Miscellaneous tidbits for the period
Mar'96 - Aug'96

Mar 10, 1996
Eric Jorgensen <jorge@execpc.com> writes concerning a Rush song called 2112 part of which reminds him of something in Marathon's Story:

They left the planet long ago
The elder race still learn and grow
Their power grows with purpose strong
To claim the home where they belong

Interesting to note that Rush also wrote a song called Marathon on an album called Power Windows released in 1985 !!!

Apr 11, 1996
Here is some interesting information on the early development of the Marathon plot. It comes from Tuncer Deniz's Sneak Preview of Marathon in the July 1994 edition of Inside Mac Games (IMG).

The game begins on a space ship called the Marathon. Unlike other ships, the Marathon is unique in that it once used to be a small Mars moon called Deimos. Years ago the moon (very small in size) was mined, hollowed out, and turned into a space ship (ah, don't ask me how).

After traveling hundreds of years to a planet believed to be habitable by humans, the colonists on the Marathon land on the planet and begin to terraform it. A few years into the operation, the colonists find a strange, metallic sphere containing some strange hieroglyphics near the colony. After some low-level studies are conducted on the object on the planet, the colonists send the sphere to the Marathon for further testing by the scientists on the ship (using more sophisticated equipment found only on the mother ship).

A few hours after the sphere arrives on the Marathon, the scientists send a message back to the planet saying the sphere is a capacitor holding a huge amount of energy and are in need of an electrician for further studies. This is where you come in. You, the electrical specialist, are instructed to take a shuttle from the planet to the Marathon to do further tests on the object. When you land and disembark from your shuttle onto the Marathon, you realize things have gone terribly wrong. Strange aliens have somehow come on the ship and killed everyone on board and you'll be next if you don't do something.....quick.

Apr 17, 1996
MARATHON INFINITY - Blood Tides of Lh'owon - Sneak Peek. (IMG eat your heart out)

Apr 23, 1996
Matt Soell <BUNGIE1@aol.com> replies to some questions.

Q. Why are we referred to as a science officer on Bungie's new web page?

A. "In the future, science and security will be one and the same."

"Actually, the character was originally supposed to be a science officer. It was changed rather capriciously in the Marathon manual. Someday someone will get around to that page of the site and change it so that it complies with future history as we know it. ;) "

Q. Blood Tides of Lh'owon was originally billed as a 30 level scenario.It's now down to 20 levels. What happened?

A. "Yes. The idea originally was to have a 20-level single player scenario and 10 net levels. Now the idea is to have a 20-level single player scenario and as many decent net maps as we can find. The press release, from which the Infinity info page was cobbled together, was written somewhat ambiguously, and a greivous error occured."

Q. Will M2 Win95 have a slightly altered story to reflect the fact that PC users have not played Marathon? Specifically do you forsee a section on the Marathon's Story page along the lines of Marathon 2 Windows 95 text changes?

A. "I think an additional page of background info in the M2 Win95 manual is a far more likely proposition. Otherwise we get into the realm of alternate realities and stuff like that, which would probably be as much of a pain for us as it would be for you."

May 1, 1996
Yes it had to happen sooner or later. The Marathon's Story page has been lampooned. And very well too I might add. The culprit? That impish rogue Steve Wood. If you want to find out what all this is about check out Steve's Marathon's Icons page.

June 2, 1996
Here is an interesting post on alt.games.marathon from Greg Kirkpatrick concerning the inspiration behind the Marathon story. A Larry Niven fan it seems... but who isn't!

June 6, 1996
The heat is on! I've come under heavy fire for this week's Question of the Week. Leela's Mistake or Bungie Blunder? Of course the answer is obvious. Leela was under considerable pressure. The S'pht were attacking her and she also had Durandal to contend with. Maybe she got confused. Maybe she thought that you had closed both doors. She openly admits on the next level that her sensors were becoming less reliable. So did you go back to close the second airlock door or did you leave the Bobs to suck hard vacuum? Marathon's Security Officers seem to have a general dislike for Born On Boards. This is what Security Officer Jones had to say about Bobs way back in Jan '95:

jon3@quads.uchicago.edu (gunfighter's amnesia)

I shoot all bobs always on all levels; if a Pfhor kills a bob I feel
like a failure.  The flamethrower works especially well when clearing
bob-jams on levels like Bob-B-Q, but watching the little suckers sky
after a good SPNKRing is pretty gratifying, too, especially if they
catch air off a ledge.

The best, of course, is the detention center on the alien ship where
they can't run away and they just sit there screaming "They're
Everywhere!" and you just munch them.  I save my rockets for that.
It's too bad there are so many assimilated bobs in there, so you
can't just shoot them one at a time.  :)

Air Bob!
Shocking but true. Did you ever kill a Bob? I guess we'll pay for our sins in Marathon Infinity ;-)

Paul Gettle <pgettle@GroupZ.net> writes pointing out that in Bungie's ad for Marathon Infinity it shows the first page of a _seven_ page autopsy report. Paul provides the text of the ad from Mac Home Journal (7/96):


Filing Information
DATE: 3-27-96
SEX: male
AGE: 26
HEIGHT: 6'1"
WEIGHT 104 lbs.
PLACE OF DEATH 724 Mariani Avenue, Apt. A. Cupertino, CA
TIME OF DEATH: Approx. 4:00 AM, March 26, 1996
CAUSE OF DEATH: Dehydration, acute malnutrition, immobility from constant
and incessant play of Marathon Infinity

Condition of Vital Organs
HEART: Cross-section revealed stress-induced tissue damage caused by
exposure to 20 new levels of Marathon.
BRAIN: Pleasure Center sufferd hyper-stimulation from addictive use of Map
Editor to create new game levels (tissue resembled fried baloney). Damage
to cerebral cortex, possibly caused by new monster and game environments.
DIGESTIVE TRACT: Stomach -- ulcerated, empty except for traces of
finger-nails. Large intestine -- recovered pieces of paper. Appear to be
printouts from Marathon2 strategy guide
EYES: Unusable for organ donation due to 16-bit high resolution graphics.
BLOOD: Type A+. No traces of drugs or alcohol. Nearly toxic levels of
adrenaline induced by on-line sharing of "home brewed" Marathon levels
and/or Iron Maiden albums.
OTHER: Pancreas -- Microscopic analysis revealed extensive cellular damage
and little squiggly things. Left Kidney - Missing

Physician Notes
Contact Bungie Software at (800) 295-0060, inquire about "Marathon
Infinity". 19th case this month; 5 attributed to new network levels.

Page 1 of __7__

Paul also writes:

"And at the bottom of the ad, not part of the report:
Introducing Marathon Infinity. Play it in your next life, too."

June 11, 1996
The Marathon's Story page and Bungie Software Products Corporation are proud to announce The Seventh HoTBob Competition.

June 12, 1996
Ty Klein <mrenigma@earthlink.net> provides an interesting tidbit. In the credits for both Marathon and Marathon 2 there is a section called "Damage and Spin" Ty asked Matt Soell at Bungie what this stood for. Matt replied that this was short for "Damage Control and Spin Control" Bungie speak for "Public Relations and Marketing".

June 13, 1996
Ty Klein <mrenigma@earthlink.net> provides some interesting information concerning the term "Flechette" as in the KKV-7 10mm Flechette SMG:

"The term Flechette round was invented around 40 years ago (or around that time). A Flechette round is a very small almost dart like bullet that can penetrate body armor. It used to be used in shotgun-like artillery rounds that would be fired and burst in the air over enemy troops. The Flechette round was outlawed by the Geneva convention somewhere around 20-30 years ago because it was considered "inhumane". A Flechette round will go through a bullet proof or flack vest due to its small size and its high speed. Since it's very long and skinny, after it entered the body it would break into lots of pieces and basically shread someones internal organs. But what made them inhumane is that most people don't get killed right away from them. They are seriously wounded or maimed, and if you study military tactics you will find out that it's better to severly wound or maime an enemy soldier then to kill them (a dead soldier can be buried on the spot, but an injured soldier requires medical care, transportation, slows down troop movement, takes up food and other supplies etc.)."

June 16, 1996
The Story page's 1st Marathon Vidmaster Challenge has been beaten. The Challenge? To complete Cool Fusion! Vidmaster style without the Fusion Pistol in order to verify Leela's missing "failure" message. The Challenge arose out of this week's Question of the Week. The Vidmaster? Well you're not going to believe it so I won't tell you. You can find out for yourself when you download poenas dare: cool fusion without the fusion. Please remember that in order to watch this film you will need Tim Seufert's Marathon Vidmaster Challenge Physics Model which is included in the download. Enjoy.

July 3, 1996
David Coufal <coufal@platinum.mit.edu> has some interesting Bungie tidbits on the News Section of his excellent Macintosh 3D Games Resources Page. A DNS lookup on the *.bungie.com hierarchy has revealed some amusing and interesting names. Quite a few references to Norse Gods, Alexandre Dumas's "The Three Musketeers", maybe the odd bit of Japanese food and some computer art by Heidemarie Seblatnig, even a pc version of Tuncer Deniz! Who knows what mysteries lie in these names. ;-)

Adam Freidin <bob@clarity.Princeton.EDU> writes:

"Odyssey:The Legend of Nemesis which has portions copyrighted (1995) by Bungie. Special thanks to Alex Seropian, Jason Jones, Greg Kirkpatrick, Doug Zartman at Bungie Software and to Tuncer Deniz."

Adam also points out that the game ShadowWraith mentions Reg Graphix, lead graphic artist for Marathon, Marathon 2, and Diamonds 3D in it's credits. Could Reg Graphix be J. Reginald Dujour?

July 8, 1996
As the sun begins to set on the Marathon Trilogy a new page is about to be written. A page to celebrate Marathon Vidmastery - old and new.

The Marathon Vidmasters' Page

Command-Option Begin Game for Total Carnage all the way. Solo levels like you've never experienced them before. To wet your appetite here are two films of Ignie Ferroque. One by an old timer the other a young gun. By Fire and Sword. More information about this Page will appear soon. Will you be prepared to bite the bullet?

July 22, 1996
Avi Selk <avi@cyberspc.mb.ca> points out that in the data fork of the Marathon map file you will find interesting comments along side some of the map names. Same applies for Marathon 2 ... a ya ya... You'll need a program like Jim Bumgardner's HexEdit to read them. Anybody want to list these?

Avi also mentions that buried deep in the resource fork of Marathon 2 is a reference to the player being a "zombie". It also says something about freaks! But we won't go into that. ;-)

Oh yes... if anybody finds the secret story clue left by Greg please give me a shout.

It seems that this Number Seven thing is catching. Adam Freidin <bob@clarity.Princeton.EDU> points out that in the game Odyssey, an Ultima style game, there are numerous references to the Number Seven. So what's the connection? Apparently the game uses code from Bungie's game Minotuar and Alex Seropian, Jason Jones, Greg Kirkpatrick and Doug Zartman are all mentioned in the credits.

July 30, 1996
Bungie's Webperson (let's be PC here!) reveals a little bit more on the influences behind Marathon in Bungie's letters page. The Webperson writes:

"...Aliens was definitely an influence on the Marathon games. Certainly more of an influence than Harlan Ellison, who is more of an influence on the WebMaster, truth be told. (Oddly enough, another James Cameron film - Terminator - was based on a couple of Outer Limits episodes scripted by Mr. Ellison.)"

The Outer Limits episode in question was "Soldier" written in 1964. James Cameron settled out of court.

Who is Bungie's Webperson? Now that is the question!

Aug 1, 1996
Peter Marks <pmarks@northpark.edu> provides a passage from the sf novel "Marathon" by D. Alexander Smith which he feels at times adequately describes playing the game:

"The marathon is not a glorious race; not a race for triumph. It is a race of endurance won, not by the fastest, not the strongest, but by the toughest, most determined runner. The marathon runner forgets all else; he only sees the ribbon of roadway ahead, he hears his feet slapping methodically against the ground. He feels the pain which wraps about him like a blanket, draining, ever draining. The terrain bobs about him as he runs onward. Pain is his only companion. It is not a pleasant race."

Marathon by D. Alexander Smith (1982): page 98.

Aug 3, 1996
For those of you who have asked about the meaning of the words Lasciate Ogne Speranza, Voi Ch'intrate which appear above the door of Bungie's HQ Jim Mitchell <BobJam@aol.com> has the answer. It's Italian for Abandon Every Hope, All Who Enter Here. How does he know? Is he Italian? No! It's in the PiD Hints Book. I've been telling people for months to get this book. It has ALL the answers and even some of the questions. Now where did I put my copy?

Philip Accas <Philip_Accas@paramount.com> asks who are these terrain BOBs? Are they dressed in earth tones rather than garish greens and reds? ;-)

Philip goes onto say that in the Marathon demo the advice from Bungie on the 1st terminal is RUN, RUN, RUN.... What better advice for a Marathoner?

Aug 6, 1996
Yes!... the ULTIMATE question has been answered. Was Durandal Elvis reanimated? David Snyder <David_Snyder@marinfo.org> says NO WAY - "Elvis was the King. Durandal is God.". Too cool ;-) But did escape make Elvis a God too?

On the same theme - this week is apparently "Elvis Week". He was born 61 years ago. 6 + 1 = 7. Let's ROCK! [after Vasquez of course].

Aug 8, 1996
Was there life on Mars? Wilson Miner <wminer9@mail.idt.net> points out that recent evidence would suggest that this is a possibility. The following is part of statement by NASA on the subject:

"NASA has made a startling discovery that points to the possibility that a primitive form of microscopic life may have existed on Mars more than three billion years ago. The research is based on a sophisticated examination of an ancient Martian meteorite that landed on Earth some 13,000 years ago."

Understandably the CIA have begun questioning certain employees at Bungie Software Corporation. The sudden disappearance of Greg Kirkpatrick remains a mystery.

David Coufal <dcoufal@MIT.EDU> writes concerning a possible influence on the Marathon Story pointing out that the novels of sf writer Iain M. Banks are set in in a universe known as The Culture; where civilization is run by thousands of ship-sized AIs known as Minds. These Minds are generally very sarcastic, and name their ships whimsicaly. David asks - does this remind you of any A.I.'s of your aquaintance?

Aug 10, 1996
There seems to some confusion concerning Bungie's use of Dante Alighieri's quote Lasciate Ogne Speranza, Voi Ch'intrate which appears above their door and as a level name in Pathways into Darkness. David Coufal <dcoufal@MIT.EDU> writes to say that he has been informed by Claudio Cataldo <claudio.cataldo@usa.net> that the correct citation from Dante's "Divina Commedia" is Lasciate ogni speranza Voi che entrate. However, it doesn't end there - Columbia University spell it a differently as well - Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch' entrate. The Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1895) translation of this line is All hope abandon, ye who enter in! Of course we've all seen this before. Latin or Italian, what the heck... it's all Greek to me. ;-)

Aug 14, 1996
Brian Harriss <brianh@gcctech.com> points out that on the vacuum level "Acme Station" (the 3rd level on the Marathon Infinity demo) we encounter Fighters and asks how do they survive the vacuum? Brian makes reference to what Leela tells us on "Defend THIS!":

Only two clans of the Pfhor have been examined. The Fighter carries a shock staff, which is capable of attacking at different settings. The Trooper is armored for vacuum conditions and carries a combination explosive and impact projectile weapon which is similar to your AR-75.

<Defend THIS! (Terminal 4)>

Thus the Fighters were not vacuum capable.

Seems like another story inconsistency... we hope that these things will be sorted out before the final release. Maybe swap the Fighters for Troopers... ;-)

Ty Klein <mrenigma@earthlink.net> passes on an interesting Bungie tidbit from alt.games.marathon. The full post is given below.

From: Jay Barry 
Newsgroups: alt.games.marathon
Subject: Re: Marathon: the Movie
Date: Tue, 13 Aug 1996 11:08:15 -0500
Organization: Bungie Software Products
Lines: 16
Message-ID: <3210A86F.5783@bungie.com>
NNTP-Posting-Host: null.bungie.com
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
X-Mailer: Mozilla 2.02 (Win95; I)

> > > You: Arnold maybe? Some guy who looks good with a big gun and is big
> > > and strong.
> >
> > no, um... you would be John Travolta.
> Uh... nah. I was thinking more along the lines of... Sly? Possibly, He
> has the look and all, but I don't know about the voice... Rocky...
> ummmm....

Well... Jonas figured out that in real-world terms the cyborg is about
5'7" (what Hamish Sinclair will do with this tidbit I've no idea) so
Sly would be a better guess than Arnie.  Jason Jones would probably
insist on playing it himself though...


Hold on a sec while I find my serious hat... 5'7" ?!?! Hey let's get REAL here. It says in the Marathon manual that:

...you've always been the colony's trouble shooter. You're bigger and stronger, and a better shot.

At 5'7" we're the biggest?!?! What are we talking about here... a colony of midgets? ;-)

Aug 15, 1996
Thanks to Ben Elgin <belgin@osiris.ac.hmc.edu>, Avi Selk <avi@cyberspc.mb.ca>, and Jesse Shrieve <J@Field.Com> who all write pointing out that in Jay Barry's a.g.m. post he calls our character a CYBORG. This is the first time someone from Bungie has actually admitted this fact. A little slip perhaps. ;-)

Christopher Mc Craken <asciirider@firecraker.com> and Mark Tomczak <MacPrgmr@aol.com> both point out that at 5'7" we could still be the biggest in the colony as size is determined by two factors: height and girth. Our character may be a short stocky guy!

Personally I prefer to think of myself as a tall lean mean fighting machine. However that's my fantasy. ;-) Maybe Jonas Eneroth would like to elaborate on how he derived this magic figure of 5'7"?

Avi Selk <avi@cyberspc.mb.ca> notes that on "Acme Station" we hear water dripping and asks how we can be hearing this? Liquid cannot exist in a vacuum!

On the same theme Ben Elgin <belgin@osiris.ac.hmc.edu> asks how does the shotgun work in a vacuum?


I won't waste my time trying to explain the loading mechanism to you - your primitive mind could never grasp its complex nature.


Mark Tomczak <MacPrgmr@aol.com> writes to suggest that maybe Acme Station is not in vacuum but rather simply has no oxygen. Mark goes on to say that perhaps the station is filled with the atmosphere breathed by the ancient race that created it? Good point. This could explain the dripping water sound, indeed all sounds on this level. Note also that Durandal doesn't say that the station is in vacuum only that we will run out of oxygen if we take too long.

Aug 16, 1996
Jonathan Westin <westin@lerum.mail.telia.com> just couldn't help but notice that part of the intro music to Marathon Infinity is a remixed version of soundtrack number 13 from Marathon. Jonathan writes: "Begin listen to the background beat 7 seconds after the "Infinity" voice".

I won't spoil it and tell you what level uses soundtrack number 13 I'll let you figure that out for yourself. Also I have jelly ears so don't write to me about it. ;-)

Oh yes! No guesses as to what soundtrack "Arrival" uses.

Aug 31, 1996
Interesting to note that before NASA officially announced the possibility of life on Mars only the US President and 6 other people knew about this exciting discovery. Well that was before Dick Morris (the President's chief strategist) told Ms. Sherry Rowlands. So seven people held the knowledge that life might exist somewhere else. Strangely familar.

The alien projection appeared in the early Spring of 1994, flickering suddenly into existence deep within the Pentagon in Washinton, D.C. The hologram of the Jjaro diplomat interrupted, quite deliberately, an important briefing of the President by his senior military staff. It told them they had eight days to save the world.

No one outside the six men present that day knows exactly what was said in the hours that followed...

Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction.

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Hamish Sinclair
Last updated Sept 19, 1998