Catalogue of Arcade Emulation Software - the Absolute Reference

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Marble Madness (set 2)

Marble Madness (c) 12/1984 Atari Games.

An abstract and wholly unique game in which the player must steer a marble through a number of courses to reach the goal before the time limit expires. Obstacles, such as marble munchers, acid pools and an evil black marble add to the already difficult task of navigating the tricky, forced-perspective mazes.

The levels themselves feature ice patches, ramps, funnels and catapults and some levels offer alternate paths to the goal. If the timer runs out before the goal is reached, it's game over - but the player will sometimes be 'charmed' with extra time. Each level has its own stereo audio score.


Game ID : 136033

Main CPU : 68010 (@ 7.15909 Mhz), M6502 (@ 1.789772 Mhz)

Sound Chips : YM2151 (@ 3.579545 Mhz), POKEY (@ 1.789772 Mhz), TMS5220 (@ 650.826 Khz)

Screen orientation : Horizontal

Video resolution : 336 x 240 pixels

Screen refresh : 60.00 Hz

Palette colors : 1024

Players : 2

Control : trackball


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.

Marble Madness was the first game to run on the new Atari System 1 hardware upon its 1984 release, 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.

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

A Marble Madness machine was shown at the 2003 classic arcade games show 'California Extreme' in San Jose, California.

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.


* 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.


1. Marble Madness (1984)

2. Marble Man - Marble Madness II (1991)


Designed / Graphics by : Mark Cerny

Programmed by : Bob Flanagan

Sound by : Hal Canon, Brad Fuller


* 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 (1986)

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.