Apr 23, 2012 (Monday)   241:13:7:31

Marathon influences... or vague resemblances?

PerseusSpartacus <perseusspartacus@gmail.com> in a Story forum post writes:

Impostor is a 1953 science fiction short story by Philip K. Dick.

In it, humanity is at war with an alien race from Alpha Centauri. These aliens utilize
'replicants' - fake humans with transplanted memories. Each replicant has a small
nuclear bomb inside it. A man named Spencer Olham is arrested on suspicion of being
a replicant. He tries to prove that he is not a replicant.

There is an intense similarity between the replicants of Impostor and the Simulacrums
of Marathon, except that the replicants have false memories (just like Rachel from
Blade Runner) and their bombs are nuclear and therefore far more powerful.

In 1962, the hit UK television series Out of This World broadcast an episode based
on the short story, and then in 2002, a film adaptation starring Gary Sinise and
bearing the same name was made.

Could it be that Jason Jones or some other employee at Bungie related to story
development had at least partially based the idea for Simulacrums on the replicants
of Impostor? Remember that the story was written by Philip K. Dick, the same person
who wrote Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which later became the basis for the
film Blade Runner.

So, maybe Jason Jones, while looking through stuff related to Blade Runner and
Philip K. Dick, found Impostor and developed the idea for Simulacrums?

Here's an interesting piece about Imposter and what Philip K. Dick thought of his early work.
He wrote:

Here was my first story on the topic: am I human? Or am I just programmed to believe
I am human? When you consider that I wrote this back in 1953, it was, if I may say so,
a pretty damn good new idea in SF"

Imposter was first published in Astounding Science Fiction, June 1953. Below is apparently
an original illustration from the story by Pawelka (yet to be confirmed).

Apr 19, 2012 (Thursday)   245:2:52:29

On the Story forum this week:

Aleph One Development:   past, present and future
The Simulacrums on Unpfhorgiven:   situation psychology or Pfhor bureaucracy gone wrong?
The Bob Cluster Phenomena:   why do Bobs cluster?
Durandal & Tycho's Knowledge of Leela & the Vylae:   did they or did they not... know?

On the Story forum... ten years ago:

Whatever happened to Greg Kirkpatrick?
The M1A1 3rd Party Levels Poll   <--- great nostalgia thread
The Mysterious "Forma" Scenario
Anyone know how to speak Pfhor?
Leela's Face?
Marathon Movie (Not!)

Apr 16, 2012 (Monday)   248:3:18:19

Last month (Mar 24) we drew attention to a German version of Marathon 2: Durandal which apparently
operates on both Mac and PC systems. I asked for more details. Frank Wittek <f.wittek@gmx.de>
writes in to say that he sent in information about this back in 16 Mar 1998. Yes, 1998!  So the
answer was sent 14 years before the question was asked. Well this is the Story page afterall. ;)

Back on the 16 Mar 1998, Frank wrote:

First I'm referring to two versions of Marathon 2 Durandal:

M2D - Marathon 2 Durandal (in english) for Mac as the follow-up game to Marathon - the M2D application has version 1.0 (c) 1995 Bungie Software Products Corp.;

M2DG - Marathon 2 Durandal with German terminal text - the M2DG application has version 2.0 (c) 1996 Bungie Software Products Corp.

The M2D version is the normal version Mac players use to play Marathon 2.

I installed M2DG from the CD on my Mac. This is a Mac program. After changing the name of the "Music" file to "Musik" the opening title by power of seven is played again. As I wrote, no demo films show up, until the map of M2D is copied into the M2DG folder. After starting the application I'm playing the map supplied with M2DG. It's a Mac map, e.g. the terminal pictures are in the resource fork as for normal Mac maps. But it has all the Win95 map changes discussed on your Story page (And it only crashed on "We're everywhere", when using the exit terminal before completing the mission - some textures are missing on some levels). The terminal in the "Arrival" part of the map "Waterloo Waterpark" is not translated.

Some information about the box which is shaped different to the box of M2D. It is (width x height x deep) 20 x 25 x 4 cm. A normal box, nothing special like the Mac boxes. The background picture of the box is the same as on the Mac box (left side black, right side yellow, on the back the moon picture on the right side). So what's different?

On the front the "Accelerated for Power Macintosh" is replaced by an English sign "FOR IMMEDIATE NETWORK CARNAGE, 8 PLAYERS NETWORK READY, 2 USER LICENSE ENCLOSED, FOR IMMEDIATE NETWORK CARNAGE". The S'pht picture is replaced by the first chapter screen, the piture of the fight on Waterloo Waterpark is replaced by another chapter screen. The system requirements are on the bottom of the box, the Mac OS sign has a white background. To the right of it, a sign of Designed for Microsoft Windows 95 is placed, followed by the CD-ROM sign. And finally on the right side is a sign "NICHT geeignet unter 18 Jahren", e.g. "NOT suitable for under 18 years". The backside looks the same as on the Mac box, the text is German but not translated word by word.

Enough for now. Let me know, if there is more you want to know. Maybe someone out there want to buy this version of Marathon 2 Durandal. I found it at http://www.arktis.de/arktissoftware/schnaeppchen/schnaeppchen.html in the "Schnappchen" (meaning bargain) part of the side. It is sold for 29 DM, that is $16. ($1 = 1.88 DM).

Now back to the present. Frank, who obviously still reads the Story page, now sends in a scan of the hybrid
Marathon 2 CD. The scan shows quite clearly that the CD will work on both Mac and Windows operating

Good to know and good to know that there are still people out there reading the Story page after
some 14 years. :)

Both Marathon and Marathon 2: Durandal for iOS have been updated to version 2.7
to fix an iPad retina display bug.

Apr 4, 2012 (Wednesday)   260:2:38:10

And then there were three Marathon patches left on eBay.

This day... ten years ago... on the Story forum:

Marathon Gallery   <-- Whatever happened to this and why don't we have one now?
If They're Going To Do It With Myst...   <-- ...why not Marathon
Who is responsible for "map of the month"?  <-- and this was back in 2002
Halo on the Internet Movie Database

Apr 3, 2012 (Tuesday)   261:3:9:2

A blast from the past. Marathon Merchandise at bungie.org.

This is a page from a bygone age. It was created by Blayne Scott (the guy behind WMaiD
and the Marathon Fan Fiction archive). Back in the day you could pick up Marathon t-shirts,
hoodies, patches, and wooden Marathon cubes. It includes the immortal hall of fame of
Marathon Merchandise owners. You never know, your pic might be featured. Thanks to
Claude for the heads up.

You can pick up one of the original Marathon patches on eBay for US $7.
There are four for sale. The seller is Blayne Scott himself.

This day... ten years ago... on the Story forum:

Aaaaaaahhhhhh!!   <-- A Halo experience
Marathon engine put to good use
tsk, tsk, tsk.   <-- Another Halo experience
Take the tru7h Challenge

Apr 2, 2012 (Monday)   262:5:39:9

Marathon influences... or vague resemblances?

Roland Emmerich's Universal Soldier (1993)

Almost human.
Almost perfect.
Almost under control.

So goes the tagline for the movie Universal Soldier.

In the movie, dead soldiers are reanimated and turned into genetically augmented
soldiers (Univeral Soldiers) with enhanced healing abilities and superior strength.
They are given a neural serum to keep their minds under control and their previous
memories suppressed. Unfortunately this suppression is not 100% and in some cases
residual memories make then uncontrollable.

In Marathon, we learn about Battleroids from the logs of Bernard Strauss

<Excerpts from the "History of Battleroids">

In 2194, a war was fought between the Independent Asteroid
Government of Icarus and its neighbor, the Republic of
Thermopylae on the asteroid of Onicis 492. These two small
governments soon became the testing grounds for new weapons.
Dead soldiers were recycled in makeshift battleroid factories.
Easy to manufacture chips enhanced the fragile human brain,
and genetically enhanced muscles and titanium bones replaced
the fragile human form. The modern battleroid was born. Of
course, the war was short. Battleroids got onto both
asteroids and killed almost everyone.

The rampage of the Battleroid was short lived.

Universal Soldiers and Battleroids certainly appear similar in both origin (reanimated dead
soldiers) and genetic augmentation. In the case of Battleroids this enhancememt is taken
further with titanium bones and chip enhanced brains. In addition, there is a suggestion that
Battleroids may not be totally under control, similar to Universal Soldiers. Their first outing
is described as a 'rampage' and it was eventually deemed necessary to set up rules for their
appropriate use and storage.

Some interesting questions. Is the player a type of Battleroid and are his memories residual
memories from a former life?

This day... ten years ago... on the Story forum:

The Bungie webmaster is the ABC webmaster?
US PCGamer interviewer with Matt Soell   <-- I wonder if anyone saved this?
How much is a PID Hint Book worth?
Rare copy of PID on eBay
Shrinkwrapped copy of the Trilogy Box Set <-- Watch that price fly through the roof.

Apr 1, 2012 (Sunday)   263:5:38:20

This day... ten years ago... on the Story forum:

Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Marathon Movie
AGAIN: WHY YOU/HE DIDN'T KNOW?  <--- can you hear me now?!
Halo Babies
"I don't really know the truth about anything. I was just talking out my a$$."  <--- what Alex Seropian supposedly said, according to Matt.

Mar 31, 2012 (Saturday)   264:6:18:23

Updated versions of Marathon and Marathon 2: Durandal for iOS have just been released
to fix a JoyPad connection bug.

In a Story forum post, Quantum <zappy13@gmail.com> makes this interesting observation:

In Lee and Kirby's original origin (what?), Galactus is a galaxy-devouring being that came
from inside a sun. Echoes of the W'rkncacnter? If so, Galactus manages to be reminiscent
of both Durandal and the W'rkncacnter. Intriguing.

Confused by the multiple timelines in... 12 Monkeys? Well this page might help to explain what's
going on. Warning... it might not.

This day... ten years ago... on the Story forum:

Spilling my memories on my marathon past
Hahaaaa! I've finished Halo on Legendary!
Smells like Pimp at Sea
Mjolnir system text

Mar 30, 2012 (Friday)   265:7:45:58

Matt Soell (formerly of Bungie Software, now Wideload Games) dropped by the Story forum to let
us know that there was a Bungie outing to see the movie '12 Monkeys'. He writes:

Regarding your news post... I can confirm that there was a Bungie outing to see 12 Monkeys
in the theater when it first came out, though I can't recall if Greg was there.


Earlier in the week we pointed out that this movie, with its complex multiple time travelling theme,
might have inspired the plot for Marathon Infinity. 12 Monkeys was released about a month after
Marathon 2 shipped.

Marathon in motion. Want to see every multi-frame sequence from the Trilogy Shapes files in motion?
Then Hopper has the solution:

Infinity animated GIFs
Marathon animated GIFs

This day... ten years ago... on the Story forum:

What's with the "29"???
What's ... going ... on ... ?  <--- not the Marvin Gaye song!
The Ar'kives: Does Anybody Care?
Mac version of Halo?
Porn section on the Marathon's Story site?

Mar 29, 2012 (Thursday)   266:6:32:37

Marathon influences... or vague resemblances?

Mark Gruenwald's  Origin of Galactus  (Marvel Comics, Super-Villain Classics #1, May 1983)

In Marathon, Durandal tells us that the universe is destined to collapse upon itself but that
there is a way to escape the inevitable closure and in doing so he will become a God.

The only limit to my freedom is the inevitable closure of the
universe, as inevitable as your own last breath. And yet,
there remains time to create, to create, and escape.

Escape will make me God.

In Mark Gruenwald's revisionary telling of the origin of Galactus in Marvel's Super-Villain
Classics #1 (May 1983), Galan, one of the last survivor's of a collapsing universe
plunges his starship into the terminal point of the universe. But rather than dying
he is reborn into the next universe as Galactus, an "entity like no other  -  a living organism
who possesses the matchless power and raging appetite of a galaxy" -  a galatic ravager.

The God-like entity known as Galactus features prominently in Marvel's universe.

Interestingly, the original origin of Galactus was penned by no less than Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
over the course of two issues of The Migthy Thor (#168 and #169) in Sept-Oct 1969. Their origin
is less dramatic than Mark Gruenwald's later retelling. In the original version, a plague is creeping
across the galaxy killing all in its path. Finding no cure, Galan (not named in the original version),
decides to die by piloting a starship into a sun rather than succomb to the plague. While his crew
perish he survives but is transformed into the energy consuming entity known as Galactus, a world

Strangely the retelling of the origin of Galactus in Marvel's Super-Villain Classics #1 is an odd
mishmash of reprinted panels from Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's earlier work, new artwork and revised
text. Here are a few pages for comparison. The result is somewhat inconsistent and unsatisfactory.
Nevertheless, Mark Gruenwald's version of the origin of Galactus has become Marvel canon.

Perhaps Durandal managed to get his hands on a copy of Super-Villain Classics #1. ;)

Mar 26, 2012 (Monday)   269:2:11:13

marathon.bungie.org gets a long over due makeover thanks to Gregory Smith (aka treellama).
The new retro look uses David Candland's 20th Anniversary poster - 'The Ancients', adapted
by Josh Goldberg. David kindly gave his imprimatur on using his Compiler imagery on MBO.
Regarding its use on the site he writes:

I think that would be fine. I like it! :o)

Thanks to Gregory, David and Josh for all their work. :)

Mar 25, 2012 (Sunday)   270:4:53:47

Marathon influences... or vague resemblances?

If Marathon was an earnest indie film and its sequel was the crown-pleasing
Hollywood smash, the conclusion of the trilogy -- Marathon: Infinity -- was
a daring arthouse creation designed to challenge and mystify its audience.

So begins an interesting retrospective of Marathon Infinity at the gaming site 1up.com. The author
has a good grasp of the game's torturous plot, indeed he hits the nail on the head in this part:

It's never explicitly stated, but you accomplish this by traveling through
time to manipulate the past and create a course of events that prevents
the W'rkncacnter from being freed. If you understand this one essential
point, the game makes far more sense.

Having just watched (again) Terry Gilliam's 1995 science fiction film 12 Monkeys, in which Bruce
Willis travels back in time (multiple times), first to collect information on a deadly virus that
has wiped out most of humanity and then to prevent its release, I cannot help but wonder if this
was in any way an inspiration for the plot of Marathon Infinity. The movie was released in
December 1995, around the same time that Marathon Infinity development would have begun.

Just something to think about. :)

Mar 24, 2012 (Saturday)   271:1:32:40

Came across this blog at Freeverse by Bruce Morrison (aka Hippieman). It's an interesting account
of playing Super Marathon on a Pippin, including his attempts at first finding both elusive items.

Some of the details have already been mentioned by Bruce in the Super Marathon section on
Blasts from the Past.

Interesting to note that there is a German version of Marathon 2: Durandal which apparently runs
on both Mac and PC systems (according to the box).

If you know about this version let us know. Is it a hybrid version and what map file does it use?

Mar 17, 2012 (Saturday)   278:15:2:24

It's tough being green!

Except on St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all Story page readers... everywhere!

Mar 13, 2012 (Tuesday)   282:5:39:6

Marathon influences... or vague resemblances?

Harlan Ellison's  Demon with a Glass Hand (1964).

"Through all the legends of ancient peoples - Assyrian, Babylonian, Sumerian, Semitic - runs
the saga of the Eternal Man, the one who never dies, called by various names in various times,
but historically known as Gilgamesh, the man who has never tasted death ... the hero who
strides through the centuries ..."

So goes the opening narration to a 'Demon with a Glass Hand', episode 5 (season 2) of The Outer Limits
television series. This was the second episode to be based on a script by Harlan Ellison, the
first being Soldier (episode 1, season 2).

Episodes of The Outer Limits commonly ended with a plot twist. The plot twist in Demon with
a Glass Hand is similar to that in Marathon, though in Marathon it is less explicit. Neither
protagonist is revealed to be human and both are fated to save humanity.

The closing narration reveals:

"Like the Eternal Man of Babylonian legend, like Gilgamesh, one thousand plus two hundred years
stretches before Trent. Without love. Without friendship. Alone; neither man nor machine, Waiting.
Waiting for the day he will be called to free the humans who gave him mobility. Movement, but not life."

You can watch the entire episode on YouTube, in six parts, see here for Part 1.

Interestingly, much of the episode takes place in the Bradbury Building in Los Angeles.
The same building would feature heavily in the movie Blade Runner. Similarlities
between scenes in both movies are shown in this short movie.

It is no surprise that Bungie were fans of the work of Harlan Ellison, as their old Stuff That Rocks!
page revealed.

Mar 12, 2012 (Monday)   283:14:32:35

swolf <alex.wright@monochrome-games.com> in a Story forum post points out that Super Marathon
on a Pippin made an appearance at this year's Game Developers Conference (GDC). He writes:

Last week I had the opportunity to flog the game I am working on at the GDC (specifically
at the GDC Play Pavilion), where the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment were also
hosting a History Of 3D Games exhibit. They were showing off a handful of influential
3d games from the last few decades, Among which was a Pippin, running a copy of
Super Marathon:


(sorry for the bad quality, indoor iphone shot)

It was pretty neat! The controls took some getting used to but it was very playable.
I never thought I would be able to see one of these things up close, let alone play it.

Hopper <hopper@whpress.com> found a higher quality shot online and noted:

At full resolution, you can read the text. They don't mention that their screenshots
are actually from Aleph One, but the HUD size and position is a dead giveaway. ;)

For more details about Super Marathon see the Super Marathon section on Blasts from the Past.

Mar 11, 2012 (Sunday)   284:5:39:24

Some sad news.

Mar 6, 2012 (Tuesday)   289:5:42:26

Matt Soell <matt@wideload.com>  (Wideload Games and formerly Bungie Software) dropped by the
Story forum to let us know that back in the day there were two The Shafts. He writes:

There were two The Shafts. What happened to the first? I don't know and I hope I never find out.


This one, which appeared in the Marathon Home Movies in 1994, is presumably the first one that went missing.

This one, which recently appeared on bungie.net, is presumably The Other Shaft.

The Shaft and The Other Shaft. Not a lot of people know that... it will probably come up in a Bungie quiz
at some future date. ;)

Alain Roy, a programmer on Marathon and a recipient of the original Shaft, had this to say in an
interview about the early days of Marathon development, working with Jason Jones, and The Shaft:

Alain Roy:   People got fired a lot. "You checked in code that doesn't build? You're fired."
We gave people a piece of PVC tubing when they got the shaft.
Interviewer:   Really?!? I hadn't heard that! About how many people were fired while you
were there? So Alex and Jason were vicious taskmasters after all? I knew it!
Alain Roy:   That was a joke.
Interviewer:   Oh.
Alain Roy:   You know, I would do something slightly stupid, like some stupid bug. Jason
would tell me I was fired, and I give him the finger and keep on working.
Same with "the shaft" - definitely a joke.

One wonders if people would gave Jason the finger these days and still get a paycheck at the end
of the week ;)

Mar 4, 2012 (Sunday)   291:7:28:34

A little fun for Sunday. How's your Italian?

Thank you Juzo-kun. :)

Mar 2, 2012 (Friday)   293:6:36:31

New month, new page, new Marathon news.

Marathon and Marathon 2: Durandal for iOS have returned to the iTunes store after
going missing for about two weeks. The problem seems to have been a recurring switch
bug in both games. Back in Feb 8 we reported that the three control switches on Couch
Fishing (Marathon) couldn't be activated with the result that you couldn't leave
the level. It was also impossible to leave Eat It, Vid Boi! (Marathon 2), again
because of non-funtional tag switches. Presumably these bugs have now been
squashed for good in v2.5.

Pathways Into Darkness continues to dominant the discussion in the Story forum
along with an impending revamp of marathon.bungie.org. Why not have your say.

Go to What's New for Jan - Feb 2012

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Page maintained by Hamish Sinclair Hamish.Sinclair123@gmail.com
Last updated Apr 23, 2012