Marble Craze - Atari 2600



TV Type:  NTSC        PAL      

The concept for Marble Craze arose from those wooden games that have two knobs used to tilt a board, rolling a marble through a maze in an attempt to avoid the holes. To properly simulate one of these games, both paddle controllers are utilized, one to control the vertical movement and the other to control horizontal movement. A simultaneous two-player mode is also available.

Includes cartridge and full-color manual. Available in NTSC and PAL television formats, please specify above when ordering.

Author Paul Slocum
Number of Players 1 - 2
Controller Paddles
Cartridge Size 32K
Label Design Daryl Litts
Andrew Logan on 09/07/2018 12:06am
Marble Craze has quite a bit of content lots of unique levels and it's one or two Player. Start up screen looks awesome and so does the text. The way to play the game takes a few mins to get used to but people are complaining a little too much about it. I actually think that is pretty innovative on what they did for controls Also some pretty cool music in the game. Definitely check this one out if you liked those wooden marble puzzle games as a kid.
kb9snl on 03/03/2014 12:30pm
This game is pretty spectacular. I found that if you hold a paddle on each leg, sitting in a chair or the like, you can maintain pretty good control of the marble.

This is a game that will take some practice to gain good control of, and it is a great challenge, if not frustrating at times!

Presentation is top notch for an Atari 2600 VCS cart, excellent label, nice instructions that look very professional, and on screen, a title screen with music and animation, and the game itself is gorgeous and well desgined, with little flicker.

Worth the price.
StanJr on 11/07/2009 08:34pm
Tough. Very fun, very inspired, but this game is extremely challenging. If you are a big fan of finesse games, then welcome home, but if "try again" isn't in your vocabulary, go elsewhere.

Marble Craze is an amazing game. Well worth a 5 rating, but the difficulty will necessitate a 4. I love this game, but I find that I generally only play it in stretches. The game take practice and non-jittery paddles. You'll want to play it several times to get used to the controls and learn the mazes. Once you do, you can easily become addicted and play for hours and days, but if you take too long of a break, you'll want to spend some time getting reacquainted.

Marble Craze features some of the best music a VCS game has ever had and Paul Slocum proves his mastery over the hardware by getting more out of this cart than he really should be able to.

While I think this game belongs in every collection, if you are like me, it will be that game that you get out every once in a while and dedicate some time to rather than one you just plug and play now and again. It will be that "really amazing game that you should play more than you do." (like Space Shuttle).
Brian Clark on 05/10/2006 11:56am
Marble Craze was my first purchase from Atari Age and one reason why I plan to keep coming back. The labels, cart design, and manual are all very well done. The game is excellent. I love the control scheme for this game. It uses two paddles, one for horzontal ball control and one for vertical. The levels are extremely well designed with plenty of surprises. The later levels are especially wild. The music is excellent and among the best I heard on the 2600. It's especially amazing how the game has multiple tunes. This is one sweet game! Highly recommended!
Nathan Strum on 03/28/2006 04:28am
Well, I may be the lone dissenting voice about Marble Craze. It's a cool idea for a game, but it can get so frustrating that I can't whole-heartedly recommend it. The first obstacle you have to overcome is just figuring out how to use two paddles at once. You have to keep them stationary somehow, or the game is unplayable. I tried taping them to the tops and sides of various objects, but after a lot of trial and error (mostly error) what worked for me was just placing them on an upside-down mouse pad on a TV tray. The textured rubber on the bottom of the pad grips the paddles and keeps them from moving (rubber drawer liners from a hardware store would also work).

That solved, Marble Craze becomes playable, but is still extremely difficult. Often I'd find myself stuck somewhere in a maze, repeatedly running out of time or falling off the edge until the game finally, mercifully, came to an end. The game doesn't always play fair, either. When you lose a life, it will usually place you at a different location than where you died. So if you die right after getting through a particularly difficult section of a maze, you may have to repeat it all over again. Worse still, is if you go off the edge of the maze, you aren't given any extra time on your next life. So if you fall off with only a second or two remaining, you'll instantly lose another life as soon as you come back.

The graphics and original music are excellent, and the mazes are (generally) well designed. But the difficulty level may be a turn-off if you aren't prepared for it. For me, the game is more often frustrating than fun. Support for the 2600's Trak-Ball controller might have helped, but it's not an option.
Paul Panks on 01/03/2004 01:46pm
Marble Craze is a masterpiece. If Mr. Slocum had worked for Activision in the early 80s, he'd be up there with the Rolling Stones of today.

From start to finish, Marble Craze is tour de force for the Atari 2600. The graphics are well suited for the gameplay, and the mazes are as creative and unique as any I have ever seen.

The sound is also incredible, especially when you consider the limited sound capabilites of the VCS. There is a pulse-pounding, synthesized feeling to every sound Marble Craze hypnotically churns out. It not only adds to the atmosphere of the game, but it reveals a tremendously upbeat tune as well.

Overall, Marble Craze deserves to be at the top of every Atari 2600 video game library.
Ben Valdes on 05/30/2003 10:43pm
I'm very impressed with Paul Slocum's Marble Craze. The dual paddle control is not merely innovative, it's absolutlely PERFECT for the game. Once you've fiddled with the paddles for a minute or two, your control of the game is just like that of the real Labyrinth after which it was modeled. Paul even thought to include horizontal and vertical position indicators (or is it pitch and yaw?), a very nice touch which helps keep you from oversteering the controls.

And then there's the music. Really, it's very impressive considering the limitations of the 2600 and in the absence of a DPC chip inside the cart.

Marble Craze has it all. It's challenging, fun, graphically and visually appealing, and it's addictive as anything out there. But what impresses me most about this game is that there is absolutely NOTHING like it for the 2600. It's truly a great, grerat homebrew. Marble Maze is a programming masterwork which, even in their glory days, Activision or Atari would have been proud to have claimed as their own.

Get it. Marble Craze will change your list of Top 10 games forever.
Tony Morse on 01/06/2003 12:07pm
Truly a programming marvel, showcasing things no one
thought possible on a 2600 five years ago, Marble Craze is an addictive yet extremely difficult game that is not for
Let's get the cosmetics out of the way. Marble Craze is based
on those simple toy mazes in which you tilt the board in different
directions in order to navigate the maze with a marble. As such,
there isn't much call for stellar graphics, although the animation
of the marble is quite good. In order to accommodate two players at
once, the game is split-screen, and there's also a nice 'vortex'
effect when the second player is absent.
But make sure to crank the volume when you play because the
tunes absolutely ROCK!

The object of Marble Craze is to maneuver
a marble through a maze, ultimately reaching the goal. In order to
accurately simulate the feel of tilting a board, Craze utilizes two
paddle controllers, one for horizontal and one for vertical motion.

I often find myself becoming more enraged than
entertained. And it only gets harder, as the mazes get narrower and
you have to contend with uphill ramps that you need speed to clear.
In short, this game gets very hard, very quickly. If your fuse is
short, it may be wise to shy away from Marble Craze.

Steve Juon on 12/17/2002 08:28pm
I was excited the very first time I read a preview page of this release, because as a kid my parents bought me one of the wooden maze ball games the concept is based on. When I found out it was going to be available at the CGExpo I was attending, I was even MORE excited. Then my heart crashed when word spread around the convention floor that the carts were defective and couldn't be sold. They left a sign-up sheet where you could leave your name and e-mail address to be contacted later, and I thought that would be the end of it. Lo and behold on Sunday I learned that all of the carts had been tested and SOME of them actually worked, so Paul was going to release a few to whoever was still around to get one. I stood right there next to the display for it for 20 minutes until Paul came back, put a few in his special tins, and put them up for sale. Timing and luck, I managed to get a working copy of this game and even got Paul to autograph it. When I got home, I discovered it had been worth ALL of the worry and the wait. There are not many homebrews more spectacular than this on 2600 - it's very well animated (with almost no flicker), has a FULL SET OF BACKGROUND MUSIC (how many 2600 games homebrew or OTHERWISE can say that) and is far from easy to play - it's quite a challenge to even this veteran gamer! You might not get the limited edition in a special tin that I did in Las Vegas, but that's no reason to pass up on this one of a kind Atari game that proves the 2600 was never really dead - it just went on hiatus for a little while!
Chris Larkin on 12/17/2002 12:27am
Most certainly the best 2600 homebrew ever written... If you are going to buy a homebrew game... this is the one you HAVE to buy.

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