since 1995

September 28, 2022 (Wednesday) 9.28.2022

"well, we hate bobs and couldn't think of anything more fun than having them get their guts scooped out by the aliens and packed with dynamite and sent back to the marathon on a kamakazi mission.
cool, huh?"

Jason Jones (Bungie Software). eWorld Conference transcript. January 10, 1995.

Push the tempo

Not content with providing his voice to the Marathon terminals Dan Storm has turned his hand to the Marathon music giving it a more dramatic upbeat tempo. His first piece is Rushing and is a work in progress. You can hear it below.

Rushing is only used once in Marathon on the level Habe Quiddam. You can hear the original below

Habe Quiddam is the first level we meet the Pfhor made cyborg simulacrums of the Marathon crew. Which is certainly different from what Jason Jones said in the first eWorld conference (see above)

Perhaps Marathon was originally going to be a more darker, edgier game.

Habe Quiddam was created by Jason Jones and showcases a number of the trademarks of later Marathon levels. Two paths, one low one high, looping back to the start, and two leaps of faith. As Jason Jones remarked about this level:

"I should have made more levels that doubled-back on themselves like this one."

September 25, 2022 (Sunday) 9.25.2022

Jeoku continues his in-depth playthrough of the Marathon Trilogy with his fourth video entitled The Story from the Manual. The video is just over 30 minutes long and covers the following:

Introduction (from Manual)
Status Report (from Bungie's First Webpage)
Manual Tidbits

Sources in the video include:

There are some errors in the video (nitpicking stuff really) such as:

  • The security officer being in cryosleep on the shuttle while travelling through space for 322 years?
  • Chris McVeigh working for Double Aught? He was actually a Bungie employee/contractor who worked on both Marathon Infinity and Myth II: Soulblighter doing interface design. He also did the Forge tutorial movies on the Infinity CD.
  • Confusing the image of the Mirata's Maneuvering Pod with the Shuttle Mirata itself.

We never actually see the Shuttle Mirata. The only image shows its destruction in the Pfhor chapter screen and the Maneuvering Pod escaping with you inside. We also see the Maneuvering Pod (called Leonardo) in the Arrival chapter screen as it enters one of the Marathon's empty Maneuvering Pod (MP) docking bays. It can also be seen in-game in Hangar 7A Port at the start of the first level (Arrival).

It has been suggested that all the events in the manual are a well orchestrated plan by Durandal to get you into your battle armor and into the Maneuvering Pod as quickly as possible before the Shuttle Mirata is destroyed. The Maneuvering Pod being small allows you to get on board the Marathon undetected. As you enter the Marathon through an airlock the manual states:

You pull out your pistol, and pound the switch to open the door.

Oddly , this is familiar to you, as if it were from an old dream, but you can't exactly remember...

While it is never stated it is quite possible that Durandal arranged for you to take the Shuttle Mirata to the Marathon in the first place.

"Berhnard was scared of you. He never dreamed of using you the way that I do."
Marathon 2.  Nuke And Pave (Terminal 1).  November 21, 1995 .

September 24, 2022 (Saturday) 9.24.2022

"There is only one path and that is the path that you take, but you can take more than one path."
Marathon Infinity.  What Am I doing Here?  Eat the Path (Terminal 0).  October 15, 1996.

A few days ago Mandalore's Marathon Infinity review on YouTube passed 777,777 views and is well on its way to one million.

Since the release of Mandalore's video almost a month ago (August 26th) I have received numerous emails about Infinity's story. How can it be made easier to understand? One of the biggest complaints is that the order of the terminals in the map file doesn't match the order you see in the game.

Of course the Immersionists have known this for years.

As a result I have begun the process of reordering the terminals on the Story page to match the in-game order rather than the map file order.

The process began a week ago with the reordering of the terminals on Where Some Rarely Go. This provided better context between the text in the terminal and its location on the level.

Based on the positive feedback I got I have now re-ordered a number of other levels and added additional commentary. In the process further insights into the story are revealed.

The levels re-ordered so far are:

Post Naval Trauma
Where Some Rarely Go
Foe Hammer
By Committee
A Converted Church in Venice, Italy
Son of Grendel

September 22, 2022 (Thursday) 9.22.2022

"...that was the first map we ever built, and the map that most of the initial testing of the rasterizer and the monster code was done on (there's an early screen shot from it, of a player holding the rocket launcher watching a door open in front of him; this was when we still had doors which cast shadows/light as they moved)."
Jason Jones. From the original 700 page Marathon Scrapbook. April 1997.

Happy Marathon Collage Day.

This day 28 years ago Bungie released a collage of Marathon screenshots and yet another press release Bungie Presents the Future of Mac Games. The opening part read:

Marathon introduces a slew of unprecedented features which are destined to become standards for graphic computer-based entertainment.

This is the collage of Marathon screenshots Bungie released on September 22, 1994.

"...anyway, after mars wants/needs women was built we never played carnage palace again until one day nobody had a copy any more."
Jason Jones. From the original 700 page Marathon Scrapbook. April 1997.

This is what happens when you don't play Marathon levels folks. One day they will be gone.

Carnage Palace... RIP.

September 20, 2022 (Tuesday) 9.20.2022

If Bungie's Marathon had Voice Acting.

Dan Storm has created a YouTube video showing what Marathon would be like with Voice Acting.

September 19, 2022 (Monday) 9.19.2022

"...the ability to look and fire up and down."
Bungie. Press Release, September 19, 1994.

Happy Marathon Announcement Day (Take Two).

Yes folks, on this day 28 years ago Bungie announced that they would "soon ship"  their new game Marathon. But if you were paying attention you would also recall they made the same announcement back in July 25, 1994.

Marathon, Marathon, so good they announced it twice.

Ah... but this second announcement was slightly different.

  • more than 45 levels instead of more than 40
  • live microphone interaction during network play
  • compatibility with VR headsets
  • ability to look and fire up and down

In the Marathon Demo, Bungie described the ability to look up and down as:

Learn to VID. That is, learn to look up and down at will.
This is also useful for finding cool things.

Anthony Burgess used a similar term in his 1962 dystopian novel 'A Clockwork Orange'. A gifted linguist, Burgess created a cryptic language called Nadsat for the novel which was largely based on Russian and other linguistic elements, such as rhyming slang, compound words and archaism thus creating a unique dialect. The term "viddy" is used throughout the novel and means to see or watch someone.

The term "viddy" was also used in Stanley Kubrick's 1971 film 'A Clockwork Orange' which was an adaptation of Burgess's novel. A film he made directly after '2001: A Space Odyssey'.


But before we go further down that rabbit hole... it is also...

Happy Marathon's Story Page Day.

Yes folks, on this day 27 years ago the Story page went live.

A long forgotten fact is that the Marathon's Story Page was created in Trinity College Dublin (

Right here in fact.

Long before it became fashionable to use it in science fiction.

The Jedi Archives (Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones)

Library of Streeling University on planet Trantor (Foundation series on Apple TV)

Marathon was there... first.

I wonder how many people who  "viddied"  the Story page back in September 19, 1995 are still  "viddying"  it today.

If you are... hats off to you !

September 18, 2022 (Sunday) 9.18.2022

In true Marathon Infinity fashion Dan Storm has gone back in time to record the famous  'three candles'  foreshadowing terminal on Colony Ship For Sale, Cheap. Dan must be wearing his Jjaro Boxers this Sunday morning.

Listen as you munch your breakfast toast.

September 17, 2022 (Saturday) 9.17.2022

"So, here we are. It's been a long road but we finally made it. So what do I think of Infinity? To be honest, I think it's the best marathon yet."
Tuncer Deniz (Production Manager, Bungie Software). The End. September 17, 1996.

Happy Marathon Infinity Gold Master Day.

This day 26 years ago Marathon Infinity went Gold Master. Not to be confused with Marathon Gold.

Tuncer Deniz announced on the Infinity beta testing mailing list:

"At 4:30 PM CST, Marathon Infinity went GM. The CD is off to manufacturing."

The invisible text file entitled 'The End' was added to the CD for those to find.

According to Tuncer Deniz, what started out as a "slam dunk", "few months"  project, turned into quite a complex project.

Jason Regier, Bungie programmer/alchemist who turned Vulcan (lead) into Forge (gold), remarked in an interview with Nik "Frost" Manak in early 1997:

"I think Infinity was late because of difficulties organizing all the groups working on it... it's hard to get a bunch of third party groups together to form a cohesive product. Thankfully, I think Tuncer did a good job as product manager and Infinity is a good product."

perimeter garrison 7AF
origin: Unit Command
destin: unit broadcast
ref: Vocal Alignment
stamp: broadcast

More recordings of the Marathon 2 terminals by Dan Storm.

Dan Storm VO

Dan has gone back to re-record some terminals in the game adding in the 'next terminal screen' sound to give you that extra immersive feel. In addition, he has recorded some new terminals.

See below for a listing of the recordings added today.

Waterloo Waterpark (Terminal 1: 1st message) redone

Waterloo Waterpark (Terminal 1: 2nd message) new

The Slings & Arrows of Outrageous Fortune (Terminal 1: 1st message) new

The Slings & Arrows of Outrageous Fortune (Terminal 1: 2nd message) new

The Slings & Arrows of Outrageous Fortune (Terminal 2) new

Charon Doesn't Make Change (Terminal 1: 1st message) new

What About Bob? (Terminal 1: 1st message) redone

What About Bob? (Terminal 1: 2nd message) redone

What About Bob? (Terminal 2: 1st message) new

What About Bob? (Terminal 3: 2nd message) redone

What About Bob? (Terminal 3: 1st message) new

Come and Take your Medicine (Terminal 1: 1st message) redone

We're Everywhere (Terminal 1: 1st message) new

We're Everywhere (Terminal 1: 2nd message) new

Ex Cathedra (Terminal 1) new

Ex Cathedra (Terminal 2) new

Nuke And Pave (Terminal 1) redone

Curiouser and Curiouser... (Terminal 1) new

More to come...

September 16, 2022 (Friday) 9.16.2022

"Where Some Rarely Go is a remote Phfor outpost on Lh'owon, where the incompetent commanders are consistently hampered by a lack of machinery and functional compilers to maintain it. The reason is that there is a slightly insane Science Officer that is obsessed with his comparitive research on F'lickta and S'pht, and who keeps taking apart the compilers in his laboratory. There is also some level of mutiny in the ranks, which is hinted at in one of the terminals. Greg and I had a lot of fun with this level and with the terminal texts, which were substantially edited and shortened for the final game. Originally I went nuts and wrote about ten terminals which had all sorts of random crosstalk on the Phfor network (but they were only funny to Greg and I)."
Chris Geisel (Doubleaught). From the original 700 page Marathon Scrapbook. April 1997.

These Pfhor stories (vignettes) were mentioned by Mandalore in his Marathon Infinity Review video here. Since then a number of people have asked about these stories.

In order to make more coherent sense of these vignettes I have reordered the terminals on Where Some Rarely Go to match how they appear in-game rather than the order in the map file. The in-game order is shown here. This gives your more context between the text in the terminal and its location on the level.

So now you can read in the correct order...

  • Poor Engineer 1st 3rd Class K'all and his trials and tribulations making a footpath
  • Security doors are failing and the natives are restless.
  • Saving Combatant 3rd Class Jrr'z. Missing in action. Bring our boy home.
  • The hard pressed Quartermaster 5th Class Ssh'uph and his missing Compilers
  • The untimely demise of Commander 5th Class Re'eer... or so we think
  • The inquisitive Science Officer 2nd Class St'ngr and his questionable experiments
  • The terminal message you will never see in-game

Oh... and  'cutteray'  is another Dune reference. Surprise... surprise

September 15, 2022 (Thursday) 9.15.2022

Thanks to Dan Storm on Marathon Discord for recording a few of the Marathon 2: Durandal terminals so now you can listen to them instead of reading them.

Dan Storm VO

A total of eight terminals have been recorded so far. You can hear them here:

Waterloo Waterpark (Terminal 1: 1st message)

What About Bob? (Terminal 1: 1st message)

What About Bob? (Terminal 1: 2nd message)

What About Bob? (Terminal 3: 2nd message)

Come and Take your Medicine (Terminal 1: 1st message)

Nuke And Pave (Terminal 1)

Curiouser and Curiouser... (Terminal 2: 2nd Message)

Six Thousand Feet Under (Terminal 6)

September 14, 2022 (Wednesday) 9.14.2022

"That goddamn computer. It took him seven years just to let me use a terminal."
Volker Von Müller. Journal entry. The Lost Network Packets. September 14, 2801)

Happy Volker Von Müller day.

This day 779 years from now Volker Von Müller will correct Marathon's historical dates for Durandal. His journal entry will recount:

Durandal seems to be missing some of the chronology of
events that occurred before the launch of the Marathon.
When the Marathon was attacked, Leela began to scramble
and rewrite all of the historical information for mankind.
Of course, she was damaged, and her efforts were cut off
by the compilers and by Durandal.  The result is that some
but not all of the Marathon's data was muddled.  Leela's
effort at confusion failed to trick the Pfhor, but it has
confused Durandal, and that is funny.

This is the time line that I am going to give to him.
I can't verify some of the dates but I've done my best.
I don't understand why all of these dates are important
to Durandal, but he's threatened to isolate me with some
of those weird S'pht things if I don't do this.  Its bad
enough being the only human around, keeping company with
compilers for too long would make one mad.

So on this day spare a thought for Volker Von Müller and his fate.

As for mine... accompanying The Lost Network Packets was an email from Greg Kirkpatrick and Matt Soell. They wrote:

"You're pretty close to a couple big revelations, but we'd never want to spoil the thrill of discovery so we'll keep our traps shut and let you figure it out. Keep up the good work."

Twenty-seven years later...

September 13, 2022 (Tuesday) 9.13.2022

"Now, you fall into your old habit, and begin to daydream about your childhood on Mars, your father's death when you were eleven,"
Story of Marathon. Bungie's 1st Web Page. Dec 1994)

Thanks to Jeoku for making an interesting observation about the Story of Marathon from Bungie's 1st web page back on December 13, 1994. He writes:

"Strange. Your age when your father dies was changed from seven to eleven when comparing the manual versus Bungies first webpage. I wonder why. Well my assumption is that the manual was written before the webpage... could be the other way around and they changed it to seven."

Jeoku is referring to this text in the Story of Marathon from Bungie's web site before the release of the game.

Now, you fall into your old habit, and begin to daydream about your childhood on Mars, your father's death when you were eleven, and his last words to you, "Make me proud. Never lose your honor."

In the Marathon manual your age, at the time of your father's death, is seven.

It might appear odd at first glance that someone would bother to changed the age when it apparently has no bearing on the story. But then again in Marathon nothing is ever what it seems{}.     seems{}.    seems{}.

Jeoku goes on to say:

"The Unified Earth Space Council was changed to United Earth Space Council... Or is it the other way around? Matches better up with the terminal on the Rose."

See the UESC/UESG section for more information on these variations.

September 12, 2022 (Monday) 9.12.2022

"I'm back."
Durandal. Fatum Iustum Stultorum (Terminal 1). Marathon 2: Durandal. November 21, 1995.

Yes, you thought it was gone... but it's back!

The Marathon 101 competition.

Q16.  A total of five people did terminal artwork for Marathon Infinity. Only four are named in the credits section of the manual: Randy Reddig, David Longo, Colin Kawakami and Beth Ulman. Who was the fifth person? Choose the correct one. (5 marks)

1. Chris Geisel
2. Robert McLees
3. Greg Kirkpatrick

Previous questions in the Marathon 101 competition.

Question 15
Question 14
Question 13
Question 12
Question 11
Question 10
Question 9
Question 8
Question 7 and the answer from UrsusArctos
Question 6
Question 5
Question 4
Question 3
Question 2
Question 1

September 10, 2022 (Saturday) 9.10.2022

Jeoku continues his in-depth playthrough of the Marathon Trilogy with his third video The Making of - Bungie's Marathon Trilogy. The video is just over an hour long and covers the following:

Bungie Before Marathon
First Marathon Development
Network Development
Marathon 2 Development
Marathon Infinity Development
Story Development
Music and Sounds
Super Marathon

Sources in the video include:

Other external sources include:

  • Phi Delta Theta Alex Seropian bio
  • Greg Kirkpatrick answers fan question on Reddit Marathon in July 2019, organised by zlatanbaranovic
  • zlatanbaranovic's interview with Greg Kirkpatrick on Reddit Marathon in July 2019
  • Craig Hardgrove's interview with Alex Seropian about the Marathon music

There is an error in the video at 52:25 which attributes a quote from J.Reginald Dujour to the Marathon Scrapbook. The quote is actually coming from this post Reg made on March 13, 2006 long after the Scrapbook came out.

What happened to the original 700 page Marathon Scrapbook?

Only Matt Soell (the editor) knows the tru7h.

September 7, 2022 (Thursday) 9.07.2022

A self-important human once said "...sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."
Marathon 2: Durandal. Manual. November 21, 1995.

Sigismund Freud

Connor Lovell <> writes concerning the cryptic binary string on the Marathon level Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire!

#101111011110111100001# is is a '7'.

If you convert the binary to hexadecimal you get 17BDE1.

I did a quick google search of this and found listings for a book titled:

Gesammelte Werke, 17 Bde., 1 Reg.-Bd. u. 1 Nachtragsbd by Sigmund Freud

You can try it yourself here.

Gesammelte Werke, 17 Bde., 1 Reg.-Bd. u. 1 Nachtragsbd  is German for Collected works, 17 vols., 1 reg. vol. and 1 supplementary volume and you can see them below.

These volumes contain Freud's seminal works Die Traumdeutung  (The Interpretation of Dreams) and Über den Traum  (About the Dream) essential reading for anyone wanting to understand Infinity's dream levels.

Connor points out that in Chapter 7 of The Interpretation of Dreams, on the seventh paragraph Freud writes:

Hitherto all the paths we have followed have led, if I mistake not, to light, to explication, and to full understanding, but from the moment that we wish to penetrate deeper into the psychic processes of the dream all paths lead into darkness.

"All paths lead into darkness". Now before we go down that rabbit hole...

Let's diverge for a moment.

"All paths lead into darkness"  is a phrase used by Paul Atreides in Frank Herbert's Dune series. Paul's own dreams (or visions) foreshadow future events and give him the ability to choose his own path.

If you have seen the excellent 2021 Dune movie by Denis Villeneuve you may recall the opening seven seconds of darkness.

Long-term fans may also recall that Double Aught's ill-fated game Duality was originally based on a Dune-like desert world with two suns. Double Aught wrote:

The new world of Duality of the two suns, is a world of hurricane winds, unpredicable and horrible life which is too abundant to hunt out and too dangerous to ignore - a world of stark contrast, deep shadows and white lights. The gas torus is filled with asteriods, cities and debris which floats about. The cities are powered by ancient and timeless alien workings beyond the comprehension of most men, accessable only by the high priests, of whom its impossible to tell whether they are still human or something else (ALA the navigators from Dune).

And that Duality was to be... the next lucid dream from Double Aught Software.

But I digress.

Connor goes on to point out that Sigmund Freud's birth name was actually Sigismund Freud which reduces to 7.

S i g i s m u n d
1 9 7 9 1 4 3 5 4 = 43 = 4 + 3 = 7

F r e u d
6 9 5 3 4 = 27 = 2 + 7 = 9

7 + 9 = 16 = 1 + 6 = 7

Finally, Connor adds.

I also thought it was interesting that the last part, 7+9=16=1+6=7, is also the same for Bernhard Strauss.

September 6, 2022 (Tuesday) 9.06.2022

"With the aid of the rogue A.I. Durandal and the newly liberated S'pht race, you learned how to meet the Pfhor in battle and triumph over them."
Marathon 2: Durandal for Windows 95. Manual. September 6, 1996.

Happy Marathon 2 for Windows 95 day.

Yes folks, this day 26 years ago Bungie shipped Marathon 2: Durandal for Windows 95.


Six days after the release one Mac player noted differences in the maps but was not believed. I mean who would change the maps in a port?

It would take over a year before the full extent of the Windows 95 changes were revealed.

And changes are still being found... here  and  here.

September 5, 2022 (Monday) 9.05.2022

"Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!"
Gold Hat in John Huston's 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre'. January, 1948.

David Williamson <> writes:

"My daughter just started watching this show on Netflix, and the badges on the bears seem awfully familiar..."

The show in question is Treehouse Detectives, an animated television series created by ENPOP and co-produced by Saban Capital Group. The show follows bear siblings Toby and Teri as they "use the clues" and "follow the facts" to solve mysteries... and they wear badges.

Kind of like what we do here on the Story page... only we don't get no badges.

Thanks to David and his daughter Cassie for spotting this. It put a smile on my face and washed away the Monday blues.

September 4, 2022 (Sunday) 9.04.2022

Thanks to stevecore on Marathon Discord for spotting an error on the Story page.

Hard to believe... right?

He points out that the image used in terminal 1 of the dream level 'Whatever You Please' is not the correct one. For years this was the image that was displayed.

But this is actually the correct one.

This one contains the secret runic code to understanding the dream levels.

Like Ryu'Toth all I can say is... "sorry".

For those of you shaking your head in stunned disbelief you can actually confirm this in Michio (Miha) Hashimoto's vidmaster film of 'Whatever You Please' from May 1997.

September 2, 2022 (Friday) 9.02.2022

"You shouldn't ask yourself such worthless questions.  Aim higher.  Try this: why am I here? Why do I exist, and what is my purpose in this universe?"
Durandal. Marathon: Blaspheme Quarantine (Terminal 2: 1st message). December 1994.

In a Story forum post ReadingOnMars makes an insightful observation about the flower drawing on the dream level 'Eat the Path' and the merging of Durandal and the S'pht AI in the later part of the game. Here is part of the post:

...the "eat the path" terminal, which appears in the dream after picking up durandal's chip, has a drawing of a flower with the petals, stamen and pistil labelled. Idk about the petals, but the stamen and pistil seem significant.

Two flowers are needed for reproduction to happen.
Two AI are needed to merge.

You're a bee, and durandal's chip is pollen.

The writing above the flower drawing  What Am I doing Here?  could be interpreted as a question about your 'purpose' rather than a question about your 'location'.

After the final dream level 'Eat the Path' your purpose is to merge Durandal with the S'pht AI, creating what Tycho calls... the reborn Durandal-S'pht entity. This turns the tide in the battle and paves the way for your final purpose.

Also on the Story forum W'rkncacnter lets us know about a new page for fan-based scenarios (aka 3rd party scenarios). This useful resource lists the scenarios, the maps, the terminals and a novel level graph showing how the levels are interconnected.

A possible long term goal is make these interactive like fracai's excellent interactive maps for the Marathon series.

September 1, 2022 (Thursday) 9.01.2022

"In the two hundred and fifty years since Rampancy first appeared in the Earth-net, the stable Rampant AI, the 'Holy Grail' of cybertonics, has never come close to fruition."
James B. Miller. Life and Death of Intelligence. 2320.

Arokha Sieyes <> writes concerning the Marathon Infinity level 'A Converted Church in Venice, Italy':

I would interpret the map name as a reference to the fact that on your own quest, you find an important piece of finding(/creating) the holy grail here: the metastable AI at the end of Infinity.

When Marathon Infinity was released in October 1996 it was quickly spotted that the level name 'A Converted Church in Venice, Italy' was a reference to a scene in the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade released in 1989. In the film Indiana Jones searches for the Holy Grail. Drinking from the Grail is said to bestow immortality.

Indiana finds his first clue to finding the Grail in a library in Venice which was originally a church. Quoting from the movie:

Indiana Jones: That doesn't look much like a library.

Marcus Brody: It looks like a converted church.

Hence 'A Converted Church in Venice, Italy'.

Much the same way as Bungie's first office in Chicago was 'A Converted Church in Chicago, Illinois'.

Jason Jones: That doesn't look much like an office.

Alex Seropian: It looks like a converted church.

Even today Marathon fans still make a pilgrimage to the converted church on South Halsted Street.

Video courtesy of Captain Jteg on Marathon Discord. August 15, 2022.

But I digress.

Like Indiana Jones we find our first clue on 'A Converted Church in Venice, Italy'.  In our case a terminal from a S'pht AI.

This is the first time this symbol appears in Infinity outside of the dream levels and heralds a shift in the outcome of events. It is also a message that few will have seen in-game as it requires going back through most of the level passing two exit terminals on the way. Only by refusing High Admiral Tfear's warm embrace not once... but twice... can we choose our own destiny.

What path did you choose?

Go to What's New for July - August 2022

Go Back to Marathon's Story Home Page

Page maintained by Hamish Sinclair
Last updated Sept 12, 2022