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

Zoom / A glimpse of what could be…

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For decades, Atari scrapped the arcade prototype Marble Madness II It was one of the unsimulated “holy grails” of the popular MAME multiplatform emulator. This has limited game access to a handful of rare tank collectors and convention goers. But that changed this week, with the complete unexpected and unexplained leak Marble Madness II ROM that 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.

A tale of two series

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 However, tanks with internal focus groups and at an external test site did not go well. While that may be the result of stiff competition from new, brighter tanks like Street Fighter IIAtari blamed the performance on the trackball controls.

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 trakball 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 as close as possible to alternate reality.

Founder of the Video Game History Foundation, Frank Cevaldi

Later, Flanagan called the switch to the joystick control system and the accelerator button a “mistake” motivated by the players’ mistrust. “By the time the game was scheduled to launch, more people had played the game that way in the local market and didn’t even know what a trackball was,” he told Antstream.

in early time marble man Testers have also reportedly responded poorly to short animations in which the marble transforms into a human-faced superhero, and soundtracks like “The Adventures of Marble Man” (as seen in this stills from 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.”

نموذجان من <em> Marble Madness II </em> In the hands of one collector.  Note that there are no track balls.” 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 that there are no track balls.

Second, trackball-free, marble-free Marble Madness II It is said that the prototype did not do much better than the first in limited site tests. Rather than reworking the game again, Atari Games quickly scrapped broader production plans for Marble Madness II to refocus it hood guardsa simple melee featuring numbered human representatives. marble madness Designer Mark Cerny, who was not involved in developing either of the two complementary models, told Next Generation magazine in 1997 that “there are at most 10 to 12 panels” of the doomed Marble Madness II.

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