Mark Bernal's initials

"I was born to create weird pictures and cool stories.
I create weird pictures for cool games."

The story begins...

In the Marathon Scrapbook (page 23) there is short piece about Mark Bernal redoing the Marathon 2 textures and hiding his initials in one of the switch textures.

The Scrapbook states:

Mark revamped and created a large portion of the textures,
making them not only useful individually but also as a unified group.
(He managed to hide his initials in one of the switch textures.)

The search was on...

Some four years after the release of the Marathon Trilogy Box Set the following post appeared on the Story forum.

Mark's initials
Posted By: The Tiny Toad <>
Date: 5/27/01 5:45 a.m.

It says in the Marathon Scrapbook that "Mark managed to hide his initials in one
of the switch textures." (M2) I suppose they mean Mark Bernal. But I've examined
all the switch textures pixel by pixel with a magnifying glass, and I still can't
find his initials! In fact, I can't find any initials!

Am I blind, or are they just very well hidden? I assume the guys own
multiple copies of the trilogy box, so they have surely read this in the
scrapbook and found the initials, so please, somebody tell me where they are!

(I won't be able to sleep until I see them. Really.)

Thomas, then at Duke University, responded:

Re: Mark's initials
Posted By: Thomas <>
Date: 5/27/01 8:17 a.m.

In Response To: Mark's initials (The Tiny Toad)

I don't know, but perhaps looking pixel by pixel is the wrong approach. Hiding something
on an almost microscopic level is more the hallmark of a programmer. An artist, or at least
someone with artistic leanings, tends to be more flamboyant, more daring, and tends to hide
things subtly in plain view.

There's always been something about that one alien "pull" switch (the P switch) that's
bothered me. If you look closely at the active P switch, there's a very clear outline of
the lower part of a B. Sure enough, to the left, the sort of yellow mucusy bind of the
handle forms the very sharp "V" part of the M. The intervening period could be one of many
letters, or no letters, and since I don't know Mark's middle initial I can't say.

Oh, if anyone is interested, one nice way to search the story page even if it doesn't have
a search option is to go to Google, and put as one of the terms "".
It'll include the other pages as well, but of course most of the site is dominated by the
story tome. Unfortunately the search does not always seem to be complete, but it's an
imperfect world.

By this method I did not find any previous mention of this, though I'm _positive_ someone
a few years ago remarked on this switch. (I don't know if they were talking about MB in
particular.) Does anyone recall what I'm talking about?

Below is an image I worked up in Photoshop. Once it occurs to you that it's there, the MB
really leaps out at you. However, I realize that I'm probably seeing something that's not
really there... if we're to interpret the switch as hiding letters, I'm sure there are
hundreds of different combinations of letters people could contrive from their own
imaginations and paranoia.

Even though this is probably the wrong answer, maybe it'll be enough to give you some rest? :)

Unfortunately the link to the Photoshop image no longer works and I unfortunately never kept a copy of it.   <--- bad robot

However here are the two images Thomas refers too. The inactive (left) and active (right) Pfhor pull switch.
The active one contains the letters M B.


Exactly seven (yes seven, no kidding) months later Mark Bernal posted:

Re: Mark's initials
Posted By: Mark Bernal
Date: 12/26/01 1:39 p.m.

In Response To: Re: Mark's initials (Thomas)

Thomas, you are indeed correct.


So there you have it.

But the story doesn't end there...

The Marathon Scrapbook went on to say:

Mark also contributed a fair share of terminal art, including a caricature of Jason, Greg
and Rob as Bobs on the level "Come and Take Your Medicine."

"POCAhontas? I hardly know her!"

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Last updated May 15, 2021