The 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 unreliable controls! (Midway, 2000)
Memories: Color me impressed. Atari‘s Marble Madness coin-op, based on the company’s System 1 architecture, was an eye-opener when it hit the arcades in 1984. And it’s still an eye-opener with Digital Eclipse’s stunning port of the game for the Game Boy Color. Marble Madness sports some of the most impressive color graphics yet seen on a Game Boy – but the same maddening and frustrating game play as its inspiration.
I always found Marble Madness a bear to control, even with the coin-op’s trakball. But it’s a bigger, hairier bear with the Game Boy’s joypad. If you think the diagonal control scheme necessary to play Q*Bert is difficult with a joypad, try emulating controls based on a free-floating trakball. Marble Madness becomes infuriating in this context, even if it is nice to look at.
An excellent arcade port let down by frustrating controls.