Atari’s unreleased Marble Madness II game has been leaked online after more than three decades

What just happened? For decades, the only way to play the unreleased Marble Madness sequel from Atari was through a few typical arcade cabinets. Everything changed this week with the unexpected ROM leak for Marble Madness II, and no one seems to know why.

As the story goes, Atari developed a sequel to Marble Madness and created a few prototypes for internal focus group testing in the early 1990s. The reviews weren’t too warm, however, and Atari blamed the trackball controls. Another prototype was made with an updated control scheme that replaced the trackball with a joystick and an acceleration button, but it did not work much better.

Instead of trying a third time, Atari abandoned the game and moved on to another project. It was thought that a dozen or fewer gamepad models may have survived.

Recently, a ROM ready for Marble Madness II emulator has started to be popularized online. As Ars Technica points out, it’s unclear who’s responsible for the landfill, but longtime MAME contributor David Haywood has a theory.

“I think the most likely explanation is the simplest: a PCB appeared, the owner dumped the ROM data from it and put it in the Internet archive, not wanting the attention it might bring with a bigger announcement to the public,” Haywood said.

The leaked ROM is the second version of the game without a trackball. Its release is significant from a historical point of view but that doesn’t make it a good game.

“Marble Madness II is a classic example of [when] “A beautiful game was made and the sequel totally forgets why the original was so great,” said Jason Scott of the Internet Archive. “I am glad that this long-awaited game has been released into the wild, where people can realize how tender the game is. And go ahead.”

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“I think Marble Madness has sparked a lot of imagination, and whether or not the sequel is worth it, it’s hard not to be intrigued by the idea,” added Frank Cevaldi, founder of the Video Game History Foundation. We all love a good ‘what if’ story. [and] Unreleased games like this one are the closest to a glimpse of alternate realities. »

image credit: Arcade Hunters

Tess Larson

<p class="sign">"Tv geek. Certified beer fanatic. Extreme zombie fan. Web aficionado. Food nerd. Coffee junkie."</p>

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