Lost In Translation/Marble Madness

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This page is a stub for arcade games that are part of the Lost In Translation series using information based on MAME (version 0.113u2).
For an example of preferred content and layout please refer to Out Run or The Ninja Warriors.


Marble Madness
Marble Madness marquee.
Marble Madness title.
Marble Madness control panel.
Manufacturer Atari Games
Released 1984
Control
Method
Trackball
Main CPU 68010 (@ 7.159 MHz)
M6502 (@ 1.790 MHz)
Sound CPU Stereo
YM2151 (@ 3.580 MHz)
POKEY (@ 1.790 MHz)
TMS5220 (@ 650.826 kHz)
Video
Details
Raster (Horizontal)
336 x 240 pixels
59.92 Hz
1,024 Palette colours
Screens 1
ROM Info 30 ROMs
451,584 bytes (441.00 KiB)
MAME ID marble · marble2 · marble3 · marble4

About The Game

Marble Madness is an arcade video game.

Two players can play at the same time and compete to reach the goal first. The player controls a red marble or a blue marble via the correspondingly colored Trak-Ball controls.

The player's main goal is to race toward the goal in minimum time by maneuvering his red or blue marble along treacherous paths high atop the unique cubic raceway. The timer ticks away and ends the game if the player does not reach the goal in the allotted time. Numerous obstacles and unfriendly creatures on the raceway try to destroy the marble. The marble will always magically reappear, but, of course, several precious seconds on the timer are lost.

As the action begins, the player skillfully maneuvers the blue or red marble down the raceway, through numerous obstacles, toward the goal. As the player nears the bottom of the screen, the raceway automatically scrolls upward, revealing more of the raceway. Note that in a one-player game, only the blue ball is active on the screen, but either the blue or red Trak-Ball may be used to maneuver the blue marble.

Upon reaching the goal area, action briefly stops while the player's points are tallied. Bonus points are awarded for unused seconds on the timer and for finishing the race without losing a marble off the edge of a cliff. In the two player game, the players can race along cooperatively, each going for maximum points, or they can compete by bumping each other into hazards or off the cliffs.

The action resumes on Raceway Two where the player encounters the first adversaries; the Black Steelie and the Green Marble Munchers. The Black Steelie and the Marble Munchers' sole purpose is to try to block the way to the goal. Remember, the player must reach the goal before the timer runs out to advance to the next raceway! The player can complete six different raceways, each successive one requiring more skill.

Trivia

Released in December 1984.

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.

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.

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

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.

Scoring

Action Points
Moving the marble (per unit) 10
Taking a jump (Practice race only) 3,000 to 6,000
Killing Black Steelie 1,000
Going through a tunnel or tube 2,000 or 4,000
Rolling over an enemy (Silly race only) 500 + 3 seconds of time
Finishing a race Race number x 1,000
Finishing a race Seconds remaning x 100
Finishing the game 20,000 + 1,000 per second remaining
Finishing the game -1,000 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. 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.

Series

  1. Marble Madness (1984)
  2. Marble Man - Marble Madness II (1991)

Staff

Designed/Graphics By
Mark Cerny
Programmed By
Bob Flanagan
Sound By
Hal Canon
Brad Fuller

Cabinet and Artwork

Ports

Box art for the Electronic Arts port of Marble Madness.
Alternate box art for the Electronic Arts port of Marble Madness.
Consoles 
FM Towns Marty
Nintendo Famicom (1988)
Nintendo Game Boy (1991)
Sega Mega Drive (1991)
Sega Game Gear (1992)
Sega Master System (1992)
Sony PlayStation (1998, "Arcade's Greatest Hits - The Atari Collection 2")
Nintendo Game Boy Color (1999)
Sony PlayStation 2 (2003, "Midway Arcade Treasure")
Nintendo GameCube (2003, "Midway Arcade Treasure")
Microsoft XBOX (2003, "Midway Arcade Treasure")
Sony PSP (2005, "Midway Arcade Treasures - Extended Play")
Nintendo Game Boy Advance (2005, "Marble Madness / Klax")
Computers 
Tandy Color Computer (1985, "Marble Maze")
PC [Booter] (1986)
Commodore C64 (1986)
Apple II (1986)
Amstrad CPC (1986)
Commodore Amiga ("Marble Madness", 1986, Electronic Arts)
Sinclair ZX Spectrum (1987)
PC [MS-DOS] (1987)
Atari ST (1989)
Sharp X68000 (1991)
PC [MS Windows, CD-ROM] (1998, "Arcade's Greatest Hits - The Atari Collection 2")
PC [MS Windows, CD-ROM] (2004, "Midway Arcade Treasure")
Others 
LCD handheld game (1989) released by Tiger Electronics.


Soundtrack Releases

Album Name Catalogue No. Released Publisher Comments
That's Atari Music -G.S.M. ATARI GAMES 1- PCCB-00066[1] 1991-07-21 Pony Canyon/Scitron CD version.
That's Atari Music -G.S.M. ATARI GAMES 1- SCDC-00313[2] 2003-12-03 Scitron Digital Content Inc. CD version.
Electroid : Rebuilt N/A[3] 2005-01-01 N/A CD version.
Arcade Ambiance 1986 N/A[4] 2004-08-27 Andy Hofle Digital download only.

Sound Comparison

Platform Song Titles Sound Source
Arcade "Level 1" "Player 1 Reaches Goal" "Player 2 Reaches Goal" "Level 2 Preview" "Level 2" "Level 3 Preview" "Level 3" "Level 4 Part 1" M1 v0.7.8a6


Platform Song Titles (Continued...) Sound Source
Arcade "Level 4 Part 2" "Level 5 (Silly Race)" "Level 6 Preview" "Level 6 (Ultimate Race)" "High Score Entry" "Game Over" "Congratulations" M1 v0.7.8a6

External Links

References

The contents of this page are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
The sources used include MAME (version 0.113u2) and history.dat (revision 1.28 - 2008-10-18).
Please see http://www.arcade-history.com for credits.