Setup HyperSpin MAME and Hyperlaunch – The Full Guide

I rarely start a blog by referring to another one, but if you have not take a few min and read through our “Build a Home Arcade Machine” post.  It will give you the high level overview of everything involved in building a home arcade, both from a hardware and software perspective.  Setup HyperSpin MAME and Hyperlaunch – The Full Guide is designed for noobs to individuals with intermediate knowledge of setting up a home arcade machine.

Here is a video walk through of HyperSpin

This blog is specifically designed to find, install, and configure HyperSpin, Hyperlaunch (rocket launcher), and Mame.  Also keep in mind that HyperSpin is only supported in Windows/Android, but this entire guide assumes you are using a Windows pc.  Note:  You will see some people selling “HyperSpin Drives” they say are ready to go…  They will save you the hassle of finding and collection emulators, roms, and artwork files, but you will still need to configure everything which is the most time consuming part.  Also if you need to troubleshoot anything you will have no idea what to do.  I strongly suggest building it yourself.  This guide walks you through everything step by step so if you have issues later you will be able to quickly identify and remedy.  It is fairly easy to download the games, artwork, etc in bulk.  If you have a “hyperspin drive”, then you can use this guide to get everything setup and working.

Please check out our control panel kits as they will save you a ton of time setting up your new arcade.

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Definitions (The build a home arcade machine post above goes into greater detail)

  • HyperSpin – The frontend pretty arcade interface you look at when selecting systems and games
  • HyperLaunch (Rocket Launcher) – The work horse in the back ground that will launch the system and the game based on what you select in HyperSpin – Note: It is now called “Rocket Launcher” so in this guide those terms are interchangeable.  
  • MAME/Emulator – Software that makes your computer think it is the arcade machine or console system
  • Rom file – Is the specific arcade or console game cartridge/cd


    • Get the Setup Files
    • Get everything installed
    • Where/How to get game roms
    • Setup Hyperlaunch and MAME
    • Clean up your game list
    • Launching HyperSpin
    • Get Game Artwork and Video previews
    • Cleaning Up HyperSpin Systems Wheel
    • Conclusion

Get the Setup Files

To get started here are the download files you will need.  You will need to create free accounts at both HyperSpin and Hyperlaunch to gain access to the download files.  Do not install or open anything yet, just get it all downloaded.

Get MAME here.  I am using a 64-bit Windows.

Mame Install File

Get HyperSpin here.  Get both the main install and then whatever upgrade is available based on the latest date published.

HyperSpin Install File

Get HyperLaunch (RocketLauncher) here. (archive password if you are asked is “” without quotes)

HyperLaunch Install File

Start Installing Files

Let’s start with HyperSpin since all files, etc will be placed in this master folder.  You will probably want to put it on the root of the drive you are going to be putting a majority of the install on for example c:\HyperSpin or d:\HyperSpin etc.  I chose to put it on my root of C:\ drive.  Make sure and call the folder HyperSpin.

HyperSpin Extract

You will end up with this…

HyperSpin Extract output


Do the same thing to the HyperSpin folder with the most updated version of HyperSpin and overwrite any files it asks you to.

Next we will install RocketLauncher by extracting it into a folder you create called RocketLauncher.  Since I did mine on C at C:\RocketLauncher I will extract into a folder I created called RocketLauncher (archive password if you are asked is “” without quotes)  DO Not install it into your HyperSpin folder as it will cause issues

HyperLaunch Extract

We will put mame in our HyperSpin\Emulator\MAME folder.  NOTE: You will need to create a folder called MAME in your HyperSpin\Emulator folder.

Create MAME Folder for Emulator

The MAME installer is a self extracting archive, so double click it and extract to that newly created folder.

MAME Extract

You will end up with all the MAME files in that folder

MAME Emulator Folder

Getting Roms or Game Files

Before we add MAME to HyperLaunch so we can launch games in HyperSpin, I want to make sure you have your ROMs folder setup or created.  You need to create a folder on your hard drive where you will keep game roms for all systems.  Keep in mind you will need a bit of space especially if you want to do more modern systems like PS1, PS2, DreamCast, etc.

So again, create a “roms” folder on that drive and inside create another folder called “MAME”.  Put your arcade MAME roms in that folder.  They will be in zip or 7z and chd format.  Do not unzip them.

MAME Roms Folder

If you need to get the rom files they are all over the internet.  We do not host them here, but you may want to understand the term torrent and how to get them.  We have a full guide on bit torrent protocol here.  The best public site I know of you can access here.  You will want to get both the roms and chd MAME merged titled like “[FREE] MAME 0.188 CHDs (merged)” and [FREE] MAME 0.188 ROMs (merged).  For this writing .188 is the latest version, you will get the newest version of both the emulator and rom/chd files.

So have your roms and mame folders created with the roms in it as the picture above.

RocketLauncher and MAME Setup

We will now get to where RocketLauncher can “launch” or start your mame games.  Open RocketLauncherUI in the folder C:\HyperSpin\RockerLauncher\RocketLauncherUI.  Keep in mind we are opening the “UI” not the rlauncher.exe so make sure you have the correct folder.  If it tells you there are updates go ahead (click check updates at bottom) and apply them using the built in auto updater.

We need to add HyperSpin as the Default frontend so it can pull in the settings from HyperSpin.  In RocketLauncherUI click the RocketLauncherUI tab at the top.  Add a frontend with the green plus sign and do not forget to save with the picture of the disk.  See pic below for settings.

Hyperlaunch default frontend

Once you have added HyperSpin, highlight it then press the red circle to set it as default.  You will see some systems load on the left.  Then press the folder icon with the pin to set HyperSpin as the default system.

Hyperlaunch default frontend selection

We need to set some general setting so RocketLauncher uses the correct hyperspin locations and default settings.  Under the “General Settings” tab, Rocket Launcher Tab, Base Settings select HyperSpin from the drop down for the Default Plug in.  Next click the eye glass under paths “Default Frontend Path” and select your hyperspin.exe file.


Congrats.  You have linked RocketLauncher with HyperSpin.  We now need to add MAME location information to RocketLauncher.

      • Click on Global on the far left (under systems)
      • Then go to the emulator tab
      • Click the green plus arrow and fill out the information for your MAME, then press the disk save button.  My settings are below:

hyperlaunch set up emulator

Now click on the MAME system on the far left, then emulators tab.  You will need to set your ROM path to your MAME roms folder and then a default emulator by pressing the magnifying glass and selecting the global “MAME” emulator we just created.

hyperlaunch set up rom path

RocketLauncher now has the details it needs to play games in MAME.  With MAME still highlighted Select the games tab at the top and then hit the blue arrow.  This will bounce your rom collection off of the MAME games database in HyperSpin which is located in C:\HyperSpin\Databases\MAME.xml.  It was created when you extracted HyperSpin.

hyperlaunch games audit

The green are games found against the master list and the red are ones in which you do not have roms.  In most cases you will have the correct version and the red will hopefully be all the clones available for the games that junk up your HyperSpin wheel in my opinion.  I like having the original game only.

Test your setup by selecting a game in green and pressing the red rocket ship to launch it.

hyperlaunch launch game

Success (I hope)!  It should have launched the game.  Press the left then right keys on your keyboard to accept and go into the game.


We will go through setting up controls later, but I know you want to play.

Here are the default keyboard buttons for many games:

      • 5 – Insert Coin
      • 1 – Start
      • Arrows – Move
      • Ctrl – Action Button 1
      • Alt – Action Button 2
      • Space – Action Button 3
      • Mouse – Analog Control (needed for some games)
      • P – Pause
      • ESC – Quit MAME
      • F2 – Service Mode
      • Tab – MAME Options Menu

You can press the “tab” key on your keyboard and configure controls.  Also check out our guide on configuring your controls in HyperSpin using joytokey!

MAME ini file

You will want to configure specific MAME settings well as define to MAME where the rom files are located.  We will use this info later so HyperSpin does not have games visible that you do not have rom files which will junk up your wheel.  You need to generate a MAME.ini or settings file to do this.

      1. Open a CMD prompt (hit start and search for “CMD” without quotes and press enter)
      2. type “cd\” and press enter
      3. now the location of your mame file by “cd HyperSpin\Emulators\MAME” press enter
      4. now type “mame64 -cc” press enter you will need a space between 4 and -cc

MAME ini Generation

Open the newly created MAME.ini file with notepad in the C:\HyperSpin\Emulators\MAME folder

MAME ini

You can put the path to your roms for now and save the file back.  Again, this is the file you can use later to make changes to your MAME setup if needs be.

MAME ini rom path

Getting HyperSpin to use RocketLauncher

We need to let HyperSpin know we are going to use RocketLauncher to launch games.  For the upgraded 1.4 hyperspin or higher we will simply change some settings text.

Open your HyperSpin\Settings\Settings.ini file and set the path were you installed RocketLauncher.  Example Hyperlaunch_Path=C:\RocketLauncher\RocketLauncher.exe  This way when we select “HyperLaunch” (the old way to launch games) in a few min, it will actually use rocketlauncher.


Configuring HyperSpin via HyperHQ

We need to make a couple configuration changes in HyperHQ which is the program designed to control HyperSpin.  It is a green icon in your C:\HyperSpin folder.

hyperhq start

By default HyperSpin will not launch in full screen.  Go to Main Settings – Screen tab and select full screen.

hyperhq full screen

Now we need to put in some MAME settings.

      • Go to Wheel Setting tab and select MAME from the drop down
      • Set Execution to Hyperlaunch (this will use RocketLauncher)
      • Hit the folder next to executable and locate your MAME64.exe file
      • Now put in the rom path to your MAME roms
      • Add the extensions of your rom files and put a comma in between, example “zip,7z” without the quotes
      • Close the program

MAME hyperHQ settings

We can also tell HyperSpin to only show MAME games in which we have roms in our roms folder.  Otherwise you will see the entire list of games including ones you do not have.  With MAME system still selected hit the “Navagation/Themes” tab and check the “roms only” box.


HyperSpin Artwork and Finishing up

You now have everything to play HyperSpin.  It will not be pretty, but it will play.  Go ahead and test HyperSpin by launching it.  The executable is in the HyperSpin folder (red icon).

hyperspin launch

Go into your MAME wheel and launch a game.  You will notice you do not have any artwork, but everything should work as expected.

MAME empty

The esc key will get you out of HyperSpin.

Artwork and Game Preview Videos

So now you will want artwork to get the full benefit of HyperSpin.  I am a “software” for free kind of guy, but you have a decision to make here.  Getting the artwork is huge pain in the ass for free.  if you spend some $, getting artwork and videos is automated for all systems you add to HyperSpin.

Free long way

I am going to give you the $.02 tour on the free way before you decide to spend some money and have it automate.

      • You need to download each game artwork theme from here one by one and place in your C:\HyperSpin\Media\MAME\Themes folder

game themes

      • You can get the low quality video snaps from Emumovies website here.  You will put them in your video folder located at C:\HyperSpin\Media\MAME\Video

video snaps

As you do this game artwork will show up in HyperSpin.

game artwork

Automated way –  There is a program called HyperSync that will automatically add higher quality videos and all the game themes etc.  You will need Platinum membership ($45 for lifetime) at and paid membership at Emumovies ($30 for 1 year then $20 per year or $65 lifetime).  So you are in for around $75 which is a lot for software, but in my opinion it is total worth it just so you can set it and forget it.  Also, contributing to both companies for all they provide I believe is reasonable.

Once you upgrade at both sites then you can open HyperSync located in the C:\HyperSpin\HyperSync Cloud folder.

hypersync open

Click the picture of the bathroom man and enter your credentials for both sites and okay.

hypersync credentials

Press the picture of the arcade then select MAME and yes you want to set it up.

      1. Select update database in the bottom left
      2. Select “default all” settings under each of the three tabs System, video, and Main Menu
      3. Very important to press the “set” button next to assigned to MAME at the top.

hypersync mame media config

When you pressed update database you should see the games listed.  Make sure and turn on box artwork etc.

hypersync box art

Close it out.

Next click the Sync tab and select MAME and all media.

hypersync sync

Press Begin Sync and get a beer or coffee.  It will do everything for you.

You will now notice all the artwork and videos are in place when you launch HyperSpin!

hyperspin wheel artwork

Cleaning Up HyperSpin Systems Wheel

You will notice by default HyperSpin has many more systems than just MAME.  I am going to show you how to clean it up if you wish.  Keep in mind you can follow this guide over and over with other emulators and systems to add everything to your HyperSpin install.

Go into HyperHQ again and click Main Menu Wizard tab, then remove item from Main Menu

hyperhq remove system

You can just remove from the database so it simply will not show up.

hyperhq remove system from database


So this probably took you a few hours, much less than it did my first time, and much less than it did for me to write this up.  It is somewhat involved and I have not seen a seamless guide putting together all of the pieces so hence this one.  You should be able to use the same principals above for each emulator as you setup all the systems. [Tweet “Setup HyperSpin and MAME”]

Here is our comprehensive guide on configuring you controls in HyperSpin using joytokey.

If you want to add guns and House of the Dead PC games check out our guide Setup Dual AimTrak Light Guns with PC House of the Dead 1 2 3/MAME

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Let me know if it helped you in the comments or if there is anything else I should add.