The unreleased sequel to the 1984 arcade game Marble Madness has recently been found and dumped. MAME dev David Haywood was able to get it working in MAME and released the driver needed to allow anyone to try it out. If you’re just looking to see what the game is like, check out David’s footage above and the download links are below for people looking to play it in MAME. And of course, check out the interview with David below if you’re interested in his work. Also, Kyle Orland from Arstechnica did an excellent writeup of the history of the two failed attempts at launching the sequel and I strongly recommend it for anyone curious about the full story.
MAME Driver: https://github.com/mamedev/mame/pull/9819
Arstechnica Post: https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2022/05/after-30-years-the-world-can-now-play-the-lost-marble-madness-ii/
While the original was a good game, I think one of the reasons it’s remembered by so many is because of how many platforms it was ported to. The Wikipedia page lists Arcade, Amiga, Apple II, Apple IIGS, Atari ST, C64, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, Game Gear, Master System, Nintendo Entertainment System, IBM PC, Genesis, X68000, ZX Spectrum…and I’m sure there’s other (official or not) ports floating around. That’s a timespan of over twenty years, allowing many generations of kids to experience it.
While I played the NES port of the game as a kid, I’d actually never played the original arcade game until later in life. The use of a trackball as a controller completely changed the experience. I mean, it makes sense – Use a ball to control a ball – but having only played it with a d-pad, this was a revelation. The game’s creators even noted this about the sequel and tried releasing a version with an arcade stick to compensate for people who’d never used the trackball. In hindsight, I think the better move might have been the opposite: Maybe bundle a trackball with console releases and offer two modes of play? Maybe I’m wrong, but having that awesome experience might have led to multiple home sequels that each used the trackball controller. I guess it’s easy to speculate almost forty years later though!