June 30, 2022

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30 years later, the world can now play the lost Marble Madness II

30 years later, the world can now play the lost Marble Madness II
Zoom / A glimpse of what could be…

Oric Lawson | Getty Images

For decades, Atari scrapped the arcade prototype Marble Madness II It was One of the “Holy Grail” that has not been imitated For the popular multi-platform MAME emulator. This has limited gameplay to a handful of rare treasury collectors and convention goers. But that changed this week, with a complete unexpected and unexplained leak Marble Madness II ROM it It can now be played by the whole world.

After confirming the authenticity of the ROM by comparing its gameplay to existing picks, we looked at how and why this game ran across simulation – and spoke to the community experts about Marble Madness IIIt’s a unique blend of exciting arcade history and disappointing gameplay.

two tales Marble Madness II‘s

First, a bit of background. In 1991, seven years after the successful release of marble madnessAtari Games has set out to create a sequel that includes “more of everything,” designer Bob Flanagan said. In a 2020 interview with Antstream. This prototype is a subtitled sequel marble manPacked with 17 large and complex mazes, plenty of new enemies, three-player support, a pinball-style bonus game, and even power-ups that allow players to fly through the level or crush threats in their path.

the original marble man Prototype of Marble Madness II Some animations appeared at the highest level.

Initial tests for marble man Cabinets with internal focus groups and On an external test site It didn’t go well, though. While that may be the result of stiff competition from new, brighter tanks like Street Fighter IIAtari blamed the performance on the trackball controls.

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From concentration we learned that trakball [sic] It is the most intuitive control of ball dribbling, and it is the control required for the discerning player,” Atari wrote in “Internal Changes.” Marble Madness II“Document Archived by historians at AtariGames.com. “But, the joystick was seen as an easier control for beginners to learn the game. Thus, we would like to change the trackball to a joystick and see if we gain a wider audience.”

We all love a good “what if” story, [and] Unreleased games like this one are the closest we’ve come to an alternate reality.

Founder of the Video Game History Foundation, Frank Cevaldi

Flanagan later called the switch to the joystick control system and accelerator button a “mistake” motivated by a lack of confidence in players. “By the time the game was due to be released, more people had played the game this way in the local market and didn’t even know what a trackball was,” he told Antstream.

in early time marble man Testers reportedly reacted poorly to the short animation in which the Marble transformed into a human-faced superhero, and shot soundtracks like “The Adventures of the Marble Man” (as seen in These shots are from the collector). These transformations have been described as “comic, stupid, and meaningless,” according to the Atari documentation, leading the team to “remove Marble Man from the entire game” for a second prototype.

“I made the design decision to target a very young audience with the character of the Marble Man,” Flanagan told Antstream. “I should have kept it as abstract as the original.”

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نموذجان من <em> Marble Madness II </em> In the hands of one collector.  Note the joystick and button controls for the locker on the right.” src=”https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/protomm2.jpg” width=”461″ height=”614″”/><figcaption class=

two Marble Madness II Prototypes in the hands of one collector. Note the joystick and button controls for the locker on the right.

Second, trackball-free, marble-free Marble Madness II It is said that the prototype was not much better than the first in limited site tests. Instead of reworking the game again, Atari Games is running fast Expanded production plans to Marble Madness II to refocus it hood guardsa simple melee featuring numbered human representatives. marble madness Designer Mark Cerny who Not involved in development From either of the two complement models, He told Next Generation magazine In 1997 that “there are at most 10 to 12 councils” for the unfortunate Marble Madness II.