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Here are three interesting letters regarding Marble Man: Marble Madness 2.


From Alex Rosenberg
Date: Mon, 05 Dec 1994
To: btribble@ocf (Bobby Tribble)
Subject: Re: Marble Madness 2?

btribble@OCF.Berkeley.EDU (Bobby Tribble) wrote:

Marble Madness is one of my favorite arcade games, and I was wondering if anyone here has information about the sequel Marble Madness 2... From what I heard this arcade game was finished but never went into production. Has anyone played it, or know what the gameplay was like? And, why scrap it? I've seen lots of crud games out there. I've never seen it, but wasn't Spy Hunter 2 pretty bad?

I played it when it was on test at Golfland in Sunnyvale. I even went to a focus group at Atari Games about it. There's not too much to tell: they increased the complexity in the game by adding very short term powerups (helecopter rotor to hop up to special places, an invincibility thing that might have been steel couting, etc.). They built a three player trackball cabinet (same as Rampart) and a two player joystick cabinet with "Turbo" buttons. There were lots of levels, including an underwater one (falls were slow, etc.). The biggest problem was that they had personified the marble. It was "Marble Man: Marble Madness 2" or something like that. When you crossed the finish line, you'd jump up with a cape and a face and a booming "MARBLE MAN" proclamation. It was particularly gruesome when the marble happened into a acid puddle.

I agree that it was a mistake for Atari Games to fail to bring this product to market, but they seem to have a self-destructive desire to not ship good products.

- Alexander M. Rosenberg


Date: Tue, 6 Dec 1994 01:11:00 -0800
To: Bobby Tribble
Subject: Re: Marble Madness 2?

So I take it the game and cabinet had at least some kind of test run? It's too bad the game never came out, it sounds really fun. If someone comes out with a conversion of Marble Madness for a system (the Jag =) they should be sure to include this one. I don't suppose this was a Type 1? (is that what they're called? I'm referring to the small line of Atari arcades that could be converted to other games in the same category)

It was a later design (1991?). It used a 68020. (I asked during the focus group.)

You mention that having the marble be "a man" was the main problem... Was he a guy walking around, a marble that sometimes turned into a man, or something different... If the marble gained a body to jump up in the air at the end, I don't see it being much of a problem in gameplay (though I think the whole "marble man" idea is kind of tacky, or at least cheesy =)

The personification was only in death and win sequences. It was just a bad idea that probably came from the marketing weasels.

Finally, you didn't mention what year this came out, I'm curious as to how long it took to make this sequel. One of these sounds like it should belong in that video game arcade museum in St. Louis...

Atari Games produced an awful lot of really good games that never made it to market that would want to be in a collection before MM2. Chalk it all up to Street Fighter II. They didn't ship a game unless it tested well at the same time that nobody could compete with SF2. It was silly. You should see all the Hard Drivin' sequels that never made it. BMX Heat, Airborne, etc.

- Alexander M. Rosenberg


To: btribble@ocf
Subject: Marble Madness 2
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 94 11:15:00 PST

Marble Madness is one of my favorite arcade games, and I was wondering if anyone here has information about the sequel Marble Madness 2...

Well, I programmed the original game for the arcade, along with Mark Cerny who was the designer (now of 3DO-Crash 'n Burn fame).

About 3 years ago I led the Marble Madness 2 project at Atari Games.

From what I heard this arcade game was finished but never went into production. Has anyone played it, or know what the gameplay was like? And, why scrap it? I've seen lots of crud games out there.

We field tested the game, and it did average, but that was not enough for the Atari Games Sales team. It was awesome (if I do say so myself, chuckle, chuckle).

The game had 3 sections plus the final track moving upward. Each section had 4 tracks that needed to be completed with shared time, and the a bonus wave (single screen pinball playfield) where you accumulated time for the next section. The final wave was "King of the Mountain". At the very top was a tricky ice pathed mountain that was very difficult to get up. We placed all the original characters through-out the game, and added many new ones.

I've never seen it, but wasn't Spy Hunter 2 pretty bad?

Yes!!!!

Anyhow, thanks...

Sure.

Bob Flanagan
(10 previous years at Atari Games)

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