Marathon's
Story
Page

since 1995

marathon.bungie.org/story

         Marathon's
Story
Page

since 2019

marathon.bungie.org/story



Saturday September 30, 2023    



_YOU,ARE…
_[NOT] WELCOME…
_HERE…
_IN,THIS…
_BODY/WORLD/MOMENT…
_AND,BEYOND…
_YOU,WILL,FIND…
_[CORRUPTION]
_RUN,PLEASE…[RUN]
_[ITHTAWITHTAWITHTAW]
_…

Bungie Inc. marathonthegame.com. May 24, 2023.

How do you advertise a game with a great story?

Just SAY it.


This is an official Bungie ad which appeared in Computer Gaming World issue 150 January 1997 and issue 151 February 1997.

Added it to the Bungie's Marathon Ads section.


Great to see these special CoA numbers going out to fans rather than staying in-house.

The lucky fan with 00001 is Mattheuk9 on r/marathon.



The lucky fan with 00007 is Keric28 on r/marathon.



So why are MIDA getting all the cool numbers?


MIDA is cool! Be MIDA. Be Cool!


Friday September 29, 2023    



MIDA-T-shirt features two bold graffiti designs in one shirt. The interior double-sided printing technique makes each T-shirt one-of-a-kind.

How will you wear your MIDA T-shirt?

Designed in Sweden
Decorated and assembled in USA
Accompanied with numbered Certificate of Authenticity
100% Cotton
Bungie Store. Marathon T-Shirts. May 24, 2023.


On the Marathon Discord scrandina posted high quality pics showing how to use the red transparent MIDA card to read the obscured green text on the MIDA letter.

The green text in the MIDA letter can now be corrected to read as follows;

MAKE IT DIE ALREADY.        THE SYSTEM.        THE LIE.
MAYBE I'M DOING ALRIGHT.        IF I STAND FOR WHAT I BELIEVE IN.
IF I BELIEVE IN A FUTURE I'LL NEVER SEE.        MASS  INDIFERENCE  DISRUPTS
ADVANCEMENT.        OF SOCIETY.        OF SELF.
MAYHEM IS DEFINITELY ALLOWED.        NOW. THEN.        A L W A Y S .
MERCY IS DIRECT ACTION.           CARE FOR PEOPLE. BREAK CAGES.
MARTIAN INDEPENDENCE DEMANDS ACCOUNTABILITY FOR WORKERS.        F O R
COMMUNITIES.        FOR FAMILIES.        FOR YOU.
MOBILIZED INTERVENTIONS DISSUADES APATHY ON MARS. ON EARTH.        IN ORBIT.
ONE MILLION FACES.        ONE NAME.        ONE MILLION MEANINGS.
MIDA
JOIN THE REVOLUTION

There are now seven spelled out forms of the acronym MIDA in the corrected text. Which of course makes perfect sense. Thank you Bungie!
MAKE IT DIE ALREADY
MAYBE I'M DOING ALRIGHT
MASS INDIFERENCE DISRUPTS ADVANCEMENT
MAYHEM IS DEFINITELY ALLOWED
MERCY IS DIRECT ACTION
MARTIAN INDEPENDENCE DEMANDS ACCOUNTABILITY
MOBILIZED INTERVENTIONS DISSUADES APATHY

The red text in the MIDA letter now reads:

COMFORT IS THEIR WEAPON. COMFORT IS A CAGE. HAVE IT AND WE ARE TRAPPED. DON'T, AND 
WE SPEND OUR LIVES FIGHTING FOR IT. TWO REALITIES, SAME CAGE. TRAPPED. THE CAGE IS A 
PURPOSE-BUILT WHEEL, SPUN IN PERPETUAL MOTION—THE CYCLE. A LIFE MADE TO BLEED US
OF OUR FREEDOM/HOPE/AMBITION. THE CYCLE COMMANDS THEN CONTROLS OUR FOCUS. 
THROUGH REPETITION—ENDLESS DAYS/NIGHTS/MINUTES/SECONDS. THROUGH FEAR—OF
LOSING OUR COMFORT, OF NEVER HAVING ANY—COMFORT/VALUE/LOVE/SUPPORT/THING.
THE CYCLE COMMANDS OUR ATTENTION. THE CYCLE BECOMES OUR EXISTENCE. OUR EVERY 
MOMENT IS BOUGHT/PAID/LEASED/SOLD. WE CONSUME PRODUCTS SO WE NEVER REALIZE WE 
ARE PRODUCTS. THE PRODUCT. CORP/GOV/FAITH BUILT THE CAGE. CREATED THE WHEEL. SET IT
SPINNING. THEN, THEY PLACID US/YOU/ME/WE/THEM INSIDE. WE ARE ITS MOMENTUM—THE
WHEEL'S, THE CYCLE'S, SOCIETY'S, THIS LIFE'S. WE—THEM/WE/ME/YOU/US—ARE THE POWER. 
WE  JUST  DON'T  REALIZE.  TOO  COMFORTABLE.  TOO  DRIVEN.  TO  PROTECT  THAT
COMFORT—OURS, YOURS—I/ME/MINE. TO CONSUME. DIVIDE. CONQUER. SUPPLY. DEMAND. WE
ARE THE SUPPLY. WE MAKE THE DEMANDS—OF OURSELVES, OF EACH OTHER. THE PEOPLE 
HATE THE PEOPLE. ARE MADE TO HATE THE PEOPLE. BUT WE ARE NOT THE PROBLEM. WE ARE 
NOT THE ENEMY. WE ARE THE SPOKES. WE ARE THE CORE. WE ARE THE FOUNDATION. WITHOUT 
US THERE'S NO MOVEMENT. WITHOUT US—MINER TO FORE, CRAFTER TO CODER, JANITOR TO
CEO—THE CYCLE STOPS. THE CAGE IS BROKEN, THE SYSTEM CRUMBLES AND WE ARE FREE. 
COULD WE RISK OUR COMFROT FOR THAT? COULD WE BREAK OUR CAGE TO SPIN FREE IN 
DIRECTIONS UNKNOWN, TOWARD FUTURES UNCERTAIN? COULD WE TRADE THIS WHEEL FOR 
ONE OF OUR OWN DESIGN? OR IS THIS CYCLE ENOUGH? THIS CAGE OUR PRIZE? IS THIS LIFE
OUR END—THE TOTALITY OF OUR BEING? THE APEX OF OUR POTENTIAL? NO. THERE IS MORE. 
BUT WE MUST WORK TOGETHER. FOREVER SPOKES. FOREVER FORWARD. TOGETHER. TOWARD
BETTER TOMORROWS. FOR EVERYONE.
More of the same rhetoric used by MIDA throughout their ezine ANTI:REV+ issue 4673c.


Below is a nice set of unpacking pics showing everything you get in UESC bag from bugbbq on r/marathon.

All five shirts from 'living in a box' on the Marathon Discord.
On the Marathon Discord, Curt shows how his UESC shirt lights up. 0417 seconds of oxygen left. Run.... but watch out for snippers. They can spot you a mile away!




There is also a nice tag on the UESC shirt sleeve. Thanks to Curt for the pic.



Thursday September 28, 2023    



A number of people have asked "How do you decode the code on the CyberAcme shirt?"


On the Bungie Store the description for the CyberAcme T-Shirt read:
Marathon Collection [000] CyberAcme T-Shirt features codes with an eerie green glow.

Will you be able to unlock the code?
The Bungie Store even included a high quality image of the front. They wanted to male it easy for us.


This was a sample test for what was coming... the CyberAcme Cards.

But I digress.

The image on the shirt is a representation of a punched card. Back in the day punched cards held digital data represented by the presence or absence of punched holes in predefined positions. A punched hole indicated 1 (on) and no hole indicated 0 (off).

The pattern on the shirt contains an array of 12 rows and 32 columns and is replicated below.

 • • • •     •  •   •  • •• •• •
    • •   •••    ••  •     •  • 
•        •    •    •    •       
                            •   
   •          •    •     •      
            •   ••     •     •  
             •                • 
 •    •             •     •    •
•        ••       •             
       •                        
                        •       
    ••     •         •     •    

Replacing the dots (holes) with 1's and the blank spaces (no holes) with 0's you get the following bit array.
01010101000001001000100101101101
00001010001110000110010000010010
10000000010000100001000010000000
00000000000000000000000000001000
00010000000000100001000001000000
00000000000010001100000100000100
00000000000001000000000000000010
01000010000000000000100000100001
10000000011000000010000000000000
00000001000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000010000000
00001100000100000000010000010000

Each column is read vertically from top to bottom. These form bit strings of 12 length. The first column (displayed horizontally) reads:
001000001000
You can easily decode this by hand with an IBM key punch 029 decoder list (see below).

    Numbers	

001000000000 = 0
000100000000 = 1
000010000000 = 2
000001000000 = 3
000000100000 = 4
000000010000 = 5
000000001000 = 6
000000000100 = 7
000000000010 = 8
000000000001 = 9
   

Lowercase Chars

101100000000 = a
101010000000 = b
101001000000 = c
101000100000 = d
101000010000 = e
101000001000 = f
101000000100 = g
101000000010 = h
101000000001 = i
110100000000 = j
110010000000 = k
110001000000 = l
110000100000 = m
110000010000 = n
110000001000 = o
110000000100 = p
110000000010 = q
110000000001 = r
011010000000 = s
011001000000 = t
011000100000 = u
011000010000 = v
011000001000 = w
011000000100 = x
011000000010 = y
011000000001 = z
   

Uppercase Chars

100100000000 = A
100010000000 = B
100001000000 = C
100000100000 = D
100000010000 = E
100000001000 = F
100000000100 = G
100000000010 = H
100000000001 = I
010100000000 = J
010010000000 = K
010001000000 = L
010000100000 = M
010000010000 = N
010000001000 = O
010000000100 = P
010000000010 = Q
010000000001 = R
001010000000 = S
001001000000 = T
001000100000 = U
001000010000 = V
001000001000 = W
001000000100 = X
001000000010 = Y
001000000001 = Z
   

    Special

100010000010 = c
100001000010 = .
100000100010 = <
100000010010 = (
100000001010 = +
100000000110 = |
010010000010 = !
010001000010 = $
010000100010 = *
010000010010 = )
010000001010 = ;
010000000110 = ¬
001010000010 =  
001001000010 = ,
001000100010 = %
001000010010 = _
001000001010 = >
001000000110 = ?
000010000010 = :
000001000010 = #
000000100010 = @
000000010010 = \'
000000001010 =  = 
000000000110 = "
000001000010 = #

   Exceptions

010000000000 = -
100000000000 = &
001100000000 = /

The first column (001000001000) decodes to W. The second column (100000010000) decodes to E. The third column (000000000000) contains no data and is left blank.

Decoding each column gives you the following text.
01010101000001001000100101101101
00001010001110000110010000010010
10000000010000100001000010000000
00000000000000000000000000001000
00010000000000100001000001000000
00000000000010001100000100000100
00000000000001000000000000000010
01000010000000000000100000100001
10000000011000000010000000000000
00000001000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000010000000
00001100000100000000010000010000

WE BRING WORLDS CLOSER CYBERACME

And here is a punched card with the letters punched out.




More Marathon T-Shirt and bag content pics.

Credit (clockwise from top left) Noble_Boi (r/marathon), Excitemike (Marathon Discord), Mags_Dies (r/marathon), Switch (Marathon Discord).


People have asked about the numbers on the back of the Traxus shirt. They don't change and they are a reference to Oxia Pallus B 01.

In the Marathon Arg Oxia Pallus B 01 was one of four Martian mining sites that had safety concerns. We would later learn that a mining accident occurred at B 01.

According to the Bungie Store the back of the Traxus shirt has reflective ink for added visibility and protection.

So enjoy your Traxus mining shirt. And stay safe!

But remember... you are just a dead clone walking!


Today's news was sponsored by MIDA.



Wednesday September 27, 2023    



"I never figured out the EGG. It really spooked me out the first time I saw it though..."
Alexander Seropian. Bungie Software. AOL Conference. February 17, 1995



Incubation by Phobos-Romulus. October 24, 2010.


Ain't Got Time Pfhor This... is a Marathon level that does not exist according to the Orignal Level Notes for Marathon. For a level that does not exist it is certainly loaded with mystery and has its own section... The Pfhor Egg.

Jeoku continues his in-depth playthrough of Marathon with Ain't Got Time Pfhor This...,  the eighth and last level of the Pfhor Chapter. This level was created by Reginald Dujour (with cleaning up by Greg Kirkpatrick & Jason Jones).

Sources in the video include:

Ain't Got Time Pfhor This... is a massive suicide trap and was the subject of Question of the Week #23 in the Seventh HoTBob Competition aka The HoT List. The question was posed as a riddle.
Riddle me this?

Time is limited.
I have no words but I must read.
Four switches and a choice.
Choose wrong, switch none,
and I might fail.

What level is this and why?
Find out the answer here.

But what you won't find is the answer to... THIS!




What's in the Bag?

More Marathon T-Shirt "artifact" bag content pics have been posted.

Four "artifact" bags (UESC, MIDA, Traxus, and CybeAcme). Posted by m1k3y60659 on r/marathon. Note that the Certificate of Authenticity cards come separate to the sealed "artifact" bags.


MIDA bag contents. Posted by m1k3y60659 on r/marathon. Use the red transparent MIDA card to read the green text on the letter.


CyberAcme bag contents. Posted by m1k3y60659 on r/marathon.


UESC badge, Traxus sticker and Traxus letter. Posted by m1k3y60659 on r/marathon.


Bottom of Traxus letter with clearer text. Posted by m1k3y60659 on r/marathon.


Comparison of UESC shirt number and Certificate of Authenticity card number. Posted by raddish on Marathon Discord. CoA and shirt numbers don't match. This is now standard.



Hex Cody on Twitter provides the obscured (overtyped green text) message in the MIDA letter (see above). The message reads:

MAKE IT DIE ALREADY        THE SYSTEM        THE LIE
MAYBE I'M DOING ALRIGHT.        IF I STAND FOR WHAT I BELIEVE IN
IF I BELIEVE IN A FUTURE I'LL NEVER SEE        MASS INDIFERENCE DISRUPTS
ADVANCEMENT        OF SOCIETY.        OF SELF.
MAYHEM IS DEFINITELY ALLOWED.        NOW THEN        ALWAYS
MARTIAN INDEPENDENCE DEMANDS ACCOUNTABILITY FOR WORKERS.        FOR
COMMUNITIES.        FOR FAMILIES.        FOR YOU
MOBILIZED INTERVENTIONS DISSUADES APATHY ON MARS. ON EARTH.        IN ORBIT
ONE MILLION FACES.        ONE NAME        ONE MILLION MEANINGS
MIDA
JOIN THE REVOLUTION

This repeats similar rhetoric used by MIDA in the Marathon ARG and includes more spelled out forms of the acronym MIDA.
MAKE IT DIE ALREADY
MAYBE I'M DOING ALRIGHT
MASS INDIFERENCE DISRUPTS ADVANCEMENT
MAYHEM IS DEFINITELY ALLOWED
MARTIAN INDEPENDENCE DEMANDS ACCOUNTABILITY
MOBILIZED INTERVENTIONS DISSUADES APATHY


Tuesday September 26, 2023    



More Marathon T-Shirt pics!

On the Marathon Discord iann39 writes:
Got my UESC shirt! The other 4 will come at some point.



According to iann39 the artifact in the sealed bag (from the mysterious world of Tau Ceti IV) is the UESC badge!

The UESC shirt packout pic from the Bungie Store is shown below.


Again the UESC badge is clearly shown in the sales pic outside the sealed bag suggesting that the two are distinct items.

But there is another problem!

iann39's Certificate of Authenticity card states that the number of the shirt is 00078 yet on the back of the shirt the number is 0307.

So the CoA card number does not match the printed shirt number?!!!

I mean... come on Bungie! How hard can it be?

If you have a complaint please contact Bungie's
Ministry for Complaints.


Pfhor Score by LukeDenby on DeviantArt. May 2, 2011


Monday September 25, 2023    



Update.

First shots of the Traxus T-Shirt and contents have been posted on Marathon Discord by ares540.



The certificate reads...
This collection is crafted as an expansion of the May 24, 2023 Marathon announce experience. This is only the beginning. Welcome to Marathon.

Inside the sealed bag is the following letter from Traxus Global Mining Division Mars. The information pertains to Mine B01 at Oxia Palus (called Oxia Pallus in the Marathon ARG). This was the site of the unfortunate accident. Apparently life insurance is supplemental!


This is a comparison shot of the Traxus shirt packout pic from the Bungie Store.


It is clear that the contents of the sealed bag are actually shown in the sales pic. You get what you see!

"Each T-shirt in Marathon Collection [000] is marked with the collection's Reference Number and accompanied with an exclusive collector's artifact straight from the mysterious world of Tau Ceti IV."
Bungie Store. Marathon. May 24, 2023
So as through a glass, and darkly
The age long strife I see
Where I fought in many guises,
Many names, but always me.
General George S. Patton, Jr.  Through a Glass, Darkly.  September 16, 1922


Dust in the Spotlight by LocustTheSpawn on Twitter. September 9, 2023

The above piece of reflective Marathon art entitled "Dust in the Spotlight"  by LocustTheSpawn (Keenan Van Richardson) poses many questions to the viewer.

What is the Security Officer doing? Who are the figures in the background? How many battles had he fought and won?

Like all good pieces of art it makes you think.

The title itself "Dust in the Spotlight" is enigmatic. Motes of dust caught in a beam of light swirl like tiny galaxies. Elusive to the touch, dark matter offered fleetingly to sight.

But I digress.

Keenan followed up "Dust in the Spotlight" with an equally intriguing piece of Marathon art.


Embrace the random by LocustTheSpawn on Twitter. September 11, 2023

Commenting on the piece one person simply wrote: "They used to hold tournaments here...". I think it nicely captures the essence of the piece. Dust and echoes.
i have been called a hundred names and will be called a thousand more before the world goes dim and cold.
Check out Keenan's artwork on his ArtStation page and on Twitter.


Sunday September 24, 2023    



Every piece of information in the world has been copied.
Backed up.
Except the human mind...

Robert Ford.  Westworld.  Les Écorchés (Season 2, Episode 7).  June 3, 2018.

Let's talk about THAT Marathon t-shirt.

No... NOT the Sekiguchi Genetics one.

This ONE!

The Marathon Katakana T-Shirt.

Released in July 2005 and available from the Bungie Store, it was designed by Bungie's own Shishka (Chad Armstrong). It was partly modeled on an old-school Bungie t-shirt called Carnage for the Rest of Us™ released in 1996.


On the back of both shirts was the 'Carnage Zone' sign which itself was based on this unfortunate individual.


Marathon net play. September 11, 1994

On the front of the Katakana T-Shirt was the Marathon symbol and the following katakana.

What did it mean? Finding this out wasn't as easy in 2005 as it is today and lead to a lot of different interpretations.

Fortunately Shishka posted details about what the katakana meant on the Story forum. Unfortunately his post was deleted by a person who will remain nameless. Fortunately the Story page... being the Story page... had it 'backed up'.

The front of the Katakana T-Shirt read "Makku de Marason" or "Marathon for the Mac" according to Shishka.

Now this was a pretty 'ballsy' move by Shishka as Bungie Studios were owned by Microsoft at the time. Maybe he thought no one at Microsoft would bother to translate it and order a change to "Marathon for PC and Mac".

So what happened to all the Marathon Katakana T-Shirts? Where are the pics of people wearing it? Where are the eBay sales for this rare item? Who bought one?

Well depending on who you ask Marathon fans in Japan bought them all. "Marathon Katakana T-Shirt not for gaijin we buy all!"... apparently.

You see... Marathon is... Big In Japan.

Today's news was sponsored by Marathon's Story page (Toyko, Japan).



Saturday September 23, 2023    



Any USEC controlled ship surviving nova event,
transport when ready.

Arther Frain calling.
That is all...


Arther Frain.  Marathon Infinity.  You're Wormfood Dude (Terminal 0).

Back on September 7, 2023 and August 21, 2023 we featured Lamb's (aka Lambdafallout12) comic adaptation of the story in Destiny's MIDA Mini-Tool lore tab.

Lamb has also created some Marathon-specific artwork. See below for four representations of Mjolnir Recon number 54 created between 2020 - 2023 (click to see full version).

 October 18, 2020                January 12, 2021
 
 
   May 25, 2023                  September 12, 2023

Interesting to see Lamb use both UESC and USEC in his Marathon artwork. Find out more about the use of both these acronyms in the Marathon Trilogy.

Lamb also uses the acronym USEC (United States Exo-Solar Colonies) in his own comic creations. USEC Colonial Marines are deployed across the ever changing frontiers of the American Colonies from anti-piracy actions to occasional planetary conflicts in distant systems.

Check out Lamb's distinctive art style on his DeviantArt page and on Twitter.

Oh... and one more Marathon piece by Lamb.


Pfhor Fighter by Lamb. September 29, 2020

...nearly two meters in height.
Try again (Terminal 1)


Friday September 22, 2023    



Happy Marathon Collage Day!

On this day 29 years ago Bungie released a set of seven official screenshots in the form of a collage to advertise their new game Marathon.


These were the very first screenshots released for the game after it had been totally rewritten and a new artist (Reginald Dujour) had been brought on board.

Some of these screenshots would go on to be used again on packaging, advertising and Bungie's three website iterations.

Other screenshots were not so lucky and for a time were thought lost. Eventually they were found and now for the first time you can see all seven together here.

 
 
 


Bungie also released another press announcement with the Marathon Collage. Entitled "Bungie Presents the Future of Mac Games" it focused on the new technologies in Marathon.

The press release went on to say that Marathon would be available... "soon".

Happy Marathon Collage Day!


Thursday September 21, 2023    



       

With the imminent arrival of the Marathon t-shirts... two weeks... soon™  we ask ourselves what could go wrong... what's in the bag?


"Each T-shirt in Marathon Collection [000] is marked with the collection's Reference Number and accompanied with an exclusive collector's artifact straight from the mysterious world of Tau Ceti IV."
Bungie Store. Marathon. May 24, 2023

In Marathon, Tau Ceti IV artifacts combine together to create a Prime Artifact.

Steve Cotton (Creative Director on Marathon). Somewhere In The Heavens - ViDoc.

Since five is a prime number and there were five different shirts you do the maths. So if you only bought one shirt you might have to find four other artifacts to create a Prime Artifact.

       

Who will be the first to complete their Prime?

Real world PvP action.

"Kill Your Enemies, Kill Your Friend's Enemies, Kill Your Friends"
Slogan for Bungie's first PvP only game... Minotaur.

Let the carnage begin.

"Who among you will write their names across the stars?"
Bungie Inc.  Marathon.  May 24, 2023.



Of course... it could be just a small plastic toy made in China.

mr-potato-head


Wednesday September 20, 2023    



And now back to Marathon.

Inspired by Marathon, Zongle Chen a concept artist from Guangzhou, China has created H_LAB.






What was Dr. Bernhard H Strauss up to on Tau Ceti IV?

Find out more about H-Lab (including aerial shots and floor plans) at Zongle Chen's ArtStation page.


Tuesday September 19, 2023    



Do you know what kind of hat I'm wearing?
(Tycho.  Marathon Infinity.  Bagged Again (Terminal 0).  October 15, 1996

Happy Birthday Marathon's Story Page!

The Story page is 28 years old today! It went sentient on September 19, 1995. From there it just kinda grew.

Juzo-kun (aka Francesca) an Italian artist captured this growth in the following amusing cartoon (translation included).
You've played too much Marathon when...

...you printed all the Story Page on paper so you can
easily read it when the computer is turned off.

"...out of paper? Again?"


Today is also Marathon Announcement Day!... AGAIN.


Marathon net play. September 11, 1994


Marathon net play. September 11, 1994

Confused?

Well Bungie actually announced Marathon on July 25, 1994.

The second announcement on September 19, 1994 was almost identical... except for seven important changes.
  1. The number of levels was dropped from "more than 45" to "more than 40".
  2. Compatibility with VR headsets was added.
  3. The ability to look and fire up and down was added.
  4. Live microphone interaction during network play was added.
  5. A replay option was added allowing players to review networked contests.
  6. The game would now be available in the fall rather than the summer.
Wait! That's only six!

I'll let you find the seventh change yourself.

Happy Marathon Announcement AGAIN Day!


Monday September 18, 2023    



Phobia: an anxiety disorder involving excessive and persistent fear of a situation or object.

Phobophobia: a phobia defined as the fear of phobias, or the fear of fear itself.

Pfhoraphobia... unfortunately, no one can be told what Pfhoraphobia is. You have to see it for yourself.


Fear.
Pfhor girl:   What do you know about fear?
Security Officer:   All there is.
Pfhor girl:   Well not like this. Not like him.
Fear.
"I imagine that "Pfhoraphobia" will be impossible, but I haven't tried it yet."
(Jason Jones, comp.sys.mac.games, 25 January 1995)
Fear.
Pfhor fighter:   How do you kill a human without fear?
Enforcer:   By puttin' the fear in him.
Fear.
"No, there is no saved game terminal on this level."
(Marathon Spoiler Guide)
Fear.
Rumours of a secret Pattern Buffer on Pfhoraphobia spread like wild fire during the early part of 1995. Some said it was in a secret passageway. Others behind a secret wall panel. Some said you needed the secret Hypervision to see it. While others said it couldn't be seen, you just had to use the action key in the right spot.
Fear.
Pfhor boy:   Do not try and save the game. That's impossible. Instead... only try to realise the tru7h.
Security Officer:   What tru7h?
Pfhor boy:   There is no save.
Security Officer:   There is no save?
Pfhor boy:   Then you'll see, that it is not the game that saves, it is only yourself.
Security Officer:   Save myself?
Pfhor boy:   Yes... RUN !!!
Fear.

"From the relative safety of your ledge, polish up your rocket launcher and fire a well aimed projectile at the Alien Leader's head. When you do this, a pack of furious Compilers will swoop up and attack."
(Tuncer Deniz, Marathon: The Official Strategy Guide)
Fear.

Some say that the Pfhor cyborg controller looks like Osama bin Laden when viewed up close. No surprises there, didn't Bungie use the image of Saddam Hussein in one of their other games? Others question why the Compilers still attack after you kill their controller. Some question Bungie's motives for creating games where the "bad dude at the end" can be killed with just a few bullets. Others simply point to May 1, 2011.
Fear.
Unfortunately, no one can be told what Pfhoraphobia is. You have to PLAY it for yourself.

Jeoku plays Pfhoraphobia in his in-depth playthrough of Marathon. This is the seventh level of the Pfhor Chapter. It was created by Reginald Dujour (and cleaned up by Greg Kirkpatrick & Jason Jones).

Sources in the video include:
In the video Jeoku corrects some misconceptions about the Transparency Biobus Chip Enhancement (Transparency BCE) which appear in the Marathon Strategy Guide.

According to the Marathon Manual (page 14):
Transparency
This BCE will make you transparent. Transparencies can run in parallel, so you become more transparent after each one you pick up. You are undetectable on motion sensors and most of the aliens won't be able to track you very well.
Apparently if you pick up seven you will totally disappear... Phhht! Just like that.

Lastly...

Pfhroaphobia is a totally different type of fear. It's the fear of spelling Pfhor wrong!




Sunday September 17, 2023    



"At 4:30 PM CST, Marathon Infinity went GM. The CD is off to manufacturing."
Tuncer Deniz (Production Manager, Bungie Software). Infinity Beta Testing Mailing List. September 17, 1996.

Happy Marathon Infinity Gold Master Day.

On this day 27 years ago Marathon Infinity went Gold Master.


Marathon Infinity gold master. Pic courtesy of Randy Reddig (Double Aught Software).

The End was also written on this day!

But it was just the beginning.

If you reach the end you will find Matt Soell's reference to Greg Egan's "Luminous". A short story, first published in Asimov's Science Fiction magazine in September 1995 (Vol. 19 No. 10), which dealt with the theme of how mathematics can reshape reality.

Those with a curious mind will track this one down and be... illuminated.


In Greg Egan's story, "Luminous" is the name of a supercomputer. It might be this one.

The future... is coming.

The future... is here.


Saturday September 16, 2023    



The most realistic rendition of Mjolnir Recon number 54... EVER!


Greg Kirkpatrick summed up the weight of gear our cyborg security officer carries in a comp.sys.mac.games.action post on November 15, 1995:
"Ok, add up the amount of ammo that the dude is carrying in terms of kilos.

Those clips are 25mm, each weighing about 10kg.The dude can also carry 50 pistol clips lots of other stuff.

If you were carrying 500kg of ammo and weapons and somebody asked you to turn around as you were being clocked, what would you do?"
But I digress.

Marathon is... Big In Japan.

Marathon Infinity was announced in Tokyo, Japan and Bungie's Marathon Infinity launch party in Tokyo was HUGE!


Jonas Eneroth with the Bungie Booth Babes and that famous black vinyl Marathon Infinity jacket!

The Japanese version of Marathon Infinity came with its own Strategy Guide by Michio Hashimoto (aka MIHA)



Based on the same format as the Marathon Strategy Guide it contained a full walkthrough of each level and details on the story. What happens in Marathon Infinity? Part of the translated text on the cover reads:
This will surely solve the mystery!
The book also came with a CD of exclusive content.



Marathon is... Big In Japan.

No surprise then that Sony bought Bungie and Bungie annouce their new game... Marathon.

Today's news was sponsored by Marathon's Story page (Toyko, Japan).



Friday September 15, 2023    



And now back to Marathon...

Below is a very nice sequence of excellently executed Marathon-inspired panels by Ivan Martinez, a concept artist from Garden City, Kansas, USA.




Here's another example of Ivan's Marathon-inspired artwork.


Check out Ivan Martinez's work on his ArtStation page.

RUNЯ fanny hip packs in neon yellow and bitter lime. Coming SOON™ to a Bungie Store near you. Makeup not included. Run with pride.



Thursday September 14, 2023    



This is the time line that I am going to give to him.
Volker Von Müller.  The Lost Network Packets.  Bungie Software.  September 27, 1995.

Happy Volker Von Müller Day.

On this day 778 years from now Volker Von Müller will correct the Marathon timeline.
<Date 2801.9.14.06.01>
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.
It also confused us.

His journal will also give us an insight into the battle to save the Marathon from another perspective.
<Date 2794.7.26.00.41>
Thank god that the MADDs came on line.

Counterattack (unused version) by Jay Faircloth


On the Pfhor ship Volker Von Müller was spared the unreliable Pfhor stasis chambers.


Chamber by Craig Mullins.

<Date 2801.9.14.06.01>
That goddamn computer. It took him seven years just to let me use a terminal. All of his messages came stamped onto my food packets. My protein bars told for an entire year "You need time to calm down."


Happy Volker Von Müller Day.


Wednesday September 13, 2023    



Who... am I?

Who am I, really?

That's the question that every protagonist needs to answer by the end of their story.

If your hero hasn't reached some sort of cathartic realization about who they are or what they believe in by the last page, then I'm sorry to inform you, ladies and gents, you have failed your reader.

The road you construct for your characters to travel along, it shouldn't be paved, shouldn't be easy.

Because finding out who you are never is.

Wise words.

The words are from the 2022 movie The Infernal Machine, written and directed by Andrew Hunt and staring Guy Pearce.


The Infernal Machine movie poster.

The words could equally apply to the Marathon Trilogy.

Indeed one film reviewer (Leslie Felperin) for The Guardian (UK newspaper) wrote:
"What starts out looking like a low-energy psychological mystery gradually starts building up a forceful head of steam and powers its way into loopy, metaphysical territory by the end."
That last part pretty much sums up Marathon Infinity.

This movie isn't for everyone but if you are reading this then de facto  you are not everyone.

If you want Die Hard in space then watch Guy Pearce's film Lockout.

If you want a film that makes you think and ask "WTF is going on?" then this one is for you.


Who... am I?

Who am I, really?


Flowers in heaven by Rythaze (September 8, 2023).


Tuesday September 12, 2023    



Jeoku continues his in-depth playthrough of Marathon with the Reginald Dujour (with cleaning up by Greg Kirkpatrick & Jason Jones) level Eupfhoria,  the sixth level of the Pfhor Chapter.

Sources in the video include:

Before Eupfhoria there was Euphforia. At least this mispelling of Pfhor got fixed.

Twenty-five years on... Bungie are still misspelling it


Marathon's 25th anniversary t-shirt (aka GOLIATH). November 28, 2019.

Christopher Barrett (Game Director for Marathon) would later admit on Marathon Discord (May 30, 2023):
"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."
We all know who to blame for this mistake as the only person to work at Bungie in 1994 and in 2019 was... The Janitor!

Another interesting thing about the level name Eupfhoria is that it was changed before release. In the Marathon map file the name was originally longer Eupfhoria|en|, ending in en.

This would suggest that it had been called Unpfhorgiven but then stuff got changed around.

The level names in the Pfhor chapter went though a number of changes as evident in the Marathon map file listing.
Pfhor Your Eyes Only...|
No Artificial Colors|
Unpfhorgiven|e pfhor this...|
Two Times Two Equals...|.|or|
Beware of Low-Flying Defense Drones...|
Eupfhoria|en|
Pfhoraphobia|
Ain't Got Time Pfhor This...|
You can read more about these changes in The Pfhor Egg section.


Monday September 11, 2023    



For all the new folks out there playing Marathon for the first time and the old ones who 4GET... remember... Rule #1


Pfhorgive And Pfhorget by TychoVII. December 2007

Mention the word "beserk" to a Bungie fan from the late 1990s and they are most likely to think of "big-busted Amazons". Back in 1999 the Letters to Bungie WebMaster contained this amusing letter and famous riposte.
Where are the women in Myth II? Is there a possibility of an update with big busted Amazons to counter balance the Beserks? (Sorry, Since I started playing, I haven't seen any real women, so please put some in your games).

PFogg1875@aol.com
Okay. You know what? Screw it. The nice guy approach is very obviously not what is needed here. This is what happens when you make a game that only requires one hand to play. Obviously I have been away far too long.

To answer your question: we will not be adding big-busted Amazons to the game. You got the wrong impression when you heard Myth takes place in a fantasy world. And believe me, if we had the power to put your fantasy world in a box, we'd handle it with rubber gloves and fire it into the sun at the first opportunity.
So was born the seventh step in Bungie's soon to be unveiled 7-Step World Domination Plan.

But I digress.

Thanks to Jason Jones we have 'beserking' in Marathon. The Official Strategy Guide provides this advice on beserking.
Beserking a monster is a bit tricky to do and works on only a few select species. It involves shooting an alien a number of times until he reaches breaking point and literally goes berserk. When an alien is berserk, he will try to kill anything in his path, including aliens of his own kind.
Aliens can also accidentally berserk each other through friendly fire.

The Official Strategy Guide goes on to say:
To practice beserking monsters, try it on the first level of Marathon by firing at one of the Purple Fighters.


Original game play footage.


Postscript.

Before someone writes in saying that Green Fighters don't berserk. I know... call it artistic license. Everyone else does.

Before someone writes in asking about the "Amazon Babes" patch for Marathon mentioned by Matt Soell (Bungie Software)... this is a family-friendly site. We don't do that type of thing!


Sunday September 10, 2023    



This piece of artwork on ArtStation caught my eye.


It's by Dede Fox (Devia Wahyu) a freelance illustrator from Indonesia. Something about the picture made me think Marathon. Maybe it was the red hair.

Then I saw the "Final Artwork with Title" picture.


This piece of artwork had been commissioned for a sci-fi novel "Battle on the Marathon" by John Thornton. In truth it doesn't actually say Marathon on the cover it says...

ɅRTHON


The 300 Spartans (1962)

John Thornton has been writing books (34 to date) in his Colony Ship Universe series since 2013. He described his inspiration as follows:
"I guess I was inspired by many works in sci-fi which cover the idea of colony ships. Damon Knight's "The World and Thorinn" and Robert Heinlein's "Orphans of the Sky" showed me how bizarre and interesting a generational space ship environment could be and how so much could go horribly wrong. Those books, and many others in that same genre, have given me hours of pleasure in reading. There also have been board games and video games which cover similar situations. There are so many variations on the lost colony ship theme it almost seems like a trope. So, now I have added my own contributions to this genre of adventure fiction."
Regarding his book "The Battle on the Marathon" (published in April 2017) he wrote:
"One of my books is somewhat different. Hey, some people will say all my books are different, and I think they do not mean that in a good way. Well anyway, "The Battle on the Marathon" is written in first person. That book is stand-alone work, and while it is in the same universe as the other works, is not as directly connected as are the other series. Or is it? Well, check it out and let me know."
The book's description is as follows:
The Colony Ship Marathon left a dying Earth on a generations long voyage to another planet. Inside its giant biomes were people who would spend their entire lives during that flight. They knew that their descendants would be the people who would arrive at the destination world. Life in those biomes was as close to life on Earth as possible, including ecologies, plants, animals, and families. In its own way, those biomes were idyllic. Additionally, tens of thousands of people would make the journey in suspended animation to be awakened on the destination planet.

During the long journey, something went wrong. Something else was on the Marathon.
Marathon In Distress Again.

You have to read the book to find out what happens.


Saturday September 9, 2023    



Back in March 17, 2023 we featured a piece of Marathon art by José Connolly, an artist from Venezuela.

José has recently completed another piece which combines both old and new Marathon elements. Check out the little details in the pic below.


The artwork was created in collaboration with Rythaze for MandaloreGaming's Myth 2: Soulblighter Review video! You can see it in the video at 39 minutes 13 seconds.

He also did a Myth/Marathon-related piece for Mandalore's video. Check out his ArtStation page for details. Prints of his work are available for purchase.

The above Marathon piece is reminiscent of Destiny's Exo concept art by Jaime Jones.


The image was first revealed during Bungie's Destiny Panel at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) on March 28, 2013. Joseph Staten described the character as a member of the Exo race ("Sinister, Powerful, Tireless war machines"). Christopher Barrett added that the Exo was "slumped against the wall after some battle."

A larger version of the concept art was later made available for sale as a numbered and signed framed piece, entitled 'Back from the Wild'.


The sales description read:
Back from the Wild is one of the many concept art created during the development of Destiny to help the team envision what that new world could look like, to establish the desired overall tone of "Mythic Science Fiction," and to lay down the foundations that depict a hopeful and inviting place that players would love to return to again and again.
The battle weary look of the Exo is reminiscent of the Craig Mullins chapter screen from Marathon Infinity.


(circumstances are cyclical)


Friday September 8, 2023    



I came across this official Marathon 2 screenshot in an old Bungie press pack from the 90s.


It is a little known official screenshot as it did not feature on Bungie's website or packaging.

It was just there amongst the 'usual suspects', you know... the seven official screenshots you've seen time and time again.





How did this 8th one just slip in?

It was called Sneak Attack/Net.pict. Back in the day Bungie would give funny names to their official screenshots. You know... like...
Intergalactic Flashers
I'm The NRA
Get Out of the Pool
Worst Case Scenario
Welcome to Sunny Lh'owon
The Best Form Of Exercise
Nice Shot

I'll let you match the names to the above seven screenshots.

But back to that mysterious 8th screenshot.

Like all of Bungie's official screenshots there are some odd things about it.

I am sure you can spot them.


Thursday September 7, 2023    



Back in August 21, 2023 we featured part of Lamb's (aka Lambdafallout12) comic adaptation of the story in the MIDA Mini-Tool lore tab.


Original version.

Well here is the final panel in Lamb's comic adaptation.

"...Wonder if the gun heard me when I asked to go somewhere better. Wonder why it led me here. Going to follow its compass tonight. Down below."


MIDA Survior: The Vexing variable by Lamb. (June 16, 2021).
Lamb adds:
"Fun fact I have no idea how to draw vex partials."



Marathon.  Tau Ceti IV.  Prime Artifact.  Do not touch!


It's unclear if Lamb ever did a panel(s) for the middle part of the lore tab about Bernhard Strauss.
"I've been reading the gun's Encyclopedia Arcana. All about the crash that became Strauss's obsession and hope. "Metastability in the salvaged construct!" Ha ha! Let's hope our ideals too can pass through grief, fury, and envy into a new freedom elsewhere."

Come to think about... what does Dr. Bernhard Strauss look like?

General-RADIX took a stab at it in his own distinctive style.


Dr Bernhard Strauss by General-RADIX. (May 31, 2016)

He wrote:
"What the UESC never seemed to understand, and what I could never tell them, was that Strauss was not on their side. He didn't lend them his talent for computational engineering out of goodwill; it was all to get his real allies back on track somehow. Mars or Tau Ceti; didn't matter which."
-
So, uh, am I the first person to draw Bernhard Strauss?
My theory, as I've mentioned elsewhere, is that he was an agent of MIDA; that's another agent behind him, one of the many who would seek out "volunteers" for their effort in the Third Martian War. I took a fair bit of influence from Brian Horton's "Tiny Secrets" (The Art of X-Files, 1998).


Wednesday September 6, 2023    



The full game landed like a well-thrown grenade on store shelves on September 6, 1996.
Bungie.  Marathon 2: Durandal for Windows 95 released.  www.bungie.com  September 1996.

Happy TBWSAF Day!

Yes folks, on this day 27 years ago Bungie released Marathon 2: Durandal for Windows 95.

Unlike the Macintosh version it came in the traditional rectangular PC game box.


What was Jason Jones looking for? Click to find out.


Matt Soell (Bungie Software) explained Bungie's decision to port Marathon 2 to Windows 95.
"We did the port for a number of different reasons. Suffice it to say that we have big things in the works, and there's no point in limiting ourselves to any one platform. Great things are afoot at Bungie HQ, and the only difference between Bungie in 1995 and Bungie in 1996 is that Mac users won't be the only ones to enjoy the fruits of our labor. It's a business decision, a logical next step for a company in our position. Loyalty to a particular brand of computer has nothing to do with it."
The rest, as they say, is history.

What if I told you...

The acronym TBWSAF does not appear on the botton of the Marathon 2: Durandal for Windows 95 box.

The acronym was reserved for another box. A special box released 5 weeks later.



Only then will you realize the tru7h.

Today is not TBWSAF day.

Today is New Bungie Day!

Welcome to the future, TBWSAF!


Hey!   What does TBWSAF mean?


Tuesday September 5, 2023    



In true Marathon Infinity fashion the Marathon ARG timeline is FUBAR. Future events are being revealed before their time. We need to go back and fix it or find another path.

This is what happens when your Marathon Announcement After Party is HUGE! You wake up the next day wondering where's your roof and things go rapidly downhill from there.


Bungie's event banner. Retired...

You know the drill!

Click the puzzle boxes icon.
Open the Traxus Wine Box.
And follow the White Rabbit down.





Monday September 4, 2023    



The Doug Zartman interview by Jeoku.



Doug's LinkedIn page provides a nice overview of his career to date.
I started my videogame career as the PR Director of Bungie Software in 1994. Community management wasn't really a thing back then, but I was the de facto manager of a fiercely loyal fanbase. (Not everyone knows that Bungie had several hit games before Halo). After the Xbox acquisition I did franchise development for a few years, making novels and merch, then moved to game design with the founding of Wideload games.

I did level design, systems design, copy-writing and other things for Stubbs the Zombie and other games, then wrote a 1-page concept which became the game Guilty Party, for which Disney acquired Wideload. When Wideload closed, I spent time as a mission designer for a Facebook city-builder, then as designer and QA for Hit it Rich Casino at Zynga.

Following a brief period making an indie prototype, my career came full circle when I became first Social Media Manager, then Community Manager for Industrial Toys making Battlefield Mobile. Now I am the Community Manager of The Fourth Curtain podcast, a collection of stories from videogame Legends.

Doug's credit terminal in Marathon (1994)
Doug, Mouthpiece, "I'm not very good", Tender Loin, the voice
of Bob (both flavors).  The man in the on-line asbestos suit.

Doug's credit terminal in Marathon 2: Durandal (1995)
Some people don't realize that I provided
not only the voices and screams for the
Bobs, but also modeled for the artists as
they were working on the assimilated ones.
Like them, I have two toes, red eyes,
snaggle teeth and no genitals.

I was a little shy about it at first (you
can imagine the jokes!), but it's all a
part of the Bungie spirit of going all out
to satisfy the customer.

So, next time you're at a convention with
us, instead of asking me to do Bob's
flaming death scream for the umpteeth time,
ask to see my..... eyes. We'll all have a
good laugh.

Doug.

Doug doesn't have any eyes.


Reflection of Self. Doug Zartman portrait.


For more information on Doug Zartman check out.


Sunday September 3, 2023    



Everything is not as it seems{}. seems{}. seems{}.
Leela.  Marathon.  Shake Before Using... (Terminal 1).  December 21, 1994.

One of these is not like the other.




What if I told you... everything you know to be true is wrong.

The Runner you see is not the Runner who is shot!


Saturday September 2, 2023    



WE BUILD HOMES D


Marathon concept living by Nathan Gillner (2023).

Marathon offers modern yet timeless sophistication.

We help people build a home with purpose.


 
Marathon by Bauhaus (AI)


In the 1990s Marathon players lived like...


Marathon concept living by Bungie (1996).


Don't be like your father.

"sic itur ad astra"   (Virgil's Aeneid)


Today news was sponsored by Zoomer Nation (aka Z Nation).


Friday September 1, 2023    





Bungie Aerospace Corporation writes:
Dear 819

We Will Look For You, We Will Find You, And We Will...
On wait! That's the wrong email.

This one is about the Marathon t-shirts:
"Good news! Your order is now en route to our Iowa Distribution Center and is expected to arrive in September 202X for fulfillment."
See what they did there?

The usual caveats apply...
"Please note that this schedule is subject to change pending unforeseen shipping circumstances and global supply chain disruptions."
aka... we take the wrong route/pirates and/or alien invasion.

You can see the route that the Marathon t-shirts are taking on this handy ASTRONAV thingie.


Front of the Marathon 25th Anniversary t-shirt (aka GOLIATH). December 2019.


It is clear that the CRIST (Deimos) transporting the t-shirts is taking the longer (Marathon) route from Tau Ceti IV to Earth which explains the delay.

So now you know... the Tru7h.

But... What's in the Bag?



Go to What's New for August 2023
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Page maintained by Hamish Sinclair Hamish.Sinclair123@gmail.com
Last updated Sept 30, 2023