On other MAME builds (mame32 for example) you have the option to change the controller to X-Arcade or other arcade controllers. It then automatically maps the controls for that device.
This is more powerful than setting up the controls manually as games with different amounts of buttons can have the buttons assigned differently.
I'm not sure how this is implemented, IIRC there is a controllers/ folder with a .ini file for each controller, and which ini file to use can be specified from the command line.
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