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Marble Madness

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Released: 1984

Genre: Puzzle

Format reviewed: NES/Famicom

Publisher: Atari Games

Developer: Atari Games

Submitted by: Bob Reinhard

What do you get when you cross the childhood fun of marbles with the mind-melting art style of M.C. Escher? You get many flung NES controllers, that's what.

Though rolling a marble around an obstacle course may seem like a simple design, through the use of traps, enemies, and a basic physics engine, the game proved to be challenging at times. More so if you add the arcade version’s roll ball.

With aggressive enemy marbles, strange snake creatures, and the occasional moving trap blocking your path, the game kept a decent variety despite being fairly short and using very minimal gameplay mechanics (you just roll a ball around, after all…)

Future ball-rolling puzzle games like Super Monkey Ball really lend themselves to Marble Madness’ unique style and simple fun. Even if that fun comes at the expense of having to roll you hrough a level multiple times just to learn the best path. And sometimes that requires A LOT of trial and error. A lot.

Was it fun? Sure. Was it annoying? Absolutely! But it was unique, and had the sequel actually panned out, it could have been a series that kept being built upon for later systems.

You can watch a speed run of the game here: http://youtu.be/k154KxQ2Sw8