51 Shades of Geek

Marble Madness

Marble MadnessThe 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.

Marble Madness Marble Madness

Marble MadnessI 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 1 quarteremulating 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.

Marble Madness

About Earl Green

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