Mystery Pic

Mystery pic - where did it first appear
and what did it show?

 (May-June 1998)


June 30, 1998
One more day left before the tru7h about the mystery pic (above) is revealed.


June 29, 1998
Concerning the Voracious Rabbits' Myth site report about Bungie's early name (see below) Matt Soell <matt@bungie.com> had this to say:

Bungie's original name was not "wideload" - it was Bungie.

"wideload.com" was intended for a different kind of venture (nothing to do with the production of computer games) which was put on the backburner as the task of running Bungie became more complex and time-consuming.

I'm not at liberty to discuss what it was about, but I suppose I can leak the Wideload motto:

"A load so wide we had to call it Wideload."

The simple moral of the story is "If it ain't in the Scrapbook it ain't worth diddly" ;-)


June 27, 1998
A source who wishes to remain anonymous writes:

I have something for you regarding the Oni/ Ghost in the Shell connection if you are interested. It's an image of the cover of issue 4 of the GitS manga that looks remarkably like the opening image of the Oni trailer. The image is Major Kusanagi. As I said, it's the original cover image to issue 4 of the manga. The character is a cyborg police officer. Sounds familiar. There is other info on the web. There are some significant parallels with the Infinity story. But you didn't get it from me!

You can see the cover of issue 4 of the Ghost in the Shell manga along with the opening image of the Oni trailor here.


Troy Lawlor <troy@munk.com> writes:

The Voracious Rabbits, a Myth clan and extensive news site, have uncovered an interesting tidbit about Bungie's past history. Appearently, Bungie's original name was 'Wideload', and Alex Seropian registered the domain 'www.wideload.com'. You'll find the complete story at:

http://www.vrabbits.com

And, reprinted from their page, is a response to the question "What is wideload and why is it registered to Alex Seropian?" from Doug Zartman:

"As soon as the Web became popular, people started buying up domain names left and right with no intention to use them, but simply to sell them to others who might want them later. In that climate, it was prudent for anyone who might want to use a particular name sometime in the future to register it right away, even if it might not be used for years, or ever.

Hence, Wideload. Bungie was this company's name from the beginning (Bungie was founded before the web even existed). I remember the first time someone told me about this thing called the World Wide Web - it sounded bizarre. Back then everyone used AOL."

Ah! Bungie's hidden past is coming out. ;-)


Liam Doughty <supercobra@geocities.com> writes to say that his Oni Central site now has a V3 URL at http://come.to/onicentral.


June 26, 1998
Simon Brownlee <simon.brownlee@pobox.com> and Nick Roemer <stompbox@wolfenet.com> both write to say that the line "From Marathon to Waterloo..." comes from the song "I Am The Very Model of a Modern Major-General". The song features in Gilbert and Sullivan's Opera "The Pirates of Penzance". The first part of the song goes as follows:

I am the very model of a modern Major-General,
I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical
From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical;
I'm very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical,
I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical,
About binomial theorem I'm teeming with a lot o' news,
With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse.

Simon sent in the following URL

http://math.idbsu.edu/gas/pirates/html/p13.html

if you want to read the full lyrics.

Nick points out that the opera has been made into various movies, as well, the best of which being the one with the same name as the play, starring Kevin Kline, Linda Ronstadt, Angela Lansbury, and others.

The question of course is whether the song line "From Marathon to Waterloo..." has anything to do with the naming of Waterloo Waterpark, the first level of Marathon 2?


June 25, 1998
Liam Doughty <supercobra@geocities.com>, maintainer of Oni Central, writes:

In a recent episode of Mad About You (read: old, I live in Australia:), there was a song. One line caught my attention, "from Marathon to Waterloo" (?Arrival to Waterloo Waterpark). Unfortunately I didn't listen to the rest of the song :(

If anyone has any details on this please pass them on to the Story page. Many thanks.


Liam also points out on his Oni Central site that Inside Mac Games magazine will be featuring a "special version" of the Oni Trailer in Issue 6-4. How different from the E3 version will it be? I guess we'll have to wait and find out.


June 24, 1998
Good news for Marathon's Story page fans the Story page is now mirrored at a 3rd site.

http://205.228.208.180/marathon/story/

This is in fact Steve (Midwest) Campbell's new monster 300MHz G3 dedicated to serving the Marathon community. Thanks to Steve for this Central Arm mirror. Thus you now have three URLs for all your story tidbits and news.

http://www.marathon.org/story

http://205.228.208.180/marathon/story

http://smd033.smd.tcd.ie

Hey!... one of them is bound to be up! ;-)


David Menendez <zednenem@psu.edu> writes:

I haven't had a chance to see the Oni video, but based on the comments I've read here and elsewhere, I'm reminded strongly of the anime film Ghost in the Shell (available in the US from Manga Video). The main character there is a full-replacement cyborg (ie, only the brain is human) who is beginning to have doubts about her humanity. There are several parallels one could draw with Oni and Marathon, but then parallels are easy to draw. It's determining their significance that's hard.

The video also helps explain why Marathon was so late. Look how much trouble it is to get Marathon boxes!


June 23, 1998
Access to the Story page at Marathon Central (www.marathon.org) has been restored. If you're wondering where all the updates came from since the downtime then you haven't been keeping up-to-date with the Story page's Tau Ceti mirror at

http://smd033.smd.tcd.ie

Might be an idea to bookmark it. :-)

Scroll down to find out what you've missed!


Carl Lineberry <dakril@texas.net> writes concerning the Infinity net level credits. See the Level Credits section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


Aaron Freed <aaron@packet.net> also writes concerning the Infinity net level credits. See the Level Credits section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


June 22, 1998
Martin Thorne <mhornet@hotmail.com> writes:

Upon opening a new game in PiD, the following message appears in the message window of the game:

PATHWAYS INTO DARKNESS
(c) 1993 Bungie Software Products Corporation
(c) 1993 Convergent Series, Incorporated
Programming by Jason Jones...
etc.

So where does Convergent Series, Incorporated come from? No mention of it is made anywhere on the box or the manual, and the disks mention something about licensors on the label but nothing very specific.


Interesting stuff. If anyone knows what Convergent Series, Incorporated is/was please let the Story page know. Thanks.


Thanks to Jim Head <jhead@mail.usyd.edu.au> for pointing out that Mac Gamer's Ledge have posted some more E3 pics. One is of the Double Aught crew. You can see it here. Put a name to that face!


June 21, 1998
Still unable to update the US mirror of the Marathon's Story page at www.marathon.org or at the new server at silver.teardrop.org. :-( Of course if you are reading this it shouldn't really matter.


Early days yet but there is now a web page dedicated to Oni, called Oni Central. Someone should tell the maintainer that the Oni trailer was pulled from Alex Okita's web site at http://www.okita.com/ several days ago.


June 20, 1998
Mihai Parparita <mihai@mscape.com> writes concerning the Oni trailer:

I believe that most of the overlays that show up in the Oni video are the actual interface of the game. The multicolored circular thing could be a health gauge, and also when Konoko is preparing to attack, and switching weapons you can see them translucently superimposed on the screen (a la Turok: the Dinosaur hunter). This would not only look cool, but it would also make a lot of sense if Konoko was a cyborg (or had some kind of implant). After all the Marathon interface doesn't really look like the HUD that it's supposed to be.


John Zero <jzero@onramp.net> writes concerning the Marathon-like symbol on the Kalashnikov site found by Bradley Attfield a few days ago:

The Kalashnikov logo is pretty close, but did you see the AK site's proffered "link GIF"? Check out the bottom of the page. The vector-line AK with cartridges looks suspiciously like... well, you know.

Yes indeed... very similar to Marathon's weapon inventory display.


Michiel Buisman <duality@total.gameaholic.com>, maintainer of that esoteric Duality gaming site, writes:

The name "Hfarl", the ship you boarded in "requiem for a cyborg" and Blake used to get away (M2 final screen) is derived from the 1986 movie "the Three Amigos".

In this film, a magic chant must be called near a singing bush, in order to summon the invisible warrior. Steve Martin says the undieing words: "farly farly Farly Farly FARLY!....Hfarrrrl!".

Steve pronounces Hfarl with a very loose "H", sharp "fa" (as in fart) and a long "rrrrr", in the back of the throat. the "L" is a finish of the "rrr", gradually moving the tongue from the back of the mouth to the upper teeth.

This is what it sounds like. I have no access to the script, I'm sorry to say. He has a certain way of making up funny/strange words that is not unlike Pfhor.

In "the man with two brains" he loves a brain-in-a-jar, called uhuhhhmehlmahheih. He's called dr. H'far'rh.

Odd stuff.


Rob Schultz <silver@mail.gower.net> sends in this little tidbit which is bound to bring a smile to your face. Rob writes:

With recent influence from a popular show on TV, I think this was bound to happen at some point. And if it already has, well, here's my version. Enjoy.

Thanks Rob... or is it Bob? ;-)


June 19, 1998
Pirjo Halinen <pipsa@netlife.fi> sends in an interesting find from the Stanley Kubrick movie "Full Metal Jacket". Readers will already be aware of the references to Kubrick's "2001" and "Dr. Strangelove" in Marathon. Pirjo points out that in one scene of "Full Metal Jacket" there is a humorous discussion on the 'duality of man'. See film transcript below. There is also the line "whose side are you on" which is said by Infinity VacBobs.


COLONEL
Marine, what is that button on your body
armor?

JOKER
A peace symbol, sir.

COLONEL
Where'd you get it?

JOKER
I don't remember, sir.

COLONEL
What is that you've got written on your
helmet?

JOKER
"Born to Kill," sir.

COLONEL
You write "Born to Kill" on your helmet and
you wear a peace button. What's that
supposed to be, some kind of sick joke?!

JOKER
No, sir.

COLONEL
You'd better get your head and your ass wired
together, or I will take a giant shit on you!

JOKER
Yes, sir.

COLONEL
Now answer my question or you'll be standing
tall before the man.

JOKER
I think I was trying to suggest something
about the duality of man, sir.

COLONEL
The what?

JOKER
The duality of man. The Jungian thing, sir.

COLONEL
Whose side are you on, son?

JOKER
Our side, sir.

COLONEL
Don't you love your country?

JOKER
Yes, sir.


COLONEL
Then how about getting with the program?
Why don't you jump on the team and come
on in for the big win?

JOKER
Yes, sir!

COLONEL
Son, all I've ever asked of my marines is that
they obey my orders as they would the word
of God. We are here to help the Vietnamese,
because inside every gook there is an
American trying to get out. It's a hardball
world, son. We've gotta keep our heads until
this peace craze blows over.

JOKER
Aye-aye, sir.


Well the Oni trailer has been pulled but Forrest Cameranesi <forrest@west.net> sends in a walk-through (with his comments) of the entire film.

Interesting things, as I flip through that Oni trailer frame-by-frame:

In the very beginning, there's a woman (Kokono?) who is apparently naked, but with mechanical areas on her. And she's dangling from some wires or rope. The first thing that occurred to me when I saw this was that she was a cyborg.

First off, the name "Oni". I heard somewhere that this is a Chinese (Japanese?) deity. In the end of Infinity, it is revealed that the Player is "Destiny" (I doubt that's his name), implying that he has some cosmic signifigance, a god of sorts.

See the What's New section (May 29, 1998) for details on the Japanese name "Oni". [helpful Hamish]

After the scene where her silhouette is sliding across a city skyline, there's some fly-through of a big green techo-sphere with a spinning logo (the Oni logo). Upon closer inspection, you can see number and letters flying across the screen, in the same shade of green and very translucent so it's hard to tell.

During the entire movie is a little Bungie logo in the bottom-right corner (just a watermark, probably).

After that green scene above, as she's running across rooftops, there's the slanted two-ring symbol fading in and out and the rings alternating red and black. As she jump across a beam and the camera flies through it, you can see there are also word around it (as you already pointed out). Also, as it fades from one view to another you can see the words as well (I think this is the shot you posted on your page).

Yup. [helpful Hamish]

At the end of the rooftops scene, she jumps off (and how many humans do you know who casually jump off rooftops like that?).

Shortly after the rooftop scene, right after she jumps down the stairs and kicks that guy, there's what appears to be a computer aiming device from a view over Kokono's shoulder. This might just be part of the game, or maybe not.

Right after that, as she's standing by some rail, there's another symbol superimposed, but this time one I don't recognise. It looks almost like an eye.

Every now and then the screen goes pure white for one frame, and you can easily see the Bungie logo there. The first time this happens is right as she lands from her jump off the rail.

In the ensuing fight scene, there's a little bluish symbol flashing in the bottom-right corner. Also, how can a little girl like that beat (and more impressively, throw) such huge beefy guys like that? More evidence toward the cyborg theory.

In the second part of that scene, after another white flash, you can see yellow Marathon logos on the wall opposite the camera. Also, the blue symbol changes to some multi-colored bar array. Odd.

In these next few fight scenes, you can see that the armed guys attacking her have "TCTF" on their uniforms. Our wonder woman also has TCTF on the front of her outfit. Why is one group attacking a member of itself?

At one point in the second fight scene, as she flips over over guy, a red Marathon-like symbol flashes over the screen.

As the troopers come through the garage door in fight scene three, there's a box and a quarter-circle in the bottom right. That looks vaguely familiar, but I can't recally where from (It's as if from an old dream... ;] )

Immediately after that, a flashing line drawing of what could either be a cyborg or any generic heavily-armored guy slides across the screen. And toward the end of that, some white-ish, pixelated, super-dude is seen kicking ass. Hrm, I wonder...

After that, Kokono runs up some stairs, and then some more guys come in through some doors. Superimposed over this is another symbol.

A ways into that scene, there's one a view past two troopers just standing there, with one kneeling. The kneeler fires a weapon, and a sketch of a wormhole/whirlpool thing appears where the projectilve would have hit the camera. Then another white flash, but this one's different. As the flash hits, the whirlpool thing shows through it. Nothing shows through any of the other ones.

Then there's a brief showing of a sketch of a leg with some ammo twirled around it. The sketch slides down and we can see further. It's our supergirl! She looks buff. But she's got bed-head.

In the next mini-scene, as the camera orbits around some box (on a rooftop?), there's a ghost-like figure sneaking around. As the camera orbits further, we can see that the "box" is actually a building, and that figure was twice as tall! Or maybe it was just a superimposed image.

Next is a fly-through of a wireframe building. Probably just to show the level in full, unrendered glory. But as the camera sweeps around, that little whirlpool appears in the bottom-left corner again, a white flash, and then it fades to the same view, but fully rendered this time, with a sketch of somethingorother imposed over that.

More wireframe fly-throughs, which then fade to a solid view again. A white flash. Hey, there's that whirlpool again! But this time, you can see it a little clearer. It's not a whirlpool, it's some kind of machine with a glowing light in the center. The above-mentioned "marathon-like" symbol and the one that looked vaguely familiar to me, I now see to be symbols of this machine. There's something above it, rotating, though I can't tell what. The view fades to some troopers attacking our heroine (sp?), and the machine dissappears. (you cna barely make out some Marathon symbols on the stack of boxes she jumps behind).

In this next fight scene you can clearly see Marathon symbols on the boxes. That's just too suspicious for me, why would they put Marathon symbols on the boxes FPO when they could just use a flat surface, some generic symbol, or the Oni symbol as seen at the beginning?

As Koko jumps off a stack of boxes, there's a red machine-like symbol in the top-right. I think this might be the same machine. It must play some important role.

Next, there's some troopers firing guns, and Kokono's image translucently imposed over the scene, like a ghost. Is there some symbolism to this, or just a cool effect?

Then, there's another superimposition of a sketch of Koko, or someone who looks like her. And then another one...

More guns firing...

Kokono shoots the camera....

THE END


June 18, 1998
A closer examination of the Oni trailer reveals numerous background images. One such image is the following Jjaro-like symbol with accompanying text. The distinctive slanted two-ring motif appears frequently near the beginning of the film.

Terminals in Oni perhaps?


Bradley Attfield <trsurmap@spots.ab.ca> writes:

Go to kalashnikov.guns.ru/models.html
Look familiar?

The Kalashnikov site symbol looks like Tycho got to it. Yet what is really intriguing is that the AK-47 Assault Rifle featured in Pathways Into Darkness. Gun enthusiasts maybe able to tell us if this Marathon-like symbol is the trademark for Kalashnikov.


June 17, 1998
You can see the US mirror of the Story page at

http://silver.teardrop.org/story/

It will resolve to www.marathon.org soon.


Marathon symbols from the movie trailer of Bungie West's new game Oni. Is Konoko a cyborg?


June 16, 1998
Still only able to update the mirror site of the Story page. Hopefully normal service will be resumed shortly.

Mihai Parparita <mihai@mscape.com> writes:

There's some information (along with a QT Movie of the E3 trailer and some sketches of what could be the weapons in Oni) at http://www.okita.com/. It should be interesting to note that in the second last "fighting" scene there's a lot of Marathon symbols on the walls and what seem to be stacks of boxes. These are probably just placeholder textures, or maybe the game takes place on Mars/Earth before the Marathon's launch.

PS It appears that Alex Okita uses caps-lock as his run key, shame on him :p

Thanks Mihai we've got Alex marked and documented. There can be no escape!

You can also see some screenshots from the ONI quicktime movie at the Voracious Rabbits site.


June 15, 1998
Marathon Central (www.marathon.org) is in the process of being moved to a new server. As a consequence the Story page at www.marathon.org cannot be updated (though you can still read it). The rebuilding of Marathon Central at its new location is presently underway and all should be as it was... soon.

And just in... Visitor No. 7 at the new Marathon Central?


June 13, 1998
Jim Ruiz <jim@bungie.com> (Bungie Software) reveals the tru7h behind his Anniversary Special and the sudden reappearance of Marathon 2 for the Macintosh. Jim writes:

You mention in your Story pages that we were once out of M2/Mac, and now we're offering it with the Anniversary Special... We ARE still out of stock (probably forever, due to the Trilogy), so we're using OEM disks to fill those orders.

So there you have it.


Paul Browne <pabs@netmatters.co.uk> writes:

In the classic Sci-Fi film 'It, The Terror From Beyond Space' one of the characters utters the imortal line "What about Bob?" after one of them gets stranded below decks with the rampaging alien.


Thanks to Baba Yaga's Duality Lies and Rumors page for this link to a Gamecenter.com interview with Greg Kirkpatrick of Double Aught Software. The interview provides some information about their new game Duality, including a few story details and the following interesting tidbit:

Interaction with NPCs will mainly be necessary to gain information and inventory items to solve puzzles.

Fans of Pathways Into Darkness will be familiar with this concept. In Pathways you had to speak to the dead to gain information and inventory items to solve puzzles. Indeed the richness of the Pathways' story could only be fully appreciated after long and detailed conversations with the dead. The full Pathways Into Darkness Story has yet to be revealed. But what of Duality... will the player be able to speak to non player characters (NPCs)? Well the Gamecenter.com interview offers the following clue:

There will be a few surprises. Because the main character is an unworldly creation, he will have some inhuman characteristics, which will have a significant effect on the gameplay. For instance, your mute alter ego will be able to jump multiple building stories and fall great distances.

Only you can survive the fall... but I digress. If your Duality character is "mute" how do you converse with NPC's in the game? Sign language? Written instructions? Or perhaps the most obvious of ways! The player simply listens before delivering the coup de gråce. After all the only good alien is a dead one... right? ;-)


June 12, 1998
Loren Petrich <petrich@netcom.com> writes:

As was pointed out in your Marathon story page, it appears as if the creators of Marathon Infinity and Duality are fans of Howard Phillips Lovecraft's work. I am not very familiar with it, and I've never had much interest in it, but I've done a web search, and here is a comprehensive site on his work:
http://www.hplovecraft.com
There are numerous other Lovecraft sites; look under names like "Cthulhu" and "Necronomicon".

I note that there appear to be H.P. Lovecraft fans at id Software also; at the end of Quake's solo scenario, one confronts a big monster called "Shub-Niggurath" -- a Lovecraft character ("The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young").

The name "Shub Niggurath" also appears in abbreviated form in a terminal on "A Converted Church in Venice, Italy". See the The Cthulhu Mythos in Marathon section for details.


June 11, 1998
Forrest Cameranesi <forrest@west.net> writes concerning the similarities between Marathon and Myth:

Actually, it's a Berzerk who says that (according to the artsound.gor file. Another sound on that level is an archer saying "who decided we should go this way?"). So, Bobs are of Scottish descent.

On the same theme Mihai Parparita <mihai@mscape.com> writes:

I believe that one of the dwarfs (the dwarfs carry Balor's head) actually says "I have a feeling about this.

Another similarity between Marathon & Myth are the wights and simulacrums. They both explode when they get close to you, and have no other attack. Perhaps when proper Myth editor comes out we'll be able to see if they have the same explosion activation range ;)

And it goes on... Miguel Chavez <JMChavez@aol.com> also writes:

The person saying this is actually one of the berserks! Using "The Fallen Sounds" program to examine the sounds in Myth, that particular sound segment (25ig) is identified as berserk. Balor's head and the joke about 'not listening to anything the head says' is just that, a joke.

Thanks to the dozen or so others who sent in comments regarding the mysterious Myth Bob head sound.


Nic Carrott <dcarrott@netport.com> writes concerning the Marathon references in Ambrosia Software's game Escape Velocity:

In the game Escape Velocity, there is a system called Tau Ceti. And in that system is a planet called Tau Ceti.

And when you land on that planet, there is a description about that planet, and it reads:

"Tau Ceti IV was first visited by the colony ship Marathon."


June 10, 1998
Fred Richards <73521.3544@compuserve.com> writes concerning another similarity between Marathon and Myth:

In the last level of Bungie's kick ass game Myth: The Fallen Lords, Balor's head; when you approach a river which has several nastys on the other side states "I have a bad feeling about this."

So Balor was a Bob! ;-)


Charles S. writes concerning the Marathon references in Ambrosia Software's games:

It should also be noted that in Mars Rising, you have a gun that is similar to the Fusion Pistol. You can shoot normal shots using the trigger, but hold it down, and you can fire a bolt that does much more damage. But don't hold it down too long, or it starts beeping, and if you don't let go soon, you know what happens......

In Escape Velocity, the aliens do look like Pfhor ships. What's more is that the story sounds like Marathon 2 story as well. The mysterious aliens want to invade Earth, and they seem invincible, but the humans beat them, and in the end they are extinct... Unfortunately, EV doesn't tell too much of that story, but it does seem similar.


June 9, 1998
Finn Smith <finn_smith@brown.edu>, maintainer of 3D Macintosh Games, writes:

Echoes of H. P. Lovecraft's work have been traced throughout Marathon's story, so it is interesting to note Double Aught continuing the trend in Duality. In the Duality press package I received in the mail today (brochure and stickers) I found this text particularly interesting:

"There is a prophecy as old as the ruined cities about an Enemy hidden deep within the planet. You have one chance to discover the last remnant of the ancient Builders and the evil that destroyed them long ago."

This sounds remarkably similar to the Lovecraft story "The Shadow Out of Time" in which the narrator discovers something called "the Great Race", intelligent beings that had a civilization on Earth several hundred million years in the past. They too were fearful of an evil deep within the planet, keeping a large military to guard the heavily fastened trapdoors that led down to the depths beneath their cities. And that evil eventually escaped to destroy their civilization, only to be rediscovered by the narrator in present times.

The brochure also mentions "eldritch devices". Eldritch was a favorite word of Lovecraft's. It appears several times throughout his work.

Duality press package eh?

And let us not forget Philip K. Dick's sci-fi classic "The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch" - a psychedelic-fueled science-fiction trip.


June 8, 1998
Graham Benedict <mark.benedict@snet.net> writes:

I should note that in the order form that Jim sent me, the blurbs for the Marathon games are completely different than the ones that you posted on the story page, and any others I have ever seen before. And they go...

Marathon
The Beginning of it all! The original 3D texture mapped shooter tha's won all the awards. Leela, Durandal, Tycho... they're all here! CD also contains a physics model editor, map, editor, texture installer, and other supplements.

Marathon 2: Durandal (PC)
Part two of the Marathon saga. 40 levels, the double-barreled shotgun, ThunderDome! Marathon 2 includes netgame scenarios like King of the Hill that require more strategy and cunning that the usual multiplayer shootout.

Marathon Infinity
The conlusion of the Marathon saga. 57 levels, the Marathon 2 Hint Book and tons o' fun! Also includes Forge, out own powerful Map Editor, and Anvil, a single tool for easy modification of shapes, sounds and physics models.

Have these ever been seen anywhere else? Or were they only used for this one order form?

What order form is this? Graham explains:

In a recent order form released by Bungie, all three Marathon games were offered as single purchases. An interesting observation is that Bungie is offering Marathon and Marathon Infinity for the Mac, but the Mac version of Marathon 2 is not shown, or offered. Just the PC version. Strange stuff indeed. A possible connection to the Jim Ruiz Anniversery sale?

Well for a long time Marathon 2 (for the Macintosh) was out-of-print or at least it was claimed to be. For some reason it has become available again. Possible something to do with the recent Bungie move and the cleaning out of warehouse ninety six.


June 6, 1998
Nic Carrott <dcarrott@netport.com> writes:

I was stumbling around the Bungie website when I saw this next to Marathon Infinity in their Products site:

"The third and final installment of the Marathon Series. Blast away at the Pfhor while trying to piece together the clues that will unlock the secret of your own existence."

Is this implying that Infinity has all the answers to the Story's questions?

Yes we just have to piece them together.

Interesting to note that this blurb for Infinity is relatively new since it now states:

"The third and final installment..."

Well that's it I guess.

The new Marathon 2 and Marathon blurbs are as follows:

The mad AI Durandal spirits you to Lh'owon, the homeworld of the S'pht, where you must once again battle the Pfhor and search for the secrets of the mysterious Jjaro.

The game that started it all. You must battle to save the colony ship Marathon from a race of interstellar slavers...and an artificial intelligence named Durandal who's gone slightly mad.

Slightly mad eh! ;-)

And lastly here is the slightly tongue-in-cheek blurb for Pathways Into Darkness:

Trudge through twenty-five levels of an otherworldly pyramid, battle bizarre monsters and solve tricky puzzles, and destroy the dreaming alien god at the bottom before he wakes up and destroys you

"Trudge through..." well that's one way of describing it. ;-)


June 5, 1998
Duality is Now Official so says today's Newsbriefs at Inside Mac Games magazine. Two days ago (June 3rd) the Marathon's Story Page commented upon the fact that IMG magazine had not covered Double Aught's game "Duality" in their report on E3. Yes shock horror! They have now addressed this issue in today's News section.


Check this excellent E3 report page out. It's by Jose Miguel Chavez <jmchavez@aol.com> and contains some great pics of the Bungie and Double Aught guys including scans of their stickers and brochures. Great stuff! If you're going to read one E3 report this is the one to read. Thanks to Jim Head <jhead@mail.usyd.edu.au> for pointing out this page.


Oh yeah the Marathon Vidmaster's Page just got updated. Things are looking up. :-)


June 4, 1998
More level credit deductions from Aaron Freed <aaron@packet.net>. See the Level Credits section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


June 3, 1998
Inside Mac Games magazine has finally put together a report on E3. Their news page states:

IMG met with just about every Mac Gaming company that attended E3 including Westlake Interactive, Sierra, MacSoft, Micro Conversions, Blizzard, Bungie, Berkeley Systems, Dynamix, Virtual Reality, and others.

But not Double Aught! What gives? It's not as if IMG don't know about Double Aught since they ran a Company Spotlight on them back in IMG Volume 4 Issue 11 and they have been mentioned on their News page in the past. Were Double Aught to busy to meet with IMG or something more sinister?

IMG do have a little snippet of info on Bungie West's game - ONI.

A fully-featured martial arts game including weapon combat, ONI stars a female police officer who lives in a fully-realized asian city in the near future.


June 2, 1998
Cindy Hoffa <cynho@earthlink.net> points out that there is an interesting interview with Doug Zartman (PA at Bungie Software) in this month's Apple Wizard's magazine (Vol 2, Issue 1). Part of the interview goes as follows:

AK: What are your plans for your older, successful games such as the Marathon trilogy? Might we see a new Marathon game or possibly updated versions with TCP/IP support? How about for Pathways Into Darkness?

DZ: It's very unlikely we would go back to modify any games we have out there. It would be much easier to re-write Marathon from scratch with TCP/IP than it would be to stick TCP in the current code and make it work - it just wasn't built for TCP/IP. It's possible we might make a new Marathon, years down the road, out of nostalgia, but we have no plans for another first-person shooter any time soon.


Lots of E3 reports popping up now. Macworld Online has a big feature on Bungie's Myth II.

Gabe Rosenkoetter <gr@sariel.tjs.org> points out that Online Gaming Review (OGR) has now posted 3 new Duality screenshots. You can see them at the OGR site here.


June 1, 1998
A new month and still no right answer to the mystery question above. :-(
One month to go before all is revealed... unless of course you know different. ;-)


A rather terse E3 report on Duality from Macintosh Gamer's Ledge and Tikkabik can be found here.


Santiago Pereson <yaco@ad.com.ar> writes:

while browsing www.bungie.com i saw this:

"never-released Bungie maps"

in the text about the Trilogy Box...

i have the trilogy box, but never found those maps (or never knew they were made by bungie if i did!

do you know to which maps they refer?

Good question. Only Bungie knows what happened to the unreleased Bungie maps. Will they ever be released?


May 30, 1998
Graham Benedict <mark.benedict@snet.net> writes:

In reply to your speculations that maybe the version of Marathon 2 that will be offered with the Jim Ruiz Anniversary Sale will be updated, I went right to the source. Jim Ruiz had this to say...

"BTW, tell Hamish it's the same old tired version as before =)"

Oh well, I guess we'll still be playing the original. Wait a sec... what does he mean by "tired"?

No... no... Jim was referring to himself. He's getting old you know! ;-)

Seriously though the fact that Mac Marathoners still can't play the updated Win95 M2 levels is a bit sad. Of course you could always buy a PC or run M2 under emulation. But that's not the Mac way!

The sudden reappearance of Marathon 2 for the Macintosh raises the question "where did they all come from?" Afterall the Mac version was allegedly out-of-print wasn't it?


Last day of E3. Online Gaming Review (OGR) has an interesting review of Bungie's Myth II along with some screenshots from the game. They also have a review of Double Aught's Duality. The OGR E3 scrapbook also has some pics of the Bungie Booth.


May 29, 1998
Speculation is rife about Bungie West's new game revealed at E3. A 3D "full-contact" fighting game, codenamed "Oni". Allegedly the main character is female. Lara Croft on steroids? The word "Oni" is in fact taken from Japanese culture.

The Japanese Oni appears in legends, children's stories and proverbs as a horned, fearsome being and is usually translated into English as "demon", "devil" or "ogre", but, in fact, the Oni's true nature is much more complex and ambivalent. The Oni has two conflicting faces, the demonic face of the "destroyer" and the godlike, beneficent face of the "protector".

There is a well-known Japanese saying: "Oni ni kana-bo" translated literally as "Oni with an iron rod".

A case of "Ingue Ferroque" perhaps? ;-)


May 28, 1998
Aaron Freed <aaron@packet.net> searches anew for clues to identify the level creators. See the Level Credits section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


May 27, 1998
Will Vuong <will@ogrady.com> points out that Bungie are promoting a Jim Ruiz's Software Anniversary Special.

Jim has been running the Bungie Store for a year now (quite admirably too I might add). To mark the occasion Bungie are offering both Myth and Marathon 2: Durandal for the knock down price of $49.95, US shipping and handling included and there is a Myth poster thrown in. The odd thing about all this is that Marathon 2 (for the Macintosh) was supposedly out of print. So is this a new pressing of the Marathon 2 CD? If so did Bungie take the opportunity to update the M2 map file bringing it in line with the Win95 M2 version? It would be nice to think that Mac Marathoners could have the opportunity to play these updated levels as well.


More Marathon/Myth connections? Forrest Cameranesi <forrest@west.net> writes:

Another Myth-Marathon connection I just noticed: Myth takes place in the middle of the millenium about to end (that is, around 1500). What takes place in the Bungie universe in the middle of the next millenium (around 2500)? Well, Marathon takes place in the 2700s, and the last we knew of Earth was when the Marathon was launched 300 years before (around 2400), so what's been happening down there since? Or, as in my other theory, perhaps The Leveler was a Jjaro, and he is somehow behind the events in the Marathon trilogy (remember, "JJARO WERE AT TAU CETI!!")

Other theory? Forrest explains:

I've noticed a certain correlation between Myth and Marathon: balance. In Marathon, the Jjaro and one of their AI Thoth were obsessed with balance. Thoth helped the humans against the Pfhor, then turned and helped the Pfhor against the humans (to little avail, as they simply ignored him). They fought off the W'rkncacnter, a mysterious race of chaos being who destroyed all they came into contact with (chaos is the opposite or order and balance, of course). The Head, as has been pointed out before, seems to help the Light and then betray them to the Dark. It sent them after the Codex, and surprisingly somehow The Watcher was looking for it there at the same time. It [supposedly] sent the Deceiver after the Watcher's arm, and as soon as he finally finds it The Head tells the forces of the Light about it. When Alric is sent to retrieve the magical suit or armor in the Barrier, The Deceiver is there looking for it too. And then there's the whole flipping coin metaphor from the manual, the whole deal with Connacht and Balor, etc.

And there are many unanswered questions. Where did Alric get that Eblis stone? Who was the Head? Why could Connacht defeat the Mrykridia when no other man could? What happened to Connacht at the end of the Wind Age? How did Balor manage to overcome an empire half the size of the known continent, and sack a city filled with powerfull avatara and their guards, using only a neverending legion on undead? A single dispersal dream could take out said legion if they were marching in ranks "speading to the horizon", as the manual tells us. And perhaps most importanly, what lies east of Edge of All, beyond the known continent, in the lands where Connacht/Balor arose?

And to go even further into my delusion: what if the Myrkridia were the W'rkncacnter, and The Leveler was a Jjaro? After all, in Marathon the Jjaro were the only ones to successfully win a battle with the W'rkncacnter, just as Connacht was the only one to succesfully win a battle with the Myrkridia. Yrro, the Jjaro at Lh'owon, created the S'pht and defended their world against the W'rkncacnter, but when the S'pht turned on themselved (the Clan Wars) he abandoned them and ignored them while they were conquered by the Pfhor, under whom they were united against a common enemy. Perhaps The Leveler created all the humanoids in the Myth world (humans, dwarves, fir'bolg, avatara), and later defended them against the Myrkridia, only to leave when they started fighting each other, and later reunited them against a common enemy, the undead.

Interesting stuff.


May 26, 1998
Sean Phelps <my420life@aol.com> writes concerning the acronyms UESG and UESG. See the UESC/UESG section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


Loren Petrich <petrich@netcom.com> writes:

Here is another similarity between Marathon 2 and Myth II:

Marathon 2: Durandal
Myth II: Soulblighter

Both of them are named after prominent characters in the originals -- characters who survive in the end.

And just as Durandal was a central character in Marathon 2, Bungie promises that Soulblighter will be a central character in Myth II.

Yet more:

Marathon 2 implements some things that Bungie didn't have time for in making Marathon 1, like liquids -- and Myth II promises to implement several things that did not make it into the original Myth. According to some articles in Game Developer magazine that had been scanned and posted at some Myth site, Bungie had been working on both fire and ambient life forms (in Marathon: ticks, potatoanuses, etc.), but they had had problems with both, and thus decided to put them aside in order to get Myth out of the door. And Bungie now promises to have both in Myth II.

They had decided to implement fire as 3D particles; however, a burning landscape produced so many of them that it loaded down the renderer.

One of their programmers had implemented one ambient life form -- a giant squirrel who nuzzles the player's characters. However, that proved to be more of an annoyance than anything else, and they set that aside.

However, Bungie may have solved these problems by now.

A seven foot giant squirrel?!!! What ever next? ;-)

Staying on the Marathon/Myth theme Nontoxic's new Myth story section "Legends and Lore" (formerly The Journal of the Legion), maintained by Avi Selk, Josh Clarke and the mysterious B|ak, draws an interesting parallel between the ending of Marathon 2 and Myth. In the final terminal of Marathon 2 Durandal says:

There is much to do in the next few months
and our first stop will be another ruined
world, this time far from the galactic
core. There is a rogue star that has been
passing through our galaxy for nearly a
millennia.

We will meet it in one of the great voids
between the spiral arms.

The "Legends and Lore" page points out that this is similiar to the comet in Myth which has a cycle of one thousand years and each time it passes, the planet's dominate force is overthrown.

And let us not forget the comments made on the Story page back in Sept 15, 1997 concerning Pathways Into Darkness and solving "the riddles of a thousand years" and saving humanity. Well we saved humanity but how many people solved the riddles?


Jeremy Parish <ejp95w@timon.acu.edu> writes concerning the use of "Wave Motion" as a weapon in other games. See the Weapons in Marathon section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


Aaron Snyder" <wittnietz@datatek.com> writes concerning the "Wave Motion" reference in Ambrosia Software's "Mars Rising". See the Weapons in Marathon section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


May 25, 1998
Tucker Berckmann <tdb9999@prin.edu> writes concerning the Wave Motion Cannon. See the Weapons in Marathon section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


May 24, 1998
Chad Poland <cgp@doubleaught.com> of Double Aught Software writes concerning Scott Wernham's SOS comments below:

Let me first just say that DA and Duality are doing just fine.

Duality is moving along at a very nice rate. In fact, we've come so far that we will be previewing _both_ the mac and pc versions at E3. If any Story Page readers happen to be at E3, please let them know to please stop by Booth #760 and say hello. The whole gang will be there and we'll even be dressed decently. If they like, they can help us cover the town of Atlanta in Duality stickers. :)

Duality Stickers eh? With bar codes?


Ajay Ayyagari <nirvana@halcyon.com> writes:

on your webpage you said something about one of the new screenshots not being plainly evident...well i think it's one of the of two sandbox (or whatever the editor is called) ones because i remember seeing one a few days ago that didn't have any palettes in it. now both pictures have palettes in them.

Yes indeed. Screenshot 8 is new. Though it may not be all that obvious. :-)


Scott Jaeger <pablo@izzy.net> writes:

Well..this comes 2 days after you are asked to remove the addressess from your site:

The Bungie newsletter comes out, sent to anyone who puts in their email address at bungie.com. Assume that this is a good amount of people, due to myth's popularity.

At the end of the letter is:

>Bungie has moved!
>our new address is:
>Bungie Software
>350 W Ontario, 7th Floor
>Chicago, IL 60610
>Tel: 312 397 0500
>Fax: 312 397 0502

Looks like they don't care about disclosing the address to Bungie fans themselves ;)

Although it may just have been Alex S.'s signature, since he was the one that sent it.


May 23, 1998
Bungie announces Myth II: Soulblighter. No big surprise really. Indeed the announcement follows the same pattern as Marathon 2 - foregoing a planned scenario pack and devoting their time to a full fledged sequel.

More intriguing is the following news from Bungie's recent Newsletter, vol. 2, 5/22/98. At Bungie's booth #2230 at E3:

...there will be video of the never-before-announced project Bungie West Studios has been working on for the past year. Though this game is neither a first-person shooter nor a real-time strategy game, like Myth, it will change the way people think about the boundaries of game genres.


Double Aught have added a new screenshot to their Duality site. Actually they added two new screenshots. If you can correctly identify the second one let me know.


Scott Wernham <garscow@ihug.co.nz> writes:

I was looking round the Double Aught site for the first time in a while and noticed that befor you click on the Games link it comes up saying the link is ...---... ...---... ...---... From memory this is morse code for S.O.S. what does this sugest?
Double Aught needs help? Are they stuck making Duality? Who is this aimed at? Also there are a total of 27 full stops and dashes.

Odd stuff indeed. First rule when dealing with Double Aught - never take anything at face value. They make the Mysterons look like puppets! ;-)


Jamie Poitra <jpotira@up.edu> asks "does Apple like the #7?". Jamie continues:

Several readers confirmed that the new Apple PowerMac G3s (May 1998 production) now have master/slave EIDE drive capability, allowing more than one IDE drive on the internal bus. The new PowerMacs also ship with the ATI Rage Pro graphics accelerators and a new revision of Mac OS 8.1, which includes System Enabler 777 (1.0), a new CD-ROM/DVD-ROM driver extension, LocalTalk 1.1, and a newer Iomega Driver (v6.0). (The new computers, however, do not come with the new updated G3 Ethernet 2.04 driver, which address performance and reliability issues.)

Note the sytem enabler 777. Check www.macnn.com for the whole story.


May 22, 1998
Aaron Freed <aaron@packet.net> writes concerning the existence of another combination of the letters E, O, and P in the Marathon terminals. This was initially discussed in the The 10th military Mjolnir Mark IV cyborg but has now been moved to a new section. See The E O P variations section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


After round the clock negotiations concerning the unofficial publication of Bungie's office address Jim Ruiz <jim@bungie.com> (Bungie Software) finally writes:

If you decide to exercise your freedom of speech and post it anyway, we'd appreciate you mentioning that we never give tours, don't encourage visitors and keep our automated security system armed and activated. =)

Yes we had heard rumors of Bungie's automated security system (ASS). So next time you decide to pay a visit be warned - Bungie's ASS is armed and activated. ;-)


May 21, 1998
Well I had the following unusual request from Bungie:

Matt Soell tells me that you recently posted our new addresses for East and West Coast offices on the Marathon Story page. We'd really be much happier if you would not make those addresses public. We already get sightseers and weirdos and weirderos as it is, without advertising... I don't suppose I could convince you to remove it?

Yes I might be persuaded with suitable inducements. ;-)

But why is this request so unusual? Well the Story page got these addresses from Bungie's own web page in the Jobs section. So anyone who wants to find them can. Go figure.

Of course to make sense of all this you just have to go to Bungie's ftp site. In the Mac section you'll find a little text file called rules.txt. Worth reading if you get the chance.


E3 is fast approaching. What are Bungie going to reveal? A game called Blam perhaps? Unlikely says Francesco Poli <bpoli@mbox.vol.it> since there is already a game with a similar name. Francesco writes:

There was another Blam, namely Blam! Machinehead, by Core Design (yes, the guys of Tomb Raider), published in 1997. It was a WEIRD game: it looked just like a well-below-average 3D shooter - unless you looked at the atmosphere, something so out I don't think anybody actually comprehended it! It centered around a strange machine, that could levitate about 5 feet off the floor. The machine, codenamed 'Vorpal Blade', was actually a nuke bomb (!) with various weapons mounted on it, including a post for the pilot. The bomb was to be delivered to Machinehead, a normal everyday worker that had injected himself with nanotechonology, rendering him a near-God (!?!), allowing him to cover the entire planet with a goo dubbed 'Machinehead Virus' and create horrendous monsters. You, as Dr. Kimberly Stride - Lara Croft's cousin :) - had to blow everything to hell, before the bomb you were sitting one decided it had taken too much abuse and blow up!

You can find out more about the game called "Blam! Machinehead" from the following sites.

http://www.mds.mdh.se/~eko93pjn/reviews/blam.htm

http://www.hyper-world.com/hyper-world/labarticles/blamhead.html

http://binky.paragon.co.uk/reviews/PlayStation_rv/BlamMHead.rv.html


Alex Rosenberg <alexr@goonsquad.spies.com> pointed out yesterday that "Blam" is one of Rob McLees' favorite exclamations. Interesting to note that one of Roy Lichtenstein's famous 'cartoon' paintings is entitled Blam.


Max Lieberman <Lieb6@aol.com> writes concerning Aaron Freed's comments yesterday concerning Durandal and the "Hitch Hikers Guide to Galaxy" character Ford Prefect:

Regarding the parallels between Durandal and Ford, though... I think they're limited to both characters having a bitter and sarcastic streak in them. Durandal's actions are always characterised (well, usually anyway) by benevolence cloaked in malisciousness, while Ford's are generally dedicated to the ultimate goal of getting a drink.

Well some people drink to escape. ;-)


May 20, 1998
Alex Rosenberg <alexr@goonsquad.spies.com> writes again concerning Bungie's recent registration of "Blam":

Note that Bungie registered serendia.com on behalf of Eric Klein (actually his wife Anne). Since "Blam" is one of Rob McLees' favorite exclamations, it may well be a personal registration. Of course, "Blam" would be a reasonably good name for a game as well.

Yes indeed... a good name for a game.

Simon Brownlee <simon.brownlee@pobox.com> dug deep and came up with the pfhat on Bungie's Domain name registration dealings. You can read it here. Some interesting points - Bungie registered bungie.com back in June 13th 1995 and bungie.net in Apr 22nd 1997.


Bungie's new address in Chicago is:

Address removed by request. Sorry.

Like Matt Soell said they're on the 7th floor. One wonders if this was deliberate. ;-)

Bungie West's address is:

Address removed by request. Sorry.

1150 eh?


Concerning the first terminal on "Beware of Low-Flying Defense Drones..." where Durandal says:

By the way, I had an accident with some defense drones while
you were away. You might bump into a few of them here. Don't
worry, they're mostly harmless; I don't think I gave them any
ammunition for those grenade launchers.

Aaron Freed <aaron@packet.net> writes:

"Mostly harmless." Yet another Hitchhiker's reference by Bungie perhaps? ("Mostly harmless" was the article Ford Prefect worked on for about twenty years while on Earth, and if you think about it there may be a few lines that could be drawn between Ford Prefect and Durandal.)


May 19, 1998
Aaron Freed <aaron@packet.net> writes concerning the number seven. See The Number Seven section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


Alex Rosenberg <alexr@goonsquad.spies.com>, formerly of Bungie Software, writes:

Bungie recently registered blam.org and blam.net with the Internic.

It clearly has something to do with the conspiracy. ;)

Yes indeed. This issue was brought up on the IMG Chat Forum with Tuncer Deniz. The infamous Kusanagi asked Tuncer the following question:

Kusanagi: QUESTION: Why did Bungie register the domain "Blam.com"?

tuncer: we registered blam? cool!

Odd stuff. Why would one so high in the echelons of Bungie not know about the registration of Blam? Was Tuncer telling the tru7h?

Simon Brownlee <simon.brownlee@pobox.com> points out that blam.org and blam.net were registered by Bungie Software, 1935 S. Halsted St. #204, Chicago back in Mar '98. Why would Bungie want to register blam.org and blam.net and keep it a secret? ;-)

blam.com is a different story altogether.

As an aside Simon notes that Alexander Seropian (CEO Bungie Software) has registered seropian.com. Make of that what you will.


May 18, 1998
John Zero <jzero@onramp.net> writes:

I'm wondering why there is still the hidden GIF of the dead Vac-BoB on Double Aught's Infinity page. The frame is set to "SCROLLING=NO", so you can't see it unless you select "Open Frame in New Window" from Netscape's contextual pop-up. It's at:

http://www.doubleaught.com/Infinity/main.html

Even with the single page loaded, you still have to scroll all the way to the right to see it.

Mystery indeed. He's been there for some time. I guess he came outta the booth! ;-)


May 17, 1998
Chris Camacho <christo@flash.net> writes:

It should be noted that the booth at which Bungie will plant its bomb (as indicated by The Plans) is Double Aught's booth.

Noooooooooo! Quick somebody call the Atlanta Police Dept. Bungie must be stopped!


Will Vuong <will@ogrady.com> sends in another Marathon-like symbol. See the That Marathon Symbol section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


May 16, 1998
Marathon Central has finally had its long promised update. Questions remain over the relevancy of some of the categories. Make your comments count - email Simon Brownlee <squeaky@pobox.com> and Steve Campbell <campbell@okla.net>.


Matt Soell <matt@bungie.com>, Director of Customer Support at Bungie Software, writes concerning their new offices:

Did anyone mention to you that our offices are on the seventh floor? That somehow seems important.

Seventh Floor?!!! Coincidence?

This would explain the window view in Bungie's web cam.


Double Aught, creators of the Marathon Infinity scenario, updated their Duality page again! Less than three days from the last change. Did you catch the new additions from the devious ones!


Craig Stanton <c_stanton@hotmail.com> writes concerning the Codewarrior CD with the Marathon memorabilia archive. See the Blast from the Past section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


May 15, 1998
Ever since the release of their famous "1984" commercial Apple have had a reputation for commissioning high quality Macintosh ads. Their current 'Think Different' campaign is no exception. As part of this highly successful campaign Apple released a movie entitled Think first, Think more, Think different. It contained clips of major brand-name software vendors (including Bill Gates) touting their products for the Mac and issuing statements of continued support for the MacOS platform... or so it seemed.


May 14, 1998
Double Aught, creators of the Marathon Infinity scenario, have updated their Duality page. Another high quality update from the mysterious ones.


Both Bungie and Double Aught will be a E3. Bungie's booth is #2230. Yup you guessed it it reduces to seven! Coincidence? Don't believe me? Then check out The Plans (96K).


Bungie's web cam is back. Strangely it's still referred to as the "Bungie Hall Monitor" even though it's situated in their plush new reception area. Nice view from the window too. Bungie are moving up in the world. Watch out for those famous and not so famous faces.

Bungie Life!... but not as we know it. Simon Brownlee <simon.brownlee@pobox.com> caught the following images on Bungie's new web cam early this morning. Ghosts?!!! See the Bungie Life! section for details.


May 13, 1998
Well it had to happen! For over two years it was kept secret. Known only to the few (The Sevens) that found it.

Page2401 may still remain a mystery to many but the secret is now out and the flood gates have opened. Thus I have closed membership to The Sevens.

Page2401 was created back in Jan '96 but to find it you had to do two things.

1. find the hidden 'portal'
2. solve Durandal's little puzzle

Those who found the 'portal' were presented with the following page. Following the link there would have landed you into Durandal's little trap. Many people got this far but only a few solved the puzzle. If you can identify the song let me know. :-)

Page2401 was the first interactive web page puzzle on the net. How fitting that those who found it and solved it should have their name enshrined in the list of (The Sevens). You kept the secret well. I salute you all.

I make no excuses for the fact that Page2401 is now out of date and sadly incomplete. Time is limited. Enjoy it for what it's worth. In its time it served its purpose well.

Well one secret page gone... six more to find or was it seven? I can't exactly remember. ;-)


May 12, 1998
Forrest Cameranesi <forrest@west.net> writes concerning the Marathon Demo v0.0 on an older Iomega Zip Tools disk (vers 4.2) See the Marathon Demo v0.0 section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


Apple's web site has a Picturebook of the San Francisco Macworld Expo '98. Lots of nice color photographs of all your favorite software developers. See if you can spot Bungie. And when you do note what page they are on! Coincidence? :-)


Christopher Powell <cpowell@ccs.carleton.ca> writes:

By pure chance I stumbled across a PBS special on the city of Copan and something twigged. A quick jaunt to the library later, I confirmed my suspicion - some members of the ancient Mayan nobility had names like "Lady Six Sky" and "18 Jog Jaguar", names that strongly resemble the Journeyman names in Myth. I had thought that Myth represented a complete break from the Pathways/Marathon Universe, but evidently there's some kind of link between the Empire of the Cath Bruig and Classic Mayan civilization of the Yucutan Peninsula and, of course, the Yucutan was where the pyramid in Pathways was located ...

Myth... Pathways... Marathon? Could it be?

For those of you not aware of the 36 Journeyman names here is a list:

One Deer Burning Skull
One Flint Puma
One Serpent Green Talon
Three Moon Jeweled Fan
Three Vulture Drum
Four Motion Skull Fan
Four Serpent Seeking Shadow
Five Heron Waiting Cactus
Five Monkey Bloody Stone
Five Obsidion Heron
Five Rabbit Fleeing Jaguar
Six Coyote Flower
Six Motion Bloody Jaguar
Six Vulture Dog Star
Seven Crocodile Rain
Seven Devil Puma
Seven Eagle Jaguar Claw
Seven Jaguar White Flower
Seven Lizard Tongue
Seven Wind Lizard
Eight Flint Deer
Eight Pride Stalking Rabbit
Nine Eagle Red Skull
Nine Serpent Bloody Sun
Nine Serpent Rising Puma
Ten Eagle Burning Stone
Ten Stone Reed
Eleven Vulture Fire Serpent
Twelve Devil Burning Wind
Twelve Eagle Falling Sun
Twelve Flint Sun Collar
Twelve Serpent Falling Eagle
Thirteen Bloody Crocodile
Thirteen Rain Jeweled Fan
Thirteen Wind Moon Stone
Fourteen Flint Moon Eagle

But what was the missing 37th Journeyman's name?


May 11, 1998
Ric Ford's MacInTouch page has a short reader's report on the Computer Game Developers Conference. Bungie were at it. But no details on Eric Klein's talk on cross-platform issues learnt from the Marathon and Myth series. If we can we'll bring you the transcript of Eric's speech.


Here's an interesting find. I came across an old Iomega Zip Tools disk (vers 4.3). The disk dates from March '96. Bundled on the disk was a Games folder containing the Marathon Demo v0.0 not the Marathon Demo v1.2 (Marathon 4L) which replaced v0.0 around mid '95. The demo folder contained something else... see the Marathon Demo v0.0 section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


May 10, 1998
Back in Jan 23, 1998 it was pointed out that there were a set of odd looking screenshots on a Marathon 2 box shot. The screenshots looked like early M2 development pics. Jim Mitchell <jim@sover.net> writes to say that you can see these screenshots in alot more detail in a set of hi. res. box pictures on the Codewarrior CD. See the Official Marathon Screenshots section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


May 9, 1998
Matt Soell <matt@bungie.com>, Director of Customer Support at Bungie Software, writes concerning the "TBWSAF" acronym bombshell below:

The letter in question actually made it onto an early edition of our Letters To The Webmaster page. It was the one with all the [EXPLETIVE DELETED] tags.


Ty Klein <mrenigma@earthlink.net> writes:

check out this page.

http://www.hplovecraft.com/creation/bestiary.htm

In particular,look at the entry for Azathoth.

A "monstrous nuclear chaos beyond angled space"... interesting stuff. You can find other Lovecraftian/Marathon connections in The Cthulhu Mythos in Marathon section.


Michael Park <macgamer@ohana.com> writes concerning the Marathon mystery pic (above):

what I'm thinking is that that text in the manifest says something like "U.E.S.C Live (Next Line) Marathon at Macworld San Francisco". This features a very early beta copy, so it's got to be there.

I still don't know where it appeared since I've only entered the Marathon Universe 2 years ago...

But probably an ad featured in some magazine? IMG? Macworld? MacUser?

Ooooooh... closer still! It looks like the Story page will have to reveal all sooner than expected... but not quite yet. We need the details. They can be found... they're out there...


May 8, 1998
I apologize if the following offends anyone.

Alex Rosenberg <alexr@goonsquad.spies.com>, formerly of Bungie Software, reveals the tru7h behind the "TBWSAF" acronym on the bottom of the Infinity and Trilogy boxes:

When we were doing M2 for Win95, we started getting some really angry hate mail. One letter suggested that we "come out of the closet" (which explains the use of that phrase in some places). But our favorite nickname by far was "Trick B**** W**** S*** A** F******."

Well there you have it... or don't as the case may be. I was of two minds about putting this up. The string of profanities in the "TBWSAF" acronym would put even Adam "I'm comin' outta the booth!" Sandler to shame. Thus I have taken the liberty of blanking out some of the letters. Back in May 16, 1997 Matt Soell (Bungie Software) wrote:

Here's a poser for you: ever look at the bottom of any Marathon box and wonder what the letters after the product number stand for? You can probably figure out the acronyms on the Marathon and Marathon 2 boxes; I don't think anyone outside Bungie could guess the meaning of the letters on the Infinity and Trilogy Boxes. Well, maybe one person....

Hmmm... who could that one person have been?

More recently (Apr 2, 1998) Matt said:

Some things man was not meant to know.

Perhaps he was right!


Somewhat ironically Robin Balmer ("a 12-year-old-marathon-maniac") writes:

I think that thing for the naming of "Hang Brain" is a little bizzare. Sure, Bungie probably is pretty wild, but I don't think they'd name a level like that. Perhaps it means, a Brain (Durandal), hanging in the balance of life and death? I just think that scrotum thing isn't quite Bungie-like.

Well Double Aught were responsible for the level name "Hang Brain" so I suppose we can count ourselves lucky. ;-)


Matthew Payne <sfeira@pacbell.net> writes concerning the EXPLOD-A-KEY:

Found out that the self destruction cheat DOES hurt others. Killed a couple VacBOBs with it. Great when you're stuck in a corner in a net game ;)

But doesn't that kill you as well? Matthew replies:

Yes, but when you have nothing but your fists, you're backed into a corner, and your opponent has a flamethrower, it's a good thing. Basically, it's a flash of light, just like an exploding fusion pistol.


May 7, 1998
Many thanks to Simon Brownlee <simon.brownlee@pobox.com> for sending in a log of last night's IMG Chat Forum with Tuncer Deniz. If, like me, you couldn't make it you'll find it quite interesting. You can read it here.


May 6, 1998
Don't forget to catch Tuncer Deniz (Bungie Software) on IMG's Chat Forum today at 11 PM EST/8 PM PST. Details can be found on IMG's current news section or try here for the Chat Forum itself. Have those Marathon questions ready. If you can grab a log of the chat we'll post it here.


Alex Rosenberg <alexr@goonsquad.spies.com>, formerly of Bungie Software, writes concerning the 'setl' control sets - "Ender's Set" and "Gimmick's Set"- found in the Marathon Infinity app.:

"Ender" is the net play name used by Brent Schorsch; "Gimmick" is the net play name used by Michael Evans. As Apple Game Sprockets engineers, they worked on the InputSprocket support for Marathon Infinity. Brent still works on all things input-related at Apple and Michael is being tormented daily at Bungie West.


Michael Park <macgamer@ohana.com> writes concerning the mystery pic (above):

Well, of course everyone figured out by now this was an early Marathon screenshot, as you can see from that compass in the upper right hand corner.

But what I'm wondering is why the players' oxygen is also used up. Then I remember you pointing out in the Marathon Screenshot Collage ad that the players' oxygen in THAT one was also used! But unfortunately, the oxygen and shield meters have been switched. I was thinking it might have been in the same level, but I digress.

What I'm guessing is that it was one of the first Marathon pictures or ads ever released (and I'm talking about one hell of an early picture) and it showed...

it showed...

Well, I can't seem to save that pict (it gets corrupted by Netscape 2) so I can't really zoom up on the text. An ad of some sorts? All I can really make out in that "player's view" portion of the interface is U.E.S.C. I'm guessing it's a terminal...

but where?

Cairan Wheeler <wyvernsoul@innocent.com> also writes:

It seems to me that the mystery pic shown is logging into a terminal... perhaps bungie originally had the weapons thing dissapear to tell you info about the termnal, but then changed it. Probably. I would suspect that this terminal shot appeared as a "Screenshots from the Game" sort of deal, as promo., maybe even appearing to the beta (or alpha) testers.

Oooooooh... so close... so close. But we need the details. It's all in the detail. Where did this pic first appear and what did it show? Why? Because it's important. :-)


May 5, 1998
Some interesting info has come to light on that infamous site of roguery - Bungie Rumors (And no I did not place that advert on the page).

The person or people responsible for this site show quite clearly that the Infinity Chapter screens "Despair" and "Envy" came from the SAME picture. It would appear that the "Envy" chapter screen (the one with the player image) was cut from a larger version of "Despair" and then reduced in size. A case of two for the price of one... or... one for the price of two perhaps?

What ever the case it would be nice to see the full original pic.


Mihai Parparita <mihai@mscape.com> makes some interesting observations about the mystery pic above:

The thing that I don't get about the pic is the writing in the weapons manifesto area and the fact that it doesn't have the beta sticker. Also the oxygen and health bars are switched around.

Curious indeed. Where did this odd Marathon interface first appear and what did it show?


Want a chance to ask Bungie all those unanswered questions?

Now's your chance. Inside Mac Games (IMG) magazine will be holding their first Special Chat Forum with guest Tuncer Deniz (Bungie Software). The Forum is scheduled for this Wednesday at 11 PM EST/8 PM PST during which time Tuncer will be available to answer all your questions. See IMG's current news section for details. You can find the IMG Chat Forum here.

Have your Marathon questions ready!


May 4, 1998
Back in June 10, 1997 Vernon Legakis <Tauceti@cabrillo.campus.mci.net> pointed out that there was a Marathon-like symbol on a computer terminal in the film Akira. Vernon did say that it wasn't an "exact" match. Thanks to Todd Bangerter <tabanger@hcs.harvard.edu> you can see the Akira computer terminal Vernon was referring to here (77K). It's not really that Marathon-like though. Todd does go on to say:

Wasn't Akira a "slumbering beast" of sorts? And when he woke up, his psychic power swept across Neo-Tokyo in a destructive wave or something?


I'd rather be surfing... Ooze in here! See the Pathways Into Darkness section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


May 3, 1998
The mystery pic (above) defies elucidation. A secret Vidmaster screen perhaps... the fabled Marathon God mode... lots of speculation. Why is this pic so important in Marathon's early history? All will be revealed when two simple questions are answered - where did the pic first appear and what did it show?


And on the subject of early Marathon interface pics. We draw your attention yet again to that famous early Marathon Interface screenshot. See the Official Marathon Screenshots section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


Todd Proctor <proctop@dcscomp.com.au> writes:

Where am I?

I'm everywhere - Through time that is.

But if you observe the Chapter screens, the player doesn't move around too much.

The Despair chapter screen shows a huge Sph't building with a lake at the bottom of it.

If we look at the Envy chapter screen, behind the player, we can see the lake and that building...

I haven't noticed anything special about the rage chapter screen except for the general architecture of the buildings.

As Todd rightly points out the Despair and Envy Chapter screens are taken from the same general area just different perspectives.


May 2, 1998
Lots of mail about the above mystery pic but no right answers as yet. As most people correctly point out it's a pic of an early Marathon interface.

The pic was officially released by Bungie. The Story page wants to know where it first appeared and what did it show? The relevance of all this will become apparent once the answer is known. Will we have to wait 2 months?


Ben Irwin <lirwin@humboldt1.com> writes concerning the Marathon 2 theme music. See the Marathon Music section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


May 1, 1998
New mystery pic added. Seven letters in the word - mystery - but I digress. Concerning the above pic... where did it first appear and what did it show?


Cairan Wheeler <wyvernsoul@innocent.com> writes concerning the original Hound screenshot. See the Missing Aliens section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Graham Benedict <mark.benedict@snet.net> also writes concerning the original Hound screenshot. See the Missing Aliens section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


The following is an interesting post from Jason Regier (Bungie Software) on alt.games.marathon. Apparently Eric Klein (Bungie Software) will be talking at the Computer Game Developers' Conference on cross-platform development. Of particular interest will be cross-platform issues learnt from the Marathon series. If we can we'll bring you the transcript of Eric's speech.

From: jregier@bungie.com (Jason Regier)
Newsgroups: alt.games.marathon
Subject: Re: CGDC, Next week
Date: Thu, 30 Apr 1998 10:29:05 -0500
Organization: Bungie Software
Lines: 21
Message-ID: <jregier-ya02408000R3004981029050001@news1.il.home.net>
References: <354755FE.ED78DE00@onramp.net>
NNTP-Posting-Host: 209.125.9.66
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit
X-Newsreader: Yet Another NewsWatcher 2.4.0

In article <354755FE.ED78DE00@onramp.net>, John Zero <jzero@onramp.net> wrote:

> A mere mortal who will be attending the Computer Game Developers' Conference
> next week in Long Beach wonders:
> 
> Can we expect to be graced with the presence of some of the mighty-thewed
> Bungies?

We're not going to have any real official presence there, but you can go
check out Eric Klein's speech on cross-platform development for Myth and
some of the cross-platform issues we learned from the Marathon series.

Later,
Jas

----------------------
     Jason Regier
  Software Juggernaut
   Bungie Software
  jregier@bungie.com
----------------------


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