since 1995

August 31, 2022 (Wednesday) 8.31.2022

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Arthur C. Clarke. Clarke's Third Law. Science Vol 159, Issue 3812 (page 255) January 19, 1968.

Thanks to Joshua Casson for reminding me that nothing on the internet disappears.

A few days ago I commented on the fact that the Marty O'Donnell interview with Paul Russel had been deleted from YouTube. Phhht! Just like that.  However Joshua writes:

"I just wanted to bring it to your attention that due to the youtube link you so helpfully provided on your site, that you can plug that into the way back machine and watch the full interview that way here."

What magic is this? Time travel?

So I have gone back in time to capture an extended soundbite from the interview about the early plot of Halo and how the original intention was to set it in the Marathon universe. This all changed with the arrival of Joseph Staten according to Paul Russel. You can listen to it here.

To give you a date reference for the events in this audio piece Peter Tamte joined Bungie some time around May 1999. In the same month Bungie unveiled Halo behind closed doors at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles (May 13-15). Coming from Apple, Peter Tamte was instrumental in getting Halo shown publicly at New York MacWorld on July 21, 1999.

Nathan Bitner left Bungie on October 20, 1999.

Joseph Staten unveiled the background story of Halo at Bungie's "Gathering of Fans" at San Francisco Macworld on January 5, 2000 and a day later to the world on Bungie TV.

August 30, 2022 (Tuesday) 8.30.2022

Marathon Infinity gold master, burned in Brooklyn, 1996. Posted on Twitter by Randy Reddig (aka ydnar).

Apparently Randy was cleaning out some old boxes and found it.

This CD would most likely only contain the Marathon Infinity scenario "Blood Tides of Lh'owon" which Double Aught were contracted by Bungie to create. Randy was part of the Double Aught team who were based in Brooklyn, New York.

The Infinity scenario would have been completed sometime between September 9, 1996 when the beta testers got the Final Candidate and September 17, 1996 when the full CD (including Forge and Anvil) went Gold Master. Bungie's Tuncer Deniz announced on the beta testing mailing list on September 17:

"At 4:30 PM CST, Marathon Infinity went GM. The CD is off to manufacturing."
So the mystery question of the day is... how did this guy get to play Marathon Infinity before it was even made? And what happened to his body after the autopsy?

August 29, 2022 (Monday) 8.29.2022

"There are other surprises as well — you might find yourself in an entirely different reality than the one of the Starship Marathon."
Bungie. Marathon 2: Durandal manual. November 21, 1995.

In the April 1995 edition of the gaming magazine NEXT Generation a concerned reader wrote to the editor complaining about their lack of Macintosh game reviews. Part of the letter read:
"Granted, the Mac is not a game machine. Correction: The Mac is now a game machine as of December 23, 1994. The day Bungie Software released Marathon."

The editor replied:
"Chill out.  More Mac games — including Marathon — will be reviewed in forthcoming issues. That's a promise."

Fast forward to the July 1995 issue of NEXT Generation. The long awaited Marathon review began...

Now before you do a double take... this is reality. Just not the one you are in.

In your reality Take-Two Interactive Software acquired a 19.9 percent equity interest in Bungie Software for an undisclosed cash sum in 1999.

In June 2000, Take-Two sold its 19.9 percent equity interest in Bungie Software to Microsoft Corporation for approximately $5 million. They would later declare that they did not realize any gain or loss on this transaction.

Separately, Take-Two sold its exclusive Halo publishing and distribution rights to Bungie for the following:

  1. $4 million in cash;
  2. a royalty free license to Bungie's Halo technology in connection with the development of two original products;
  3. all right, title and interest to the Myth franchise and the upcoming game Oni.
Take-Two valued (2) and (3) at $5.8 million (consisting of $2.8 million relating to Oni, $1.5 million relating to Myth and $1.5 million relating to the license to use Halo game engine technology for two original products)

(Source: Securities and Exchange Commission. February 11, 2002)

Microsoft_Bob     Take_2_logo_1999-2004

What happened in the other reality is a story for another day.

August 27, 2022 (Saturday) 8.27.2022

Thanks to Mandalore of MandaloreGaming for sending is this animated segment from his Marathon Infinity review with the message... "There's lots of little hidden bits to catch in it!"   Open the video in a new window if you want to see it in its full original size. Dissect at your leisure.

The segment begins with concept art by Craig Mullins for a proposed film of Neal Stephenson's science fiction novel "Snow Crash" published in 1992. Craig would later reuse it in a Marathon Infinity chapter screen. See the Marathon Art of Craig Mullins section for more details.

The segment ends with what Paul Russel described as "happy fun time Joe Staten land" and contrasts sharply with the darker tones of Pathways Into Darkness and the Marathon series. An audio segment of Paul's interview with Marty O'Donnell can be found here. The full interview appears to have been removed from YouTube. (How am I not surprised by this).

In the middle is... well I leave that to your interpretation.

August 26, 2022 (Friday) 8.26.2022

"Marathon Infinity might kill me."
Mandalore. Marathon Review. May 28, 2022

Mandalore of MandaloreGaming completes the Marathon Trilogy with his review of Marathon Infinity.

Marathon Infinity is an enigma. A riddle wrapped in a mystery... yet to be solved.

How will the Knights of Mandalore fare as they take on the dark abyss, where few dare to tread.

What happens in Marathon Infinity?

Related links

Mandalore's review of  Marathon
Mandalore's review of  Marathon 2: Durandal
Mandalore's review of  Pathways Into Darkness

August 24, 2022 (Wednesday) 8.24.2022

fracai in a Story forum post lets us know that he has made further updates to his Marathon interactive maps. He writes:

Now you can have hours of fun with games like:

What level has the most paper?
Where is monster-28 hiding?
Who put that there?
Spot the mothrid.
How many terminals does Marathon 2 have?
Dark dirt spells...?

August 22, 2022 (Monday) 8.22.2022

"I want you to find a friend of mine. I must know if he is dead. His name is Bernhard Strauss."
Durandal. Marathon. No Artificial Colors (Terminal 1: 'Unfinished' message). July, 2794

In a Story forum post fracai <> has created SVG (Scalable Vector Graphic) versions of the Marathon Trilogy levels with JavaScript controls. This is building on the excellent work of Hopper.

What does this all mean for mere mortals? Well according to fracai:

You can filter by elevation, show hidden lines, switches, panels, item and monster locations, and also switch and trigger lines identifying what they activate (lights and liquids can get a bit noisy).

It also means you can find out where Bernhard Strauss might be hiding on 'No Artificial Colors'.

How so?

Well since he is the Marathon's first science director he should be dressed in a yellow suit. You just need to select the color you are looking for.

Bob Crew [green]
Bob Science (yellow)
Bob Security [blue]
Bob Engineering [red]

Of course this assumes these color designations are accurate. Well according to this Story forum post they came from Michael Hanson's Marathon Physics Model Editor. And according to Steve Israelson (Pfhorte creator) they originally came from the Marathon 1 source code.

And of course there is this urban legend.

in m1 I saw a blue bob kill a pfhor

Go Bob!

August 21, 2022 (Sunday) 8.21.2022

And now the results of the...

Marathon Caption Competition

First prize.

"I don't think Durandal can hear us."

Runner up.

"Thank God we ditched those green suits."
"Thank God it's you!"

Worthy mention... 3rd place.

"We'll hide here. Like Bob in Hangar 7A port side. No one will find us."
"That's what he said."

The Stanley Kubrick Foundation would like to point out that 2001: A Space Odyssey is not a documentary. It is a motion picture film made in 1968 and bears no resemblance to the 1994 Marathon game.

Bungie Inc. were unavailable for comment.

August 19, 2022 (Friday) 8.19.2022

"I'm getting sick of coming back to hangar ninety six, but there is no avoiding it. This is what my existence needs."
Unknown Source. Marathon Infinity. Eat the Path (Terminal 2). October 15, 1996

Happy Eight Nineteen Day.

Yes folks, it's August 19th...  819 day.

And just how many terminals are there in Marathon 2?  Is the number 81?  And can you read them all?

Can you spot the 819 achievement?

Happy 819 Day. It's a magic number afterall.

August 15, 2022 (Monday) 8.15.2022

"Unfortunately, Hastur has not the time anymore to update these pages."
Double Aught. Hastur's Workshop. August 15, 1997

Happy Closure Day.


This day 25 years ago Hastur's Workshop closed its doors. The closure signaled the end of Double Aught's Marathon run. It was now... Duality or bust.

In truth Double Aught had finished their Marathon run some six months earlier.

When Hastur's Workshop was resuscitated in late June 1997 it was actually Randall Shaw (aka FrigidMan) doing the resuscitation. No surprise really as most of the map tips and tricks now being added were coming from his own level designs in scenarios like Siege of Nor'Korh and Marathon Evil, and net maps like Hata. Randall was no stranger to Double Aught having worked on Marathon Infinity creating a number of net levels and the Vidmaster's Challenge levels. He was like one of the family. The one that no one talked about... the one... in the attic.

So at what point did Double Aught actually finish their Marathon run?

Well on February 6, 1997 Randy Reddig created his last web page update for Double Aught, called OO5. This update included Double Aught's net map pack Coriolis Loop. Still considered today as having some of the finest net levels out there. In addition there was the long awaited ck on infinity and the first Duality web page.

You could say it was all downhill from here.

Sure there was the Battle of Brooklyn during April '97. But by the Round #4 the towel appeared. Colin Kawakami (aka lilbuddha) commenting on the machinations of Don King wrote:

I don't think that members of doubleaught were ready to publicly declare a
king.  As the scores wound themselves up, we became anxious, perhaps even
petty. These are not qualities worthy of the new bushido. If there was to
be ONE who was the best? Daggers in the back, stangulation in dark
stairwells, a revisionist history looming...

Randall Shaw kept the flag flying during the summer of '97 but by mid-August it was all over.  Phhht! Just like that.

It was a good run but it was now... Duality or bust.

But that's a story for another day.

Related links:

Who were Hastur and Grendel?  trace the development of Hastur's Workshop and answer the question.  rampant website design from the masters of obfuscation and obscurification (oo).
ck on infinity  what did it say?... what did it mean?... 24 years later.
ydnar on infinity  contains a yet undiscovered secret.

August 13, 2022 (Saturday) 8.13.2022

"Explaining Marathon Infinity is like explaining Schrödinger's cat. The only difference is there is no cat."
Unknown Source. April 29, 2021

So we missed Erwin Schrödinger's birthday yesterday. My bad.

As any Marathon Infinity aficionado will tell you — understanding Schrödinger's work on quantum mechanics is fundamental to answering the Ultimate Question.

In 1939, at the age of 52, Schrödinger arrived in Dublin (Ireland) to help set up the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. He spent the next 17 years at the Institute as Director of the School of Theoretical Physics. It was during this time that he wrote 'What Is Life? The Physical Aspect of the Living Cell' which theorised that genetic information might be stored in molecules. It was this work that inspired the work of Watson and Crick. And the rest they say is history.

But I digress.

Oh... and the cat was called Hastur... or was it Grendel? I can't exactly remember...

August 12, 2022 (Friday) 8.12.2022

"When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean-neither more nor less."
Lewis Carroll. Through the Looking-Glass. December 1871.

Sally from Redmond writes concerning this news item saying that  "the kid who got the kick ass shirt is a lucky man now"  pointing out that it was the very first Bungie specific shirt. She goes on to say that there is a  "funny story"  associated with that shirt which  "the guys teased Alain about".

Ah yes... the Alain Roy "kiss my ass" story.  Faithfully documented in the original draft of the Marathon Scrapbook. Unfortunately that version was drastically cut by the editor to make it fit inside the Trilogy box.

But before we get to the "funny story"... some brief background information on Alain Roy (for our new readers and the old ones who 4GET).

Alain was an intern at Bungie during the summer of '94 working on the code for Marathon's networking, interface, replays etc. He was the self-declared "anti-vidmaster" at Bungie, not least because he was given the slowest Mac in the office.

Rumor has it he was paid in Bungie t-shirts... or something. But don't believe me go read the Alain Roy interview archived on this site.

So back to the "funny story".  Having acquired a large number of Bungie t-shirts Alain had become somewhat of an authority on the subject. Responding to a question about their quality he famously wrote:

"I have to say that I have an affinity for the "don't make us kiss your ass" shirt, but it's not one I feel always feel comfortable wearing."

As one person remarked:

"I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable wearing a shirt telling people that either!"

At Bungie Software:

Greg:    "Hey Alain."
Alain:    "What?"
Greg:    "Kiss my ass."
Alain:    "Hey Greg."
Greg:    "What?"
Alain:    "No, kiss MY ass."


As Sally points out the 'Don't Make Us Kick Your Ass' t-shirt is Bungie specific. It is not game-related (Marathon, Pathways Into Darkness or Minotaur: The Labyrinths of Crete). The front of the shirt has the new (1994) Bungie logo. The shirt is highly sought after by Bungie Memorabilia collectors but watch out for repros... They're Everywhere!

Check out that logo... original?  How can you tell?  Who you gonna call?  BungieBusters™

The 'Don't Make Us Kick Your Ass' acronym (DMUKYA) appears on the Marathon box. It would later feature in Latin as the motto on the Bungie coat of arms.

August 10, 2022 (Wednesday) 8.10.2022

"The first rule of Fight Club is — you do not talk about Fight Club."
"The second rule of Fight Club is — you DO NOT talk about Fight Club!"

Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt).  Fight Club.  1999.

Happy Marathon Infinity Demo Day

This day 26 years ago the Marathon Infinity Demo was released.

The Infinity Demo Read Me provided little in the way of what to expect in terms of the story. Indeed there had been a sparsity of information about the story from day one.

Sure Bungie's press release talked about the game being set in the  Marathon 2 world  and would  elaborate the Marathon story,  laying bare many of the mysteries raised in the first two games about Durandal, Tycho and the player.   Never-before-used enhancements would free the player from the strict linearity of previous games .

Then there was Alex Seropian's evocative but enigmatic title — Blood Tides of Lh'owon.  But what did it mean?

One person at Bungie admitted to knowing the plot ideas but couldn't talk about them. He wrote:

"...while I can't talk about them in any detail yet, I can tell you that the plot of the scenario in Marathon Infinity will be as labyrinthine as you've come to expect  -  perhaps more so."

Perhaps Double Aught had Rules:

The first rule of Marathon Infinity is — you do not talk about Marathon Infinity.
The second rule of Marathon Infinity is — you DO NOT talk about Marathon Infinity!

Bungie did unveil Marathon Infinity at the 2nd annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles (May 16-18, 1996).  But what happened there is a story for another day.

Today is Happy Marathon Infinity Demo Day.

Unfortunately, no one can be told what Marathon Infinity is.  You have to see it for yourself.

i see  i hear  i know

the dark reflection of ~self
seeping through
my maze of mirrors my circus glass

Marathon Infinity Demo
terminal text

August 8, 2022 (Monday) 8.08.2022

"The first Marathon was very successful, yet even as it shipped we had a thousand different ideas for improving it and continuing the story."
Jason Jones.  Inside MacGames, Sneak Peek: Marathon 2.  July/August 1995.

Happy Marathon 2: Durandal unveil day.


Happy Marathon 2: Durandal Preview Day

Ok... I know what you are thinking... they are the same thing. But they're not.

This day 27 years ago Bungie unveiled Marathon 2: Durandal at Boston Macworld '95 and Power Computing also gave out The Disc containing the Marathon 2: Durandal Preview. These were two different versions of the same game.

And then there was this version.  Cyborgs with miniguns.

Related links.

Marathon 2 Preview background, walkthrough, etc.
Marathon 2 Preview terminal text
Marathon 2 Demo terminal text
Bungie's second web page the minigun lives on.
Release Dates

August 6, 2022 (Saturday) 8.06.2022

"It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."
Arthur Conan Doyle. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: A Scandal in Bohemia. 1892.

Sally from Redmond writes about this news item saying "Bungie did nothing of the kind. Rather than make amends for Microsoft Bob's demise you might say they practiced an early form of teabagging."

Wait what?  The Story page twisting the thru7h to suit the facts?

Sally does raise an interesting point. Even though Bungie released Marathon 2 for Windows 95 some 9 months after the Mac version and redesigned the box they still used the same box acronym from the Macintosh box, namely MBIBTYB (My Bob Is Bigger Than Your Bob).  Microsoft Bob lost the fight in early 1996 and Bungie teabagged him?


In the book "Bringing Design to Software" by the Stanford University academic Terry Winograd there is a section entitled "Profile 7. Microsoft Bob".  Here is part of the text:

No manual comes with Bob, but in the box you find the premier issue of Bob Magazine, which is formatted like a magazine, and contains stories such as "Setting up Bob: Simple steps to put Bob on your computer." The packaging and advertising prominently feature a nerdish smiley face, with glasses bearing a resemblance to the ones worn by Microsoft founder, Bill Gates. The slogan under the logo is "Introducing hard-working, easy-going software everyone will use," and the examples on the front of the box include "Write a letter to Mom"...

At Bungie Software:

Greg:   "Hey Jason."
Jason:  "What?"
Greg:   "Your Mom."
Jason:  "Hey Greg."
Greg:   "What?"
Jason:  "No, YOUR Mom."

In the teenie weenie small print of Bob Magazine, the same size Bungie used in the Marathon Scrapbook to hint at the next iteration of Marathon, there is a line that says... "Whoever kills Bob, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold."

August 5, 2022 (Friday) 8.05.2022

So a number of people have written in saying... "Listen to this!"

If you were going to reboot Marathon why not give it a more modern darker version soundtrack.

The above track is called Landing [Pyramid Mix] by Myrzir.

Marathon is a dark game. Durandal has set in motion a series of events which will not only destroy the Marathon, the Chockisens, and those creepy mothrids, but pretty much everything.

Go Durandal.

August 4, 2022 (Thursday) 8.04.2022

"When the W'rkncacnter came, Pthia was killed, and Yrro in anger, flung the W'rkncacnter into the sun."
Marathon 2: Durandal.  Six Thousand Feet Under (Terminal 4).  November 24, 1995.

Patt <> writes concerning Bungie's 7-Step World Domination Plan which first appeared on the back of the Ling Ling's Head t-shirt in July 2000.

Back of the Ling Ling's Head t-shirt in the Museum of Bungie Antiquities.

Patt writes:

I cracked open pandora's box and got into Marathon after not researching it for my whole life - a life filled with Halo.

Step 7: Shoot enemies into sun with giant slingshot

(jjarro) flung the W'rkncacnter into the sun (gravity slingshot)

The seven7h s7ep has been a quirky bit of lore to me for my entire fan life.
Now I feel as if I'm the only fan to suppose that it is a direct marathon durandal reference.

I will continue to plunder the depths of this abyss that is the story page!  I have so many tabs open.

The last time the Jjaro tried that in our solar system sixty-four million years ago they missed and hit Earth.  Oops.  For sixty-four million years the mistake went unreported. Then on May 5, 1994  Ryu'Toth, a Jjaro representative for Tru7h and Reconciliation, appeared on Earth via hologram, apologizing for the accident.  Oh... and we had eight days to save our planet.  Sorry.

But I digress.

For seven long years Bungie schemed and planned, and finally were able to tick that 6th box.

Or so they thought.

August 3, 2022 (Wednesday) 8.03.2022

"It's as close as you'll get to virtual reality without a helmet."
Jason Jones. IMG Sneak Peek: Pathways Into Darkness. June, 1993.

Happy Pathways Release Day

This day 29 years ago Bungie began selling Pathways Into Darkness at the Boston Macworld Expo '93.

There was no virtual reality at Boston Macworld '93 you could actually walk away with a copy of the game and 350 people apparently did. Just check the contents before leaving the show.

Tuncer Deniz described the efforts it took to get the game out the door in the month before Boston Macworld:

"By July, only the pyramid was finished, but all the levels underground remained to be created. The game was behind schedule and the pressure was on to ship by Macworld. Jones worked feverishly putting in 18 hour days, and rumor has it that Jones suffered a nervous breakdown (I'm just kidding). By the end of July most of the game was finished, and went into beta about a week before the Expo. Just before leaving for Macworld, 500 copies of Pathways were duplicated and shrinkwrapped in the offices of Bungie Software for sale at the show."

That's everything below the line... in one month!!!

mastermap.gif stolen from David Coufal... a loooong time ago.

Seven above and the rest below... Jason did them all before August 3, 1993.

Happy Pathways Release Day


The temporal distortions encountered in Pathways Into Darkness have never been adequately explained. I mean you had Germans from 1938 running around with the Walther P4, a gun that wasn't developed until the late 1970s. And the American's had outdated weapons. People did ask questions but got no answers and the maintainer of the PID page still hasn't updated the Weapons section after 22 years. What's he hiding?

August 2, 2022 (Tuesday) 8.02.2022

"A science officer on the mission, you are the last hope for defending the ship as hostile and intelligent aliens prepare to destroy every living thing."
Bungie. Press Release, August 2, 1994.

Go science!

Happy Marathon Unveil Day.

Yes folks, this day 28 years ago Bungie unveiled Marathon (again) at the Boston Macworld Expo in August 1994. Bungie had in fact unveiled an earlier version of the game at the San Francisco Macworld Expo in January 1994. According to Jason Jones that version "barely made a ripple at the show".

Boston's Marathon was a different story. The game's rendering engine had been rewritten from the ground up by Jason Jones and Ryan Martell. Ryan had also written a Marathon map editor called Vulcan, described as "all the madness and misery in twenty lunatic asylums, distilled into a single Macintosh application."  Which probably accounts for Greg Kirkpatrick's credits terminal comment "F-Vulcan. F-Vulcan. F-Vulcan."

Dan Meltz (Pathways Hintbook author) described the Bungie Booth setup which included a CyberMaxx VR helmet. According to CyberMaxx an adapter to connect the helmet to a Mac would not be available until January. So out came the paper clip, bubble gum and duct tape. According to Dan:

"the adaptor for the show was jury rigged specifically for the show. it was, shall we say, not particularly hardy, and was carefully protected througout the show."

Go MacGyver!

You could pre-order Marathon at Macworld. Marathon was done. Just waiting on packaging and printing. ETA? One week? Three weeks? Let's split the difference. That's when the problems started.

But I digress.

Today is Happy Marathon Unveil Day.

Go Marathon!

"My parents went to Boston Macworld '94 and all I got was this lousy t-shirt."

August 1, 2022 (Monday) 8.01.2022

"Bungie's classic will turn your stomach."
Hilary Goldstein. IGN review of Marathon: Durandal, July 31, 2007.

Happy Marathon: Durandal Day.

Yes folks, Marathon: Durandal - Freeverse's  'enhanced port'  of Marathon 2: Durandal for Xbox 360 was released today... 15 years ago (in the mirror universe).

Commenting on the Xbox 360 port in an IGN interview Freeverse producer Bruce Morrison remarked:

"Marathon is quite possibly one of the most discussed and examined First Person Shooters of all time."

But why port Marathon 2 (again)?  Bruce Morrison explained the Marathon Trilogy's "Goldilocks Zone" to IGN:

"Marathon 1 was small and really simple and fairly shallow. Infinity was confusing. Marathon 2 fit just right between them."

So there you have it. Marathon 2 was... "neither too hot nor too cold, but just right".

I will leave the last words to reviewer Hilary Goldstein...

"Before there was Halo, there was Marathon. If you thought Halo had a mad following, just wait until you run into one of these Marathon nuts. They swear by Bungie's old shooter and with good reason. Marathon is a very solid game and a more sophisticated alternative to the id classic, DOOM. But be warned, though Marathon is fun, it may turn your stomach. Marathon's bonus XBLA feature is motion sickness. Those with a strong stomach (or a medicinal cure) will find a fun and fairly lengthy adventure."

Welcome to Marathon... Hilary.

Marathon Scrapbook (page 20)

July 31, 2022 (Sunday) 7.31.2022

Everything is not as it seems{ }.  seems{ }.  seems{ }.
Leela.  Shake Before Using... (Terminal 1).  July 26, 2794.

Happy Marathon 2 for Windows 95 Demo day.

Yes folks, this day 26 years ago Bungie released the demo of Marathon 2 for Windows 95.

In an effort to make amends for their part in the downfall of Microsoft Bob Bungie decided to port Marathon 2: Durandal to Windows 95. But this port would be different. Microsoft Bob would be bigger and stronger than Macintosh Bob this time.

Bob art by Shogoki.

The Win95 Demo Read Me file read like a Marathon Infinity terminal:

a vanished civilization, in the shadow of alien 

wading in the shallows or submerged in the depths of lava pools and waterways.

the starship Marathon, you are taken to a world of roaring rivers and howling winds. 16-bit sounds employ real-time stereo tracking to give you audio clues to your environment and position.

surfaces, dance in synchrony and add significance to your surroundings.

And in this timeline... Durandal is... different.

"Damaged,  one of the Marathon's onboard synthetic intellects, Durandal,  struggled to organize a defense of the stricken vessel."

Synthetic intellect?  Struggled to organize a defense of the stricken vessel?

The Bungie Team responsible for the port and rewrite were:

Ryan Martell (Development)
Tuncer Deniz (Production)
Jay Barry (Whatever)
Jonas Eneroth (Scenarios)

So on this special day fire up the Windows 95 demo and... find yourself starting back.

Be careful. Everything it not is as used to be.
Leela.  Shake Before Using... (Terminal 1).  July 26, 2794.

Shhhhh... Leela   I'll look after the children.

July 29, 2022 (Friday) 7.29.2022

"We live in cracks at the edges of society. Old, forgotten Gods, in a land without Gods. But there are New Gods growing in America. They've already replaced us."
Odin (Mr. Wednesday). American Gods (Season 2, Episode 1). 2019

With over 777K views of his Marathon Review YouTube video Mandalore of MandaloreGaming could be consider one of the New Gods. His videos are well researched and professionally put together. Watched by millions he embodies New Media.

Now he has taken on Marathon 2: Durandal. The most straightforward of all three Marathon games and the one most people will be familiar with as it was ported to Windows 95 in 1996 and Xbox 360 in 2007. Marathon 2 occupies the "Goldilocks Zone" of the Trilogy. It is "neither too hot nor too cold, but just right".

The cold impenetrable darkness of Marathon Infinity awaits. Mere mortals forever walk the edge of its abyss.

July 28, 2022 (Thurday) 7.28.2022

"But, like the hundredth copy of a third generation duplication of a substandard bootleg — they're a little fuzzy."
Bungie. Marathon 2: Durandal manual. November 1995.

Sally from Redmond writes to say that my knowledge of Marathon is a "little fuzzy" pointing out that it was not "Manus Celer Dei" it was "celer manus dei".

No, she is not referring to the Marathon sticker from the Marathon Trilogy Box Set.

She is referring to the name Jason Jones used during Marathon net games at the Boston Macworld Expo in 1995. Namely ""celer manus dei". Steve Wood made reference to this in his report of the Bungie booth at the Expo.

So there you have it folks... an error on the Story page.

My apologies to Jason "celer manus dei" Jones.

celer manus dei

"Manus Celer Dei" is the Jjaro dreadnought Durandal returned to Earth in.

I would imagine the value of the "celer manus dei" sticker has just increased seven fold.

Hey!   So whose hand was it?

July 27, 2022 (Wednesday) 7.27.2022

So recently on r/Marathon I saw a pic of a Marathon tattoo posted by SorryYouOK. You can see it below:

Apparently he got it 16 years ago.

Then I remembered this pic from back in April 2004.

And wondered if it was the same person. I mean how many people get a Marathon symbol tattooed on their upper arm?

Then I remembered this news post from back in January 2002. Same but different.

Then I remembered The Marathon Purity Test and Question 46:  Do you have a Marathon tattoo?
The Purity Test was first mentioned in this news post back in January 2012. Apparently it hailed from Sweden.

Then I remembered the famous Ne Cede Malis tattoo and the Manus Celer Dei.
Apparently it hailed from a nightclub in Redmond. But Jason denies all knowledge of it.

But I digress.

July 25, 2022 (Monday) 7.25.2022

Somewhere in the heavens...they are waiting.
Bungie Press Release. July 25, 1994.

Happy Marathon Announcement Day.

Yes folks, this day 28 years ago Bungie announced their new game... Marathon.

But wait... there's more. It is also...

Happy Marathon Attack Day.

i did it i did it i brought all this here all them here. our
friends with three eyes and their toys and their cyborg pets
and their computers. i did it i did it. i saw them i saw
them far away not looking our way and i called them here i
called them here.
Durandal. The Rose (Terminal 3)

Yes folks, this day 772 years from now the U.E.S.C. Marathon will be attacked by hostile alien forces.

Apart from Durandal and the S'pht I am not sure who else will be happy. Certainly not the Pfhor. Certainly not Bernhard Strauss. And certainly not Bob.

Will you be happy?

I have been Roland, Beowulf, Achilles, Gilgamesh.
I have been called a hundred names and will be called a
thousand more before the world goes dim and cold.
Kill Your Television (Terminal 1: 2nd message)

July 23, 2022 (Saturday) 7.23.2022

You've played too much Marathon when...

I have always enjoyed the artwork and humor of Italian artist juzo-kun not least her seven  "You've played too much Marathon when..."  comics.


Her homepage is here and she is also on Deviant Art. Check out her humorous Marathon / Transformers crossover.

Her  "...out of paper? AGAIN"  joke reminds me of The Conversatron and the age old question: Can you briefly summarize the plot of the Marathon series?  Try working out the answer.

Of course the Immersionists will tell you that you cannot truly understand Marathon's story by reading it on a page. You have to read it in-game, in the heat of battle. Every terminal must be a struggle, every screen a victory.

Bigger Guns Nearby by juzo-kun

July 21, 2022 (Thursday) 7.21.2022

Happy Sack Day!

This day 23 years ago Bungie released the Mac Action Sack at MacWorld Expo (New York, July 21-23, 1999) and got to do what they do best.  "Action Sack For Those That Lack" proclaimed the press release. The Bungie Booth was awash with Sack and Your Mom jokes. Inquisitive fans seeking "Historical Monument No. 7" were pointed in the direction of Jason's...

But I digress.

Today is also... Happy Halo Day!

Yes folks, this day 23 years ago Jason Jones got up on stage with Steve Jobs and proved to the world that he could swing it with the big boys.

The rest they say is... history.

Got Sack?

July 20, 2022 (Wednesday) 7.20.2022

I received the following question the other day..."Why is there no official Marathon Infinity manual in Acrobat (PDF) format?"

Why indeed.

Actually this very same question was asked back in November 1998.

Bungie originally released the electronic manuals for Marathon, Marathon 2: Durandal and Marathon Infinity in DOCMaker format. DOCMaker was an application for the Apple Macintosh which created stand-alone, self-running document files. Written by Mark S. Wall / Green Mountain Software it was very popular in the mid-to-late 1990s.

When Bungie released the Marathon Trilogy Box Set in May 1997 the hardcopy manual that came with the box stated:

"We've included all the original Marathon manuals in Acrobat format on the Marathon Trilogy CD-ROM just in case you'd like to check out these manuals."
Marathon Trilogy Manual (page 4). May 1997.


Only they didn't. There was no Marathon Infinity manual. Only Marathon,  Marathon 2: Durandal  and the new Marathon Trilogy manual. Bungie used the Infinity manual as the basis for the Trilogy manual striping out all the Infinity introductory story pieces in order to make it generic for the Box Set. There were also a few other minor changes too.

Bungie had an opportunity to make amends with the release of the Mac Action Sack in July 1999. After all they were selling all three Marathon games again.


Only they didn't. They just included the original manuals in DOCMaker format... again.

No problem. You could just download a PDF version of the Infinity manual from Bungie's Support page ( Nope... the download link gave you a  trilogy_manual.sit  file (aka. the Trilogy manual).

To remedy the lack of a PDF version of the Infinity manual Steve Levinson translated the original DOCMaker format into PDF format for the Story page back in March 2003. The translation isn't perfect however. The formating and image quality could be improved upon. Maybe some day someone will reverse engineer the Trilogy manual back into the Infinity manual since most of the text and images are the same and add the Infinity introductory story text.

So that's the story of the missing Infinity manual... again.

(circumstances are cyclical)

July 19, 2022 (Tuesday) 7.19.2022

"At Bungie,  however,  rare is well done."
Bungie. Press Release. July 19, 1995.

Happy Marathon 2 Announcement Day!

This day 27 years ago Bungie announced Marathon 2: Durandal because... "You asked for it."

Actually Marathon 2 development started as far back as January 27, 1995. Buried deep in the Marathon 2 source code is the following comment from Jason Jones:

Friday, January 27, 1995 12:49:25 AM  (Jason')
	the marathon 2 rewrite begins.

In an interview in the Jan/Feb 1995 issue of Inside Mac Games Jason Jones stated that they were working on a second game. And in a later interview admitted that the ending of Marathon allowed for a sequel:

"I don't know how many people noticed this, but the very last thing that happens to the player in Marathon is that he is teleported off the last level to where? Maybe someday we'll take advantage of this."

And this is from the man who famously said in a 1993 IMG interview:

"...I tend to dislike sequels. Many times when a publisher comes out with a sequel to a game, it means that they made a lot of money on the first one and they're going to continue to publish similar games until everyone gets sick of them."

But I digress.

This is also... Goodbye Alex Day.

Yes folks, this day 20 years ago Alex Seropian announced he was leaving Bungie after founding the company 11 years earlier.

But that's a story for another day.

July 17, 2022 (Sunday) 7.17.2022

So on Friday Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony Group Corporation, completed the acquisition of 100% of the shares of Bungie, Inc.

Sony started this process back in January but it takes time to count that many shares. You do have shares... right?

In Bungie parlance this whole process is called... BLAM  "Your mom!"  DINK.

So what does all this mean? More Marathon games or at the very least the long awaited Marathon Infinity: The Director's Cut?  You see Marathon is... "Big In Japan" .

Japan had the very first Marathon Vidmaster, the one and only Michio Hashimoto (aka Miha) and his side kick... Tomoaki Deguchi (aka DEGU).


Thanks to Miha Japan has the very first certified copy of Marathon 2: Durandal. Worth millions now.

The Japanese version of the Marathon's Story page has already started canvassing Sony Group Corporation in Japan to port the Marathon Trilogy to PlayStation.

Time to brush up on your Japanese perhaps?


July 16, 2022 (Saturday) 7.16.2022

Marathon Infinity Demo. Ne Cede Malis. August 10, 1996.

Q15.  When Greg Kirkpatrick assembled the Double Aught team to take on Infinity which team member was found... "beneath a pile of Mentos wrappers under the Brooklyn Bridge" ?  Choose the correct one. (5 marks)

1. Randy Reddig
2. David Longo
3. Colin Kawakami

Related links.

Marathon Infinity Demo terminal text (and how it helps to explain what happens in Marathon Infinity).
Double Aught's mental bohemian construction (and how it helps to explain what happens in Marathon Infinity).
Marathon Infinity manual (and how it helps to explain what happens in Marathon Infinity).

July 14, 2022 (Thursday) 7.14.2022

Jeoku continues his in-depth playthrough of the Marathon Trilogy on his YouTube Channel. The second video in the series talks about how to play Marathon today and covers the following:

The Various Versions of Marathon
About Aleph One
Difficulty Settings
What is a Vidmaster?
How do You Cheat in Marathon?
Aleph One Plugins

Worth a watch.

Related links:

Marathon Scrapbook
Marathon Beta SF Jan'94 walkthrough
Marathon Zero, Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Blamma
Electronic Entertainment December 1994 Marathon beta sneak peek
A Guide to Vid_Mastery
Marathon Vidmasters' page
The Marathon Vidmaster Challenge
Vidmaster FAQ
Marathon Cheat Codes

July 12, 2022 (Tuesday) 7.12.2022

"Beware of Low-Flying Kitchen Appliances."
Bungie Comic. February 25, 2003.

Back in July 2002 Bungie began a comic strip featuring Bungie employees and the characters from their games. One of these comics featured Greg Kirkpatrick. I have added this to the Blasts from the Past section. Because all these moments will be lost in time.

Hey!   A Bungie Comic?

Related links.

Mac Hall's "Web Bastard" webcomic.
Mac Hall's "Things That Hoot" webcomic.
The Origin of the Jjaro Boxers. A Mac Hall webcomic.
Michio Hashimoto's The Marathon Comic.

Hey!   What about Penny Arcade?

July 10, 2022 (Sunday) 7.10.2022

Well this made me chuckle.

Posted by taffer_78 on Marathon Discord.

And of course we all know how this ends.

If you are new to Marathon then go here for an explanation.

July 9, 2022 (Saturday) 7.09.2022

"The horror, the horror."
Colonel Walter E. Kurtz. Apocalypse Now. August 15, 1979.

Q14.  Which Marathon game did Bungie describe as having "a futuristic story line that will make your head spin and your soul freeze with horror."   Choose the correct one. (5 marks)

1. Marathon
2. Marathon 2: Durandal
3. Marathon Infinity

July 7, 2022 (Thursday) 7.07.2022

Happy Bungie Day.

Contrary to what you read online these days Bungie Day actually dates back as far as July 7, 2000.

Max Hoberman (aka yeron) entered it into the Bungie Events calendar as Fri, July 7th 2000 7:07 AM CST proclaiming Happy Bungie Day!.  So was born Bungie Day. Nothing really happened on that actual day as Bungie were in the process of moving to the Microsoft Redmond campus in Washington.

For July 7, 2001 Matt Soell (aka Proud Flesh) wrote on the news page:

Have a Happy - but Safe - Bungie Day! | Proud Flesh

As I'm sure you're all aware, July 7 is traditionally celebrated around the world as Bungie Day. We encourage you to have as much fun as possible - but because we are always concerned for our fans, we offer the following guidelines on partying responsibly:

- If you are cooking fish, be especially careful, as real fishes might hurt human body. We recommend Soffish as a 100% harmless alternative.

- Leave the pyrotechnics in the hands of experts. Look in the Yellow Pages under Surly Dwarves.

- Pranks involving severed dog's heads break a variety of state and federal laws, and can also annoy your neighbors. Please be considerate.

- We recommend that you avoid "grenade-hopping" displays or contests, especially those on carnival fairways.

- Remember that Mom jokes should always be told in good fun; you should never step "over the line" and provoke anyone to violence. Besides, if you get in a fight with someone, his mom might not like you anymore.

- On Bungie day, be especially kind to friends and acquaintances named Bob. You have 364 other days to pick on them.

- Above all, remember to eat good food (we recommend Lou Malnati's pizza), drink your favorite drinks, and have fun whomping on your friends in your favorite Bungie games.

To mark the 22nd anniversary of Bungie Day we bring you... The origin of Frog Blast The Vent Core (and some other stuff too)

Bob art by Shogoki.

Hey!   Is that Joe Staten?

July 6, 2022 (Wednesday) 7.06.2022

The top seven pages people are reading.   Or... maybe just looking at the pictures.

Why are they reading these pages? Is there a connection? Should you be reading them?

The Origin of the Jjaro Boxers
Marathon 2: Durandal Strategy Guide
The Fourth Terminal on Never Burn Money
Original Level Notes for Marathon
Original Level Notes for Marathon 2
Hangar Ninety Six
The Marathon Art of Craig Mullins

Hey!   Where are the Original Level Notes for Marathon Infinity?

July 5, 2022 (Tuesday) 7.05.2022

The Marathon 101 Competition... continues:

Q13.  At the 1995 San Francisco Macworld Expo, Bungie were out in force selling Marathon after the long delay with the "Box".   As a result the Bungie crew all wore name tags with titles such as "Box Production Manager", "Box Quality Manager", "Box Design Manager". Who wore the name tag "Manager of Delays"? Choose the correct one. (5 marks)

1. Alex Seropian
2. Doug Zartman
3. Jason Jones

Bungie Booth.
San Francisco Macworld Expo, January 4-7, 1995
Picture courtesy of Steve Wood who originally
used it with permission from Richard D. Huff.

July 4, 2022 (Monday) 7.04.2022

Happy Pfhorth of July... Marathon style.

Have a good one.

July 3, 2022 (Sunday) 7.03.2022

Jeoku begins his in-depth playthrough of the Marathon Trilogy on his YouTube Channel. The first video in the series is a brief overview and covers the following:

Marathon Hype
What is Marathon?
Is Marathon Just Another Doom Clone?
What is the Marathon Symbol?
What are Marathon's Sources of Canon?

July 1, 2022 (Friday) 7.01.2022

"It's a death trap, it's a suicide rap"
Bruce Springsteen. Born To Run. August 25, 1975.

The subject of 'softlocks' in Marathon came up again recently. Back in the day we called them... "suicide traps". They came up quite regularly.

While the definition of 'softlock' can vary the most prevalent is:

A situation where a game remains apparently playable, but further progress is impossible, typically due to a design flaw.

The only option is to quit the game and restart a previously saved game. Or in the case of Marathon kill yourself and the game will automatically start from your last saved point. Hence the term "suicide trap". This of course assumes you have a "Weapon of Choice".

The first ever "suicide trap" in Marathon appears on the first level of the Marathon Demo v0.0. It was created by Greg Kirkpatrick. The only problem was you couldn't suicide as you didn't have a "Weapon of Choice". Thankfully Greg fixed it in the final game.

Bungie broke the rules on 'softlocks' or perhaps simply rewrote them. There are at least two areas in Marathon which were designed to 'softlock' the player if they failed to do something correctly.

Time for a "suicide traps" section on the Story page... perhaps?

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Last updated Aug 31, 2022