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Marble Madness

Arcade Video game published 40 years ago by Atari Games Corp.

Listed in MAME

Marble Madness screenshot

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

Goodies for Marble Madness
Click to enlarge
(members only)

Game ID : 136033

Runs on the "Atari System 1" hardware.

Players : 2
Control : trackball


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.

3,270 units were produced. The original selling price was $1,795.

Marble Madness was the first game to feature true stereo sound; it was the first game to truly capitalize 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.

Default highscore table (TROUBLEMAKERS) :
#1 C R 14,500
#2 UFO 14,000
#3 GJL 13,500
#4 SKP 13,000
#5 PCT 12,500
#6 PTR 12,000
#7 JDH 11,500
#8 DAT 11,000
#9 JFS 10,500
#10 DAR 10,000

Stan Szczepanski holds the official record for this game with 187,880 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.

Goodies for Marble Madness
Click to see more
(members only)
Moving the marble 10 points per unit
Taking a jump (Practice race only) 3,000 to 6,000 points
Killing Black Steelie 1,000 points
Going through a tunnel or tube 2,000 or 4,000 points
Rolling over an enemy (Silly race only) 500 points + 3 seconds of time
Finishing a race race number x 1,000 points
Finishing a race seconds remaining x 100 points
Finishing the game 20,000 points + 1,000 points per second remaining
Finishing the game -1,000 point penalty for every death during the game.

* 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 1 or 2 player Start and press 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 playing with 2 players, the winner of each level gets a bonus 5 seconds. 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.


Atari 7800 : Unreleased prototype
europe australia Nintendo NES (1989)
usa Nintendo NES (mar.1989) "Marble Madness [Model NES-MV]"
europe Sega Master System (1992) "Marble Madness [Model 27024]"
usa Sega Genesis (1993)
europe Sega Mega Drive (1993)
japan Sega Mega Drive (aug.13, 1993) "Marble Madness [Model T-48113]"
usa Sony PlayStation (dec.31, 1997) "Arcade's Greatest Hits - The Atari Collection 2 [Model SLUS-00449]"
europe Sony PlayStation (june.1998) "Arcade's Greatest Hits - The Atari Collection 2 [Model SLES-00712]"
usa Sony PS2 (nov.18, 2003) "Midway Arcade Treasures [Model SLUS-20801]"
usa Microsoft XBOX (nov.24, 2003) "Midway Arcade Treasures"
usa Nintendo GameCube (dec.18, 2003) "Midway Arcade Treasures [Model DOL-GAKE-USA]"
europe Microsoft XBOX (feb.6, 2004) "Midway Arcade Treasures"
europe Sony PS2 (feb.6, 2004) "Midway Arcade Treasures [Model SLES-51927]"
usa Microsoft XBOX 360 (nov.6, 2012) "Midway Arcade Origins"
usa Sony PlayStation 3 (nov.6, 2012) "Midway Arcade Origins [Model BLUS-31083]"
europe Microsoft XBOX 360 (nov.15, 2012) "Midway Arcade Origins"
europe Sony PlayStation 3 (nov.15, 2012) "Midway Arcade Origins [Model BLES-01768]"

usa Nintendo Game Boy (may.1991) "Marble Madness [Model DMG-MB-USA]"
usa Sega Game Gear (1992) "Marble Madness [Model T-48058]"
europe Sega Game Gear (1992) "Marble Madness [Model T-48058-50]"
europe Nintendo Game Boy (may.21, 1992) "Marble Madness [Model DMG-MB-NOE]"
usa Nintendo Game Boy Color (dec.1999) "Marble Madness [Model CGB-ANNE-USA]"
europe Nintendo Game Boy Color (mar.13, 2000) "Marble Madness [Model CGB-ANNE-USA]"
usa Nintendo GBA (aug.16, 2005) "2 Games in One! Marble Madness + Klax [Model AGB-B68E-USA]"
europe Nintendo GBA (sept.16, 2005) "2 Games in One! Marble Madness + Klax [Model AGB-B68P-EUR]"
usa Sony PSP (dec.13, 2005) "Midway Arcade Treasures Extended Play [Model ULUS-10059]"
europe Sony PSP (feb.24, 2006) "Midway Arcade Treasures Extended Play [Model ULES-00180]"

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

usa LCD handheld game (1989) released by Tiger Electronics.
usa Mobile Phones (sept.2004)
usa BlackBerry (nov.12, 2009) [Model 4315]
usa Windows Mobile (feb.1, 2010)
usa Apple iPhone/iPod (apr.23, 2010) [Model 367932500]

When looking for arcade games in a casino, it can be a hard find. Australian online casinos do offer some of arcade games, although the Canadian people love re-made old games with a gambling element. To overview all Aussie casinos, you can check this newsbtc article. From Canada? Check this Canada resource for more.

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