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|System(s)||Arcade, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Apple IIGS, Atari Lynx, Commodore Amiga, GBC, NES, Sega Genesis, Mobile, Game Gear, SMS, DOS, Atari ST|
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Marble Madness is an arcade video game designed by Mark Cerny, and published by Atari Games in 1984. It is a platform game in which the player must guide an onscreen marble through six courses, populated with obstacles and enemies, within a time limit. The player controls the marble by using a trackball. Marble Madness is known for using innovative game technologies. It was one of the first games to use true stereo sound—previous games used either monaural sound or simulated stereo—and it was Atari's first to use the Atari System 1 hardware and to be programmed in the C programming language.
Beginning in 1986, the game was ported to numerous platforms with different companies handling the conversions; several home versions were published by Electronic Arts, Tiger Electronics released handheld and tabletop LCD versions of the game, and it was ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System by Rare. In 2003, the game was included in the multi-platform title Midway Arcade Treasures, a compilation of classic games developed by Williams Electronics, Midway Games and Atari Games. Electronic Arts announced a mobile phone port for 2010 that would include additional levels with different themes and new items that augment the gameplay.
Marble Madness is an isometric platform game where the player manipulates an onscreen marble from a third-person perspective. The player controls the marble's movements with a trackball, though most home versions use game controllers with directional pads. The aim of the game is for the player to traverse six maze-like, isometric courses before a set amount of time expires. Each course has its own time limit, with the remaining time left over from completing a course added to the succeeding one. The game also features an option which allows two players to race against each other on the courses.
Courses are populated with various objects and enemies designed to obstruct the player. As the game progresses, the courses become increasingly difficult and introduce more enemies and obstacles. Each course has a distinct visual theme. For example, the first course, "Practice", is a simple course that is much shorter than the others, while the fifth course, "Silly", features polka-dot patterns and is oriented in an opposite direction from the other courses.