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MaLa wants to Unzip ROM instead of playing it


I've been at this for a few days and can't figure it out. I used to be a MaLa pro but that was about a decade ago. It seems I've gotten rusty.

I'm building a bartop using only the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A through mame. I have no mame roms except for the TI-99 bios files living in the /roms/ folder. I have all the requisites to run mame, catver and all that. When I go to run a game, it dings and pops a 7zip "where do you want to extract" dialog. The roms run fine from a DOS prompt. I've searched many forums and even went through unclet's guide a couple times. Any ideas?

The DOS command below works fine. Here is the relevant section of my log and it looks like it should be passing the same command... trying to run Munch Man (

--- Code: ------------------------------------------------------
2022/12/02  17:53:02.43   Info: Starte: Current Memory used: 57,704 K
2022/12/02  17:53:02.43   Info: Starte: Cancel any Display & Video Delay due to game start
2022/12/02  17:53:02.43   Debug **: Starte: Video windows Disabled as Game is about to be launched
2022/12/02  17:53:02.45   Debug **: Starte: EMU_OTHER
2022/12/02  17:53:02.46   Info: Set dir: C:\mame\
2022/12/02  17:53:02.46   Info: Starte:: Starting Game : munchman .Create process: mame.exe ti99_4a -cart munchman
2022/12/02  17:53:19.78   Info: Starte: Ending Game:  >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Quit:
2022/12/02  17:53:19.80   Info: Current Memory used: 57,920 K
2022/12/02  17:53:19.82   Info: Ended Game: Set back dir: C:\MaLa\
2022/12/02  17:53:19.82   Info: Focus: Force main form into focus. ++++++++++++++Does it help?++++++++++++++++
2022/12/02  17:53:19.82   Info: FormActivate:
2022/12/02  17:53:19.83   Debug **: FormActivate: NOT FStarting
2022/12/02  17:53:19.84   Debug **: Hardware: Display LCD
2022/12/02  17:53:19.85   Debug **: Hardware: DisplayLCD - Not connected
2022/12/02  17:53:19.85   Info: Layout Video: Starting delay timer after game quit
2022/12/02  17:53:19.85   Debug **: Sound Trigger (if set) SOUND_QUITGAME ---------------------------------------------------

--- End code ---

So I tried the same setup on other machines, thinking mine may be messed up, but I get the same behavior.

I decided to let the 7zip do its thing in a TEST folder and this is what I get. It recreates the entire MAME structure.

Well, I couldn't figure it out so I switched to Attract Mode. I'm doing a super simple setup and I just imported my MaLa layout and things are working fine.


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