MAME roms cannot be scanned into playlists in Retroarch

Hello. I am trying to scan MAME into a Retroarch playlist using the folder scanning option. First of all, I am using the September 15th build of Retroarch. I have installed the MAME core, created a folder and placed the rom file I’m using into it. I then go to the Scan Directory option, navigate to my directory, and scan it. Nothing happens after that. With all other cores though, my ROMs will show up in console specific playlists, but not for MAME. These games can still be played however if they are launched from the directory, so they are not bad files.

I have tried this with the MAME2003 core, the MAME core, and various other builds. I have tried it with all of them installed, or with only one of them installed. None of these configurations have made any difference. I have validated my roms using ClrMamePro from a couple different MAME distributions, and it has not made any difference. I have tried other roms, but the one I am specifically trying now is the free “” file provided on the official Mame developers’ website. No matter what I do none of them can be scanned.

To replicate my problem:

  • Install Retroarch
  • Download the “” rom from the This is the official developer of MAME and this rom file is provided by them, free for non-commercial use. I am pointing to this file because it is important that we be able to validate that the problem is not with a specific file, and this can be done by making sure all testing is done with the same file.
  • Place that file in an empty directory.
  • In Retroarch, scan that directory.
  • No playlist containing should appear in the XMB
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Try rezipping your roms with torrentzip, sadly the way RA scans arcade roms is extremely bad : it’s checking the crc of the zip file as a whole, but crc of a zip file, even with the same content, is totally random if you don’t use torrentzip, and i believe the scanner expects those files to be zipped with torrentzip (to be honest, i can’t guarantee it will work anyway, RA’s playlists are a big no-no for me because of how the scanner handle arcade roms, in those conditions i prefer using external frontends).

If it still doesn’t work you’ll have to use third party tools to generate those arcade playlists, i believe there are some tutorials about those on this forum.


@cloudywings2 small typo in your link:

I suggest using external tools.

According the mame.rdb database has
crc32: 218E6D28
The downloaded *.zip has
crc32: E9C19E68
and after torrentzipping
crc32: 699A3CEC
so it is consistent that the scanner won’t recognize your file.

There are a lot of threads in this forum addressing this problem.
Try to search for “playlist buddy”. It’s a tool written by markwkidd

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How do I do this? I saw it referenced on the guide but no instructions on what it does or how to use it. The only guide I have seen says that the folder containing my rom should be dragged onto the torrentzip icon, but once it outputs the logfile there seems to be no difference in the properties of the file.

Which one of these is wrong then? Surely the mamedevs aren’t distributing an incorrect file?

I don’t know how familiar you are with command line tools and checksums.

From the Torrentzip website:

The goal of the program is to use standard values when creating zips to create identical files over multiple systems.

This doesn’t happend with other programs therefore the checksum may vary.

But this is entirely irrelevant when it comes to scanning your roms.
When there is no entry for the right checksum in the database, then your rom isn’t recognized.
This will NOT mean, that you have the wrong rom, but that the entry for the rom is MISSING in the database.

Usually torrentzipping helps, as the crc32 requested by the RetroArch database requires this step, but if there is no entry, than you have to resort to other tools with different scanning methods.

As you can see here, you are not alone with this problem:

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