The majority of arcade games in MAME were originally displayed on a 4:3 monitor, either displayed horizontally, or rotated nintety degrees, with the monitor displayed vertically in the cabinet, at a 3:4 ratio. Most home gaming consoles prior to PlayStation 2 were also designed to display on 4:3 televisions.
Today's computer monitors and televisions are typically 16:9 ratio screens; 33% wider than 4:3 screens. This means when you play most games in MAME on today's monitors, there is extra black space on both sides of the gameplay area.
For some reason, this angers a LOT of people.
As most In-Game Artwork from this site is attempting to simulate actual arcade artwork, it gives similar results: black space on the left and right, and the additional effect of the game screen not stretching to the top and bottom of your monitor.
This, also, seems to anger a lot of people.
Back in 2011, I was directed to a site for a guy going by hausjam, who decided to do something about that. Below is much of the original text from his page:
- Since 4:3 format monitors are so rare these days (and 20" or smaller if you can even find them) I was deciding between a 30" computer monitor, or a 32" LCD TV. They are both roughly the same height. In the end, I settled on a 27" HannsG monitor for its 3ms response time. Either way, the arcade games, especially the 3:4 games left alot of blank screen. So I decided to make artwork to fill in the dead space, and on some games, show what controls do what (particularly the fighters). Most of the artwork was obtained from Mr Do's site and modified by me to fit the widescreen format. His artwork is top-notch. Some of the others I created myself using graphics found at Local Arcade and other places on the web. Feel free to use them if you like them.
I liked how his artwork came out back then, so after getting his approval, added it to our Other Artwork page.
Since that time, there has been a rise in those who create widescreen artwork. Some of it I really, really, like, and at some point, we hope to add more of it here. Some of it... well... some others I just do not really care for the style in which they are presented. But that's just, like, my opinion, man. Other users like it, so best wishes to them.