Marble Madness is an arcade video game designed by Mark Cerny, and published by Atari Games in 1984. It is a platform game where 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.
In designing the game, Cerny drew inspiration from miniature golf, racing games, and artwork by M. C. Escher. He aimed to create a game that offered a distinct experience with a unique control system. Cerny applied a minimalist approach in designing the appearance of the game's courses and enemies. Throughout development, he was frequently impeded by limitations in technology and had to forgo several design ideas. Upon its release, Marble Madness was commercially successful, becoming a profitable arcade game. Praise among critics focused on the game's difficulty, unique visual design, and stereo soundtrack. (more...)