Marble Madness

Marble MadnessBuy this gameThe Game: You control the speed and direction of a marble which is racing other marbles to reach the finish line. Obstacles along the way include marble-eating creatures, treacherous cliffs and drawbridges, and the game’s own trakball controller! (Atari, 1983)

Memories: One of the most bizarrely abstract games to emerge from the post-Pac-Man ’80s, Marble Madness is like a virtual homage to those wooden maze-under-glass games, in which you’d try to shift the game to various angles and get a ball bearing to go where you wanted it to go. Marble Madness does away with the moving-the-whole-maze element and puts the marble under its own power – and that’s just where the frustration begins!

Marble MadnessIn the grand tradition of Lunar Lander and Asteroids, what you’re really fighting in this game is just physics, and a decently simulated set of physical rules at that. You can roll the trakball madly and give your marble an unstoppable head of steam – which works great until you need to, well, stop. Even apparent straightaways can be deceptively deadly.

The graphics and sound are worthy of note here, with gorgeously-shaded isometric 3-D 4 quarters!environments, and almost new-age-ish music that sets a relaxed mood. And in later stages of the game, that’s about the only way Marble Madness would let you relax. It’s an often-unsung classic. A sequel, Marble Madness II: Marble Man, was under development at Atari, but never saw the light of day.

Marble Madness
Marble Madness

About Earl Green

I'm the webmaster and creator of and its video game museum "sub-site", Phosphor Dot Fossils.
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