Marble Madness

screenshot

The [Coin-Op] Arcade Video Game by Atari Games Corp. [Milpitas, CA, USA]

 
DESCRIPTION
 
[Coin-Op] Arcade Video Game

Marble Madness © 1984 Atari Games Corporation.


Marble Madness is an abstract maze game for one or two players. The game's goal is to guide a small glass marble over a three-dimensional maze and reach the finish line before the level's timer has expired. Any seconds that remain on the timer when the finish line is crossed are carried over to the next level.

As well as having to negotiate the marble over treacherous walkways and ramps, numerous obstacles and unfriendly creatures will try to slow the marble's progress or knock it over the edge of a platform, wasting yet more precious seconds until a replacement marble appears. The two-player game has players competing to reach the goal first.

Marble Madness features six different mazes.
TECHNICAL
 
PICTURE :
1
Marble Madness machine
Click to enlarge (members only)
Game ID : 136033

Runs on the "Atari System 1" hardware.

Players : 2
Control : trackball
TRIVIA
 
Marble Madness was released in December 1984.

Marble Madness was the first game to run on the new Atari System 1 hardware and was the perfect showcase for Atari to demonstrate the technical superiority of its new arcade architecture. It was also the first game to feature such impressive and cleanly rendered pseudo 3-D Graphics. The original design brief called for the trackball to be motorized and synchronize its spin with that of the marble, to simulate inertia.

Mark Cerny was only 17 years old when he joined Atari and designed Marble Madness. The game was designed as part of a contest Atari ran at the time, allowing outsiders to design a game. Mark was very well known for his game-playing skills and easily won the contest. He then taught himself how to program in assembly language before joining Atari, so he found it very easy to settle in at Atari.

3270 units were produced. The original selling price was $1795.

Marble Madness was the first game to feature true stereo sound; it was the first game to truly capitalise on what in-game music could offer the player, with each level having its own distinctive, and suspense building soundtrack. Marble Madness was also one of the few games of the time to have a definite goal, in that the game ends when all levels are completed.

The race names are :
1. Practice
2. Beginner
3. Intermediate
4. Aerial
5. Silly
6. Ultimate

Default highscore table (TROUBLEMAKERS) :
#1 C R 14500
#2 UFO 14000
#3 GJL 13500
#4 SKP 13000
#5 PCT 12500
#6 PTR 12000
#7 JDH 11500
#8 DAT 11000
#9 JFS 10500
#10 DAR 10000

Stan Szczepanski holds the official record for this game with 187880 points.

A sequel to this classic game, entitled "Marble Madness 2 - Marble Man" was fully developed and a very small number of cabinets were built, but unfortunately the game was never released. Unlike the first game's superb trackball control, 'Marble Man' was controlled via a joystick.
SCORING
 
Moving the marble : 10 points per unit
Taking a jump (Practice race only) : 3000 to 6000 points
Killing Black Steelie : 1000 points
Going through a tunnel or tube : 2000 or 4000 points
Rolling over an enemy (Silly race only) : 500 points + 3 seconds of time
Finishing a race : race number x 1000 points
Finishing a race : seconds remaining x 100 points
Finishing the game : 20000 points + 1000 points per second remaining
Finishing the game : -1000 point penalty for every death during the game.
TIPS AND TRICKS
 
Hints :
1) Anticipate your next move and start the Trak-Ball rolling in that direction ahead of time.
2) Complete each raceway as fast as possible because extra seconds mean extra points, and the extra time from one raceway is carried over to the next raceway
3) Try to maneuver around the Black Steelie, or try to bump him off a cliff to get rid of him permanently.
4) Move quickly to avoid being swallowed by the green Marble Munchers.
5) Watch for patterns, and time your movements right to pass by difficult obstacles.
6) Some raceways have alternate paths, so explore a bit and you may find an easier way to reach the goal. Bonus points are given for paths which are more difficult.

Cancel The Timer : Begin a game and then hold down either the 1 or 2 player Start and press the 'service switch' twice. The first press will glitch the screen display slightly - the second will remove it and give you 99 seconds to complete the level. This method adds 60 seconds to the clock, after which the normal countdown will begin. The clock will not appear to be counting down during the first 60 seconds, probably because the 99-second display was overflowed by the extra 60 seconds added. This method can be used multiple times per level for virtually infinite play time.

When you play 2 players, the winner of each level gets a bonus 5 seconds (I was better than my brother, so I'd always get the 5 seconds :D). If your opponent can make it as far as the silly race, that's an extra 25 seconds for the ultimate race, not to mention a possible extra 10 seconds with a wand. The opponent can also continue once (with the same time as the other player).

This isn't really a trick, but some people don't realize it : On the practice race, don't move when you start, and after a few seconds, a ramp will appear that will slide away the ball.
STAFF
 
Designed / Graphics by : Mark Cerny
Programmed by : Bob Flanagan
Sound by : Hal Canon, Brad Fuller
PORTS
 

Consoles:


Atari 7800 [unreleased prototype]
Nintendo NES europe [AU] (February 1989)
Nintendo NES usa (March 1989)
Nintendo Game Boy usa (May 1991) "Marble Madness [Model DMG-MB-USA]"
Sega Game Gear usa europe (1992)
Sega Master System europe (1992) "Marble Madness [Model 27024]"
Nintendo Game Boy europe (May 21, 1992)
Sega Genesis usa (1993)
Sega Mega Drive europe (1993)
Sega Mega Drive japan (August 13, 1993) "Marble Madness [Model T-48113]"
Sony PlayStation usa (December 31, 1997) "Midway Presents Arcade's Greatest Hits: The Atari Collection 2 [Model SLUS-00449]"
Sony PlayStation europe (June 1998) "Midway Presents Arcade's Greatest Hits: The Atari Collection 2 [Model SLES-00712]"
Nintendo Game Boy Color usa (December 1999) [Model CGB-ANNE]
Nintendo Game Boy Color europe (March 13, 2000)
Sony PlayStation 2 usa (November 18, 2003) "Midway Arcade Treasures [Model SLUS-20801]"
Microsoft XBOX usa (November 24, 2003) "Midway Arcade Treasures"
Nintendo GameCube usa (December 18, 2003) "Midway Arcade Treasures [Model DOL-GAKE-USA]"
Microsoft XBOX europe (February 6, 2004) "Midway Arcade Treasures"
Sony PlayStation 2 europe (February 6, 2004) "Midway Arcade Treasures [Model SLES-51927]"
Nintendo Game Boy Advance usa (August 16, 2005; "Marble Madness / Klax [Model AGB-B68E-USA]")
Nintendo Game Boy Advance europe (September 16, 2005; "Marble Madness / Klax [Model AGB-B68P]")
Sony PSP usa (December 13, 2005) "Midway Arcade Treasures: Extended Play [Model ULUS-10059]"
Sony PSP europe (February 24, 2006) "Midway Arcade Treasures: Extended Play [Model ULES-00180]"
Sony PSP [PSN] usa (June 28, 2010) "Midway Arcade Treasures: Extended Play"
Microsoft XBOX 360 usa (November 6, 2012) "Midway Arcade Origins"
Sony PlayStation 3 usa (November 6, 2012) "Midway Arcade Origins [Model BLUS-31083]"
Microsoft XBOX 360 europe (November 15, 2012) "Midway Arcade Origins"
Sony PlayStation 3 europe (November 15, 2012) "Midway Arcade Origins [Model BLES-01768]"
Microsoft XBOX 360 [Games on Demand] usa europe [AU] (August 13, 2013) "Midway Arcade Origins"

Computers:


Tandy Color Computer usa (1985) "Marble Maze"
Atari ST usa (1986)
PC [Booter] usa (1986)
Commodore C64 usa europe (1986)
Apple II usa (1986)
Amstrad CPC europe (1986)
Commodore Amiga usa europe (1986)
Sinclair ZX Spectrum europe (1987)
PC [MS-DOS] usa (1987)
Sharp X68000 japan (March 15, 1991)
FM Towns PC japan (1991)
NEC PC-9801 japan (1991) Marble Madness
PC [MS Windows, CD-ROM] usa (January 1, 1999) "Midway Presents Arcade's Greatest Hits: The Atari Collection 2"
PC [MS Windows, CD-ROM] usa (August 27, 2004) "Midway Arcade Treasures"
PC [MS Windows, CD-ROM] europe (November 23, 2004) "Midway Arcade Treasures"

Others:


LCD handheld game usa (1989) released by Tiger Electronics.
Mobile Phones usa (September 2004)
BlackBerry usa (November 12, 2009) [Model 4315]
Windows Mobile usa (February 1, 2010)
Apple iPhone/iPod usa (April 23, 2010) [Model 367932500]
SOURCES
 
Game's manual.
Game's ROM.
Game's picture.
See goodies section.

Page last modified on March 31, 2014
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