Marble Drop: MIT Competition Produces Trendy Game

Words With Friends. Candy Crush. Angry Birds. Those are just a few of the games we all know and, perhaps, are addicted to. Luckily I’ve been able to avoid those addictions, but that could be coming to an end thanks to two MIT students. 

I was recently introduced to Matt Arbesfeld, a junior at MIT, who gave me the scoop on his new game that launched on July 13th called Marble Drop. 

Marble Drop is a creation between Arbesfeld and Matt Tancik, who met each other on their first day at MIT in their dorm, Conner 3.  Since then, they have been fixing lots of different college life problems together.  They have built an app that allows them to play synchronized music over their iPhones, outfitted their dorm rooms with LED lights, which flash to the beat of music, and they also created a device to monitor the progress of their Thanksgiving turkey. 

Their most successful project, however, is Marble Drop, a game that is played precisely as the name states, by dropping marbles. They created Marble Drop as part of the MIT iOS Games Competition this past January and went on to win the competition along with $6,000 in prize money.


At the time of the competition they had about 30 levels of gameplay built out. Between then and their public launch they added another 30+ levels, polished up the game and added new challenges and features.


Arbesfeld tells me he and Tancik realized early on that their skills complemented each other perfectly. Arbesfeld the coder type and Tancik the design type. Tancik was the initial conceptualizer of their very cool chalkboard design.  Anyone with a chalkboard wall in their office can relate to the look. 

The two actually started sketching out levels on paper and originally explored mimicking that look on the phone, but Tancik would ultimately spin out the chalkboard look, which they found much more appealing. 

So how do two colleges kids come up with this concept? An ordinary trip to the Museum of Science. 

Arbesfeld and Tancik were taking in a feature at the museum where you could guess and track where marbles would land after falling through a giant maze. It wasn’t long before they realized this would be a pretty cool (and addicting) game on your phone. 

Strategically, they launched during the start of the World Cup with hopes that people lounging and waiting around for the games to start would download the game, get addicted, love it, share it and share it some more.  Within the first 48 hours, over 4,000 users downloaded Marble Drop and played over 100,000 levels.

Since then they’ve continued to climb in the rankings and garner over 2 million levels played. Click here to download!

Arbesfeld, who is currently out in San Francisco for an internship (and is hanging with some Thiel Fellows) tells me he doesn’t plan on leaving school early for any entrepreneurial endeavors. He is enjoying his time at MIT and doesn’t have an imminent project in the works so the need isn’t there anyway.

However, Arbesfeld and Tancik are clearly driven to build and with their early experience and initial success with Marble Drop, the two are likely to be working together for years to come. It’ll be interesting to see what they come up with next because, as Arbesfeld said, “it likely won’t be Marble Drop forever.”

Josh Boyle is Director of Community & Marketing, VentureFizz. You can follow him on Twitter: @jb_sid