#75 Marble Madness

Posted: 28th November 2016 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , ,

560th played so far


Genre: Action
Platform: Arcade
Year of Release: 1984
Developer: Atari Games
Publisher: Atari Games

For our ongoing Midway PSP trials, Marble Madness is next. One of those games that I remember playing on the NES in my youth, the isometric perspective seeming really special.

Replaying it today, I know what to expect – but what do I still remember?

Our Thoughts

The core conceit of the game, guiding a marble across the field (by controlling it directly, no twisting as we saw with Mercury Meltdown) to the goal. The isometric perspective creates these towers with plenty of places to fall down and slopes that mess with your ascent. Soon, other mechanisms show – enemies that push you away or kill you, tubes for jumps and bridges that open and close.

The difficulty of the game actually ramps up quite quickly, probably thanks to its origins as an arcade game. The interactions feel relatively complex too – there’s a lot going on in each level, making for a varied experience, but presumably also one that would be a bit much for a lot of systems. The ramp up is still frustrating, though, because as a home player I just can’t get as far as I want, with too many failures on each go.

Final Thoughts

Marble Madness is a good, fun concept for a game that probably would have been too simple for later generations, but was there at the right point to be entertaining. Its complexity might have meant that the game had to be shorter and ramp up difficulty quicker than I’d like, but that also means a relatively large amount of content was pushed into these areas. Still worth trying.

  1. […] days, but doesn’t use the human characters moving around and mostly looks like a version of Marble Madness. It’s not exactly that – instead it’s more of an exploration game like Knight […]