Tatung Einstein emulation on Fedora Linux 29 using MAME


It is now February 15th, 2019. Back on April 23rd, 2018, I added photos of ORIC Manic Miner on my page Manic Miner on ORIC. On that day, I had just received ORIC Manic Miner tape and I thought that it would make my 8-bit Manic Miner collection complete with respect to the original releases.

Yesterday I found out that that assumption was wrong. Namely there exists a rare 8-bit computer called Tatung Einstein. It is a Z80 CPU based 8-bit machine that was released in 1984, and Manic Miner was released on Tatung Einstein too. I would suppose that it has to be the rarest 8-bit release.

For awesome Manic Miner, Jet Set Willy, Blagger and Son of Blagger collections, please visit Dasse's homepage, it is definitely worth seeing! It is good that people give credit to these early, fantastic platformers that paved way for later platform games!

Today we are going to use MAME for Tatung Einstein emulation and playing Manic Miner on an emulated Tatung Einstein. Our host OS is Fedora Linux 29.

Installing MAME

Let's start by installing MAME emulator first. Open a terminal window and type:

sudo dnf -y install mame

After that, you can query the RPM database with command:

rpm -qi mame | less

You should see something like the following:

Name : mame
Version : 0.205
Release : 1.fc29
Architecture: x86_64
Install Date: Thu 17 Jan 2019 07:12:22 PM EET
Group : Unspecified
Size : 284753545
License : GPLv2+ and LGPLv2+ and ASL 2.0
Signature : RSA/SHA256, Sat 29 Dec 2018 08:02:10 PM EET, Key ID a20aa56b429476b4
Source RPM : mame-0.205-1.fc29.src.rpm
Build Date : Sat 29 Dec 2018 01:21:58 PM EET
Build Host : buildvm-11.phx2.fedoraproject.org
Relocations : (not relocatable)
Packager : Fedora Project
Vendor : Fedora Project
URL : http://mamedev.org/
Bug URL : https://bugz.fedoraproject.org/mame
Summary : Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator
Description :
MAME stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. When used in conjunction
with an arcade game's data files (ROMs), MAME will more or less faithfully
reproduce that game on a PC.

The ROM images that MAME utilizes are "dumped" from arcade games' original
circuit-board ROM chips. MAME becomes the "hardware" for the games, taking
the place of their original CPUs and support chips. Therefore, these games
are NOT simulations, but the actual, original games that appeared in arcades.

MAME's purpose is to preserve these decades of video-game history. As gaming
technology continues to rush forward, MAME prevents these important "vintage"
games from being lost and forgotten. This is achieved by documenting the
hardware and how it functions, thanks to the talent of programmers from the
MAME team and from other contributors. Being able to play the games is just
a nice side-effect, which doesn't happen all the time. MAME strives for
emulating the games faithfully.

Press Q to quit less pager program and return to the bash shell prompt.

Fedora Linux 29 has autosave enabled by default in the global configuration file /etc/mame/mame.ini. I do not like that default, so I remove it with:

sudo sed -i '/^autosave/d' /etc/mame/mame.ini

Installing Tatung Einstein ROM files

A cool retroguy called Mario has a Tatung Einstein fanpage up and running. I got both the system ROMs and Manic Miner from there. You can download einstein.zip here or you can get it from Mario's page. Without the files in that ZIP archive, MAME cannot run Tatung Einstein emulation, so it is necessary to install them.

If you are interested, you can ask MAME to tell you which ROM files it expects to find for einstein emulation:

mame einstein -listroms

Now install the ROM files for MAME:

sudo mkdir /usr/share/mame/roms/einstein
sudo cp -iv einstein.zip /usr/share/mame/roms/einstein
cd /usr/share/mame/roms/einstein
sudo unzip einstein.zip

After that you can ask MAME to verify that the ROMs are okay:

mame einstein -verifyroms
romset einstein is good
1 romsets found, 1 were OK.

Playing Manic Miner on emulated Tatung Einstein

Start by downloading MANICMINER.zip.

Before launching MAME, I have my Logitech Rumblepad 2 USB controller plugged in.

To run Manic Miner you do:

cd ~
mkdir -p retro/einstein/games
cp -iv MANICMINER.zip retro/einstein/games
cd retro/einstein/games
mame einstein -skip_gameinfo -window -flop1 MANICMINER.zip

You will see Tatung Einstein boot screen. If you want to see the contents of floppy disk drive #1, you can issue command DIR, but I did not do so here:

einstein boot screen

To load and start Manic Miner, issue command MANICXX and wait patiently:

einstein manicxx

Press ENTER (i.e. RETURN on PC keyboard)

please press enter

When prompted for a colour verification code, you can enter for example 1, 1, 1, 1 and press ENTER, because the friendly crackers have removed the verification logic, and this cracked version will accept any code as valid:

manic miner colour code

Choose Y for using joystick (i.e. our Logitech Rumblepad USB-controller):

manic miner joystick

Choose port 1:

manic miner joystick port

In the main screen, press SPACE to start Manic Miner:

manic miner start screen

The CENTRAL CAVERN looks authentic:

manic miner central cavern on tatung einstein

Gameplay is like it is supposed to be, but it is perhaps slightly faster than on Spectrum and Commodore 64. I only tested this version very quickly and completed EUGENE'S LAIR, and left it at that.


You now know how to install MAME and Tatung Einstein related ROM files. You also know how to start classic retrogame Manic Miner on Tatung Einstein emulation using MAME.

I am currently desperately searching for the original release of Tatung Einstein Manic Miner! If you have it for sale, please contact me via e-mail. I am willing to pay good money for that fantastic game. Thanks for any help!

Have fun!

Kalevi Kolttonen <kalevi@kolttonen.fi>
Helsinki, Finland
February 15th, 2019