is a 1984 arcade game by Atari
, created by Mark Cerny. The game is an isometric puzzle game, controlled by a trackball, where you lead the eponymous marble to a goal while dodging obstacles through six courses with artwork inspired by M.C. Escher
. The game also features two-player competitive mode.
Not only was it the first Atari game to use the Atari System 1 hardware and be programmed in the C language, but it was also the first video game to use true stereo sound.
Surprisingly, a sequel was in the works for release in 1991, but was cancelled at the prototype stage due to fear of it flopping against games such as Street Fighter II
, and Snake Rattle n Roll
- Acid Pool
- Blow You Away: One level has vacuums that either blow you off the course or suck you in.
- Color-Coded Multiplayer: In two-player games, one player controls a blue marble and the other controls a red marble.
- Comeback Mechanic: In the two-player mode, the winner of each race is determined by who reaches the goal first. This could be seen as a boon to a player who keeps falling behind, since the reward for winning a race is a five-second bonus for the course that follows.
- Compilation Re-release: The game has been re-released many times, most notably in Midway Arcade Treasures Vol. 1.
- Dark Is Evil: The black marbles will often try to impede your progress, but they can be avoided.
- Hyperspace Mallet: One of the obstacles in the fourth course.
- Isometric Projection
- Mind Screw: The Silly Course, where going uphill is like going downhill and vice versa, among other things.
- Nintendo Hard: The final three courses, due to a combo of narrow track designs and low time limits.
- One-Hit-Point Wonder: The marble you control, except when colliding with another marble. Otherwise, it's as fragile as it looks..
- Spiritual Successor: Super Monkey Ball is basically Marble Madness in 3D with monkeys and Nintendo Hard difficulty.
- Timed Mission: The marble technically has infinite lives—it's the timer you have to watch out for.
- What Could Have Been: The aborted 1991 sequel.