freeware
GameBase universal but is the official frontend for the GB64 Collection of C64 games
GameEx free and paid versions available; Evolution version supports MAME Software Lists; Arcade Edition version is lighter
Gelide open source; Linux
HyperSpin one of the best-looking but very hard to set up
IV/Play by the same author of MAMEUI
ixbar3000 Windows and Linux
LaunchBox / Big Box for Windows Vista and newer
MaLa Windows
MAMELOAD TNG Windows; supports MAME Software Lists
Maximus Arcade paid software
MESSUI Windows; MAME frontend; supports Software Lists
Metropolis Launcher requires Windows XP or newer and .NET Framework 4.0; ships with MobyGames based meta data
mGalaxy Windows
Pegasus cross-plataform: Windows, Linux, Raspberry Pi and Android; open source
pfeMame Python frontend for MAME (cross-platform)
PinballX by the same creators of GameEx
PinballY Windows; open source
Pinup Popper Pinball
Playnite Video game library manager; open source
QMC2 open source; for many operating systems; supports MAME Software Lists
QuickPlay open source
RetroFE Windows and Linux
VP-Man supports Visual Pinball and Future Pinball
VPLauncher Windows; supports Visual Pinball and Future Pinball; discontinued

Frontends created by Pleasuredome members

Because you (probably) can get support easier, these are in a separate table:

Name Comment
Advanced MAME Launcher MAME frontend for Kodi mediacenter; created by Wintermute0110
MAME Custom Front End MAME frontend for Windows; created by Raph4
Negatron / NegaMAME supports Software Lists; created by xinyingho

See also