Raspberry Pi as MAME box?

I posted something similar in DIY/Hacks, but no one seems to lurk there.

I was thinking of getting a Raspberry Pi to use as a MAME box. However, I know next to nothing about Linux. And about the same amount about the Raspberry Pi.

So, could I get this to run a MAME, have it store my ROMS, and can I connect a game pad up to it?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.