Christopher Barrett (Game Director for Marathon) dropped into Marathon Discord
to give the low down on the authenticity of the Marathon 25th Anniversary T-Shirt
with its hidden code... GOLIATH revealed yesterday.
"Yes, it was designed by someone at Bungie. The spelling error was a typo that slipped through as the shirt was made quickly for the anniversary. Just pretend it's in an alternate time line where spelling is harder."
Hmmm... sounds like he has played Marathon Infinity. But in truth Bungie have been spelling the word "Pfhor" wrong since the very beginning.
"The UESC's lockdown of leaked classified intel related to the Marathon and its colony is complete. According to a hacked security cam, the long arm of interplanetary law even found and covered MIDA's graffiti..."
Confused? Here's the before and after shots at Venice Beach, Los Angeles, California.
Having found other numbers resembling GPS coordinates dozens of Marathon fans have already made their way to a cornfield in Iowa failing to listen to Christopher Barrett's pleas on Marathon Discord:
It was definitely not intended to be GPS coordinates, just an anagrammed version of "Hear Our Silence." Drums Simulation Unite > Audi Nostrum Silentium > Hear Our Silence. There's nothing there, please don't bother this person's property.
Reiterating this message. Please don't go to Iowa.
Iowa? Seriously Mulder... you went to Iowa?
I was browsing and scrolling through various Source Engine game discords when I stumbled across this video showing off footage of a beta build of Day of Defeat: Source...
This is the logo for the "Internode Games Network", after looking at it and confirming that I wasn't going crazy, I dug a tiny bit deeper, turns out Internode is still around (it's actually an Australian ISP) and this logo isn't just for the "Games Network", it's the logo for the whole company!
As Sylenth points out it is two Marathon symbols in one!
Two for the Price of One get it. ;)
NOT OUR MARATHON
Seeds of MIDA perhaps?
At least they can spell.
Bungie. Marathon. Manual (page 13). Accessing Marathon's AIs. December 21, 1994.
So how long have Bungie been planning their new game Marathon?
Well since 2019.
Kumquatxop on Marathon Discord spots the first clue in the Marathon ARG.
On Bungie's Marathon 25th Anniversary T-Shirt released in December 2019 the CyberAcme Systems Inc terminal number is 126.96.36.199.1.20.8
Bungie stock image (back)
If you bought the t-shirt you could see the all the numbers more clearly.
Pic courtesy of President People
This is a simple monoalphabetic substitution cipher (A=1, B=2, C=3) which gives you...
7 15 12 9 1 20 8 G O L I A T H
Project Goliath is the codename for the UESC's efforts to re-establish communications and investigate disruption of same with the UESC Marathon and the Terran Colony, New Cascadia, at Tau Ceti.
So there you have it folks. Congrats to Kumquatxop.
What other secrets lie buried for "Lore Runners" to find?
Well this is a terminal. It even says terminal on the screen. It's a SG Still from Bungie's press pack. Click on the image for a higher quality version.
But will I get shot in the back if I'm reading a terminal? Well I guess that depends on who is watching your six.
But Bungie say I can play solo!
Solo (aka Vidmaster Mode). Good luck with that! You'll need to talk to Michio Hashimoto about that mode.
Joseph Cross (Franchise Art Director on Marathon) spills the beans on Marathon's art style and its influences in a Twitter tweet. He writes:
There's been some curiosity around what we're calling the Marathon art style, hopefully this sheds a bit of light on it. Officially we call it "Graphic Realism"...
Bungie. Marathon. Manual (page 2). Mjolnir Recon number 54. December 21, 1994.
Christopher Barrett (Game Director for Marathon) dropped into Marathon Discord at the weekend. Seven seconds and 37 messages later he remarked: "This is the most interesting place to observe discourse."
No... only kidding... it was eight seconds and 49 messages later.
Describing the new game Marathon in 14 words or so, Chris wrote: "It's a living world with asymmetric conflict and tension. Deep narrative context and persistence."
So it's not all about guns folks... honest.
Anyways... Bungie are watching.
But I digress.
According to Bernhard Strauss the first rule when interacting with an AI suspected of being rampant is "DO NOT ENGAGE". So I guess we kinda messed that one up. Should have attended those Rampancy 101 briefings instead of going another round in PWS Holo-Fun Park.
Then again calling Durandal "crazy" at the very start of the game didn't help matters.
Folks writing in about the UESC ship name Equanimity meaning calmness and composure, especially under stress, or variations thereof. Quite appropriate for the task at hand.
The ship's AI is Virgil and is probably a reference to the Roman poet Virgil (70-19 BC) given Bungie's fondness for the classics. Or perhaps Jonathan Goff (Narrative Lead for Marathon) has a fondness for Thunderbirds (International Rescue) and named the AI after the character Virgil therein.
Interesting to note all the Project: Marathon AIs listed in the memo on rampancy by Bernhard Strauss have a seven digit number after their name. However Durandal's seven digit number (Du-0706419) doesn't match his in-game seven digit number.
Bungie. Marathon. Terminal 4 on the level Never Burn Money. December 21, 1994.
MARATHON + DATES = ?
In a UESC memo dated 20 October 2795 it is stated that the voyage from Earth to Tau Ceti IV will take 97 years.
The distance between Earth and Tau Ceti IV is 12 light years.
In a UESC memo dated 2 November 2795 it is stated that the UESC Equanimity, a Kingfisher-class Salvage and Rescue craft, will be overhauled and fitted out to make the voyage to Tau Ceti IV.
According to the manifest of the UESC Equanimity the ship's speed (sustained) is 0.122c.
On 19 July 2797, CMDR Bethany R Montenegro-Sankara of the Unified Earth Space Security Council sends a pre-launch message to the "brave souls" of the UESC Equanimity stressing the importance of their mission to Tau Ceti IV and reminding them that this is a UESC mission and "everything attached to it should still be considered UESC property."
A trip of 97 years would mean the UESC Equanimity arrives at Tau Ceti IV in 2894.
So the UESC arrive at Tau Ceti IV on the 100 year anniversary of the Pfhor attack on the Marathon (July 2794). How fitting.
Only they didn't.
All four of the UESC Evidence Files have record dates of May 25, 2893. These video files are called:
#1842 TCIV UNKNOWN PRESENCE
One shows Runners already on the surface.
Another shows a S'pht (aka compiler) seen in the original game.
Scroll down to see the other two UESC Evidence Files below.
Bungie. Marathon. Map writing on the level Never Burn Money. December 21, 1994.
Well it appears that the Marathon ARG is over... for now. There are hints that some stuff may be timegated... only time will tell. Sites like Traxus Global would suggest that there is a wealth of information still to some.
Hats off to all those who worked ceaselessly on identifying the clues, solving the puzzles, and unlocking the content. Their efforts are documented in the Marathon ARG.
For hardcore Marathon fans some of the best story bits are contained in the UESC section of the ARG, including pre-launch information from Bernhard H Strauss about the UESC Marathon's 3 AIs and... 8 AIs designated for the colony. Yes EIGHT and all with names. We just need to figure them out. People are working on it...
Then along came Marathon Infinity which gave us The Garden of Forking Paths and House of Leaves all rolled into one. Infinity threw the deck of cards into the air and we are still picking them up to this day. But that's the Marathon way... the hard path of thought .
To add to the mix we now have this from the pre-launch memo on AI Rampancy by Bernhard H Strauss dated 17 Columba 459.
The date 17 Columba 459 is a Martian date based on the Utopian Calendar by Shaun Moss. His website has a datetime converter. At midday UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) on November 14, 2472 the Martian date is 17 Columba 459. This is two days before the launch of the UESC Marathon. ref
Understand that ALL DATA the AI has access to must be viewed with suspicion. Blueprints, roadmaps, and all public and private records are likely to have been altered. Rely only on the data resources that you have brought with you.
Simply put... don't believe anything a rampant AI tells you.
"Y'all should follow @Jonathan_Goff, the story is in good hands."
"Inspiration for the silkworms building Runners comes in part from Neri Oxman's incredible work..."
Lists the team who put the Marathon teaser trailer together, including PaulChadeisson who brought the UESC Marathon concept design (by Tom Hicks, below) to life in the video.
UESC Marathon final concept art by Tom Hicks
Leela. Marathon. Shake Before Using... (Terminal 1). December 21, 1994.
A massive ghost ship hangs in low orbit over a lost colony on Tau Ceti IV. The 30,000 souls who call this place home have disappeared without a trace. Strange signals hint at mysterious artifacts, long-dormant AI, and troves of untold riches.
But as Leela said...
There are obviously many things which we do not understand, and may never be able to.
Go here for full details of what has been found in the Marathon ARG (Alternate Reality Game). Keep up-to-date on the ARG through the Marathon Discord which has a dedicated channel (#arg) for it.
Go to Christopher Barrett on Twitter for some concept art and addition information about the game.
Additional video from Christopher Barrett on r/marathon about the new backstory discovered through the Marathon ARG.
Go to Tom Hicks on Artstation for his design work on the new look UESC Marathon. (Update: has been removed.)
Well in the Marathon Infinity you may recall that the successful timeline (more precisely quantum reality) was the one in which we were not kidnapped by Durandal at the end of the first game but stayed on the Marathon and subsequently captured by the Pfhor, along with Tycho and the other nine military Mjolnir Mark IV cyborgs.
On the Dream Levels and Failed Timelines section there is an extract from an unfinished interview with Greg Kirkpatrick (GK) and Chris Geisel (CG). Here is the last part of that particular interview segment.
HS: In this timeline Tycho refers to our friends:You've been in cold sleep for some time, but you're luckier than some of your friends-not all of you survived the translation to the Pfhor slave tanks.
Don't believe everything you read.
"Is this the end? I guess so. That's too bad. But it's only the beginning. Really? Sure, what the hell. Stop it! Is that really it? Wait and see..."
That Marathon Book continued...
Came across two 'higher quality' images of the covers of the last two books in David Alexander Smith's Marathon trilogy series, namely Rendezvous (1988) and Homecoming (1990).
Interesting to note that the cover art for all three Marathon trilogy books was by renowned American artist John Berkey, probably best known for his original poster art for the Star Wars trilogy and credited for inspiring the Death Star.
Berkey's signature style were large exotic spaceships which would go on to inspire a generation of sci-fi artists.
Oh... and one of the first covers John Berkey did from 1967.
Green overalls and all! So if you're ever stuck for a Christmas present for you know who...
...to be continued.
Remember... That Marathon Book ?
The first book in the Marathon trilogy comprising Marathon (1982), Rendezvous (1988) and Homecoming (1990) by David Alexander Smith.
Came across an alternate cover on a German edition (on right)
I'll just leave it here...
...to be continued.
"Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee."
Thanks to treellama and Iritscen on Marathon Discord for showing that it is possible to exit the pillar room on Colony Ship For Sale, Cheap! by simply 'floating up' in the original game.
Now while this has been common knowledge for some time in the Aleph One version of Marathon it was not common knowledge back in the day when folks were playing the original game.
If it had been it would have been mentioned on the Marathon Vidmasters' Page and Colony Ship For Sale, Cheap! might not have got the reputation it has garnered over the years.
So what is this 'floating" thing?
Well 'The Butterfly Effect' is achieved by firing one grenade at your feet while running forward and then using the the primary trigger of the assault rifle to rise (float) up. Iritscen nicely demonstrates this in the original game (under emulation) in the video below.
Apparently you need to start your run before entering the pillar room to reach maximum speed before using the assault rifle.
Using grenades alone will not work as demonstrated by Iritscen below.
"If I ever texture-map another axis-aligned polygon, it'll be too soon. I'm real sorry for being Blake, and I hope All Roads Lead To Sol atones for the grievous sin of Colony Ship For Sale."
"In Marathon 2, when I said that I hoped "All Roads Lead To Sol" atoned for the sins of "Colony Ship For Sale, Cheap!" I was serious. I can't believe anyone ever finished Marathon 1. I can't believe Greg didn't shoot me."
Just two of the comments Jason Jones has made about his Marathon level Colony Ship For Sale, Cheap. Even today if you raise the topic with him a smile will appear across his face and a nod of recognition.
But I digress.
Sources in the video include:
Colony Ship For Sale, Cheap is level 13 in the game but since the level numbering in Marathon starts from 0 it is actually the 14th level and the exact middle of the 27 level solo game.
As you try to raise the seven pillars to the correct height for the seventh time you can contemplate the existence of Jason Jones in metaphorical terms.
In the video Jeoku provides some handy tips to get those pillar heights just right and the best way through the octagonal crusher rooms. Worth a watch as always.
As you would expect from fans of a hardcore sci-fi game the list does not disappoint. Authors including:
Philip K Dick
Just to name a few. Some surprises in there too, including Jorge Luis Borges.
Back in June 1996 Greg Kirkpatrick wrote about the inspiration for Marathon:
"We were just sitting around talking about things, and i blabbin on and on about Larry Niven : "ringworld", Man-Kzin wars, etc. I read all those many years ago, but i still remember them... Take any well known sci-fi writer and there's a good chance that someone who's worked on Marathon has read (read:all) his works.
The top seven pages folks have been reading recently. Why? Should you be reading them? Well now you can.
"Observant fans of our games will note that certain themes tend to run through our games. For example, the sword Durandal (from the "Song of Roland") first appears in Minotaur as a magic sword and goes on to become a central character in Marathon."
Never one to disappoint, the Story page has gone back in time to bring you the full Inside Mac Games interview using Netscape no less. Remember that web browser?
"...I fear that he is in the Jealous stage of Rampancy."
What happened next is a story for another day.
Sources in the video include:
Odd that Jason only used one Looker on this level and all the Compilers are at the exit terminal. Must be an interesting read.
More importantly, Leela believes that Durandal is now in the Jealous stage of Rampancy.
On a lighter note... who remembers the Eggheads?
You know... the famous screenshot of the Pfhor Troopers in the December 5, 1994 issue of MacWEEK several weeks before the release of Marathon. Caused quite a stir at the time. Here's the official screenshot used in the MacWEEK article.
Official Marathon screenshot of Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire!.
"The geometry has been completed as of today. At 1023 polygons, it is now by far and away the largest marathon map ever created."
On this day 27 years ago Randy Reddig (aka ydnar) finished making his net map Pfhactory N'Utopia. At 1023 polygons it was the largest Marathon map ever created for its time.
Pfhactory N'Utopia began life as Pfhactory (aka Vulcan). Released in August 1995, it was Marathon net map designed around two concentric rings.
Randy described Vulcan as Marathon's weapons manufacturing facility. Even though the map was huge he would point out:
"...you can get from any place on the map to another in less than 30 seconds. This is accomplished by a complex network of air passages snaking their way around the plant."
This would come in very handy later on... just no one knew it at the time.
He also announced that he was adding a third outer ring.
According to Randy the third ring "was the s'pht-designed city built around the plant." Hence the new name Pfhactory N'Utopia.
Pfhactory N'Utopia was completed on May 7, 1996 but was never released as a Marathon 2 net map.
Randy, now working at Double Aught Software, would use Pfhactory N'Utopia in Marathon Infinity as the final solo level Aye Mak Sicur.
Parts of Pfhactory N'Utopia would also be reused for other levels in the game.
Some time after the release of Marathon Infinity, Pfhactory N'Utopia (aka Aye Mak Sicur) was released as a Marathon Infinity net map.
But that's a story for another day.
Today is... Happy Pfhactory N'Utopia Day!
"Ryu'Toth, the Jjaro representative, appeared via hologram in the Pentagon at 1500 hours (3:00PM) on Thursday May 5, 1994."
On this day 29 years ago Ryu'Toth, a Jjaro hologram, told President Bill Clinton and his senior military staff that they had eight days to save the world.
Sheesh... no pressure!
In the Demo version of Pathways Into Darkness your mission was "to save the world from a hostile alien demon".
In the final release the "alien demon" had been become an extra-terrestrial "dreaming god". Buried thousands of feet below ground, this immortal being lay motionless for thousands of years before it finally began to stir... and to dream.
Ryu'Toth really knew how to spin a good story!
Art by Nathan J. Anderson (October 22, 2013)
One wonders if the Jjaro ever did arrive to take more permanent measures two and half years later or are we now all just living in the God's dream world?
Art by TDSpiral (May 13, 2013)
But I digress.
Today is Happy Ryu'Toth Day!
Art by jamessmith6 (December 26, 2015)
"The Marathon Trilogy Box Set is almost fully compiled, and we plan to ship the finished product on May 1, 1997. (Yeah, that's right...an actual RELEASE DATE. Straight from us, so you know it's not a joke.)"
Happy Marathon Trilogy Box Set Shipping Day!
Rumor has it that the Marathon Scrapbook wouldn't fit inside the box. Matt Soell (editor-at-large ) had to take drastic action to make it fit.
Shrinkwrapped copies of the Marathon Trilogy Box Set are hard to find these days and when they do appear they fetch a high price on eBay. Opening one is big deal. Bob-B-Q opened one to mark Bungie Day (July 7, 2011). You can see detailed pics of his unboxing here.
At the very end of the Marathon Trilogy Box Set manual (page 66), right at the bottom of the Marathon Infinity credits, there is a cryptic message from Bungie.
I will let you read it for yourself.
Happy May 1st.
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Last updated June 1, 2023