After school, once a week, a handful of us would stay late and gather in the Mac lab. We had an agreement with the lab supervisor, and we intended to invoke it to the fullest degree possible.
We shut down At Ease, Apple’s woefully simplistic security software, and loaded up what we were after. Performas and PhoneNet connectors linked us together as we shut off the lights (yes, at 3 in the afternoon), pulled the blinds, and locked the door.
Even the locked door wasn’t enough to keep the noise in as we joyfully slaughtered each other in Marathon.
I was sitting at home, following the news coming in from Macworld San Francisco, when the bomb dropped: Bungie bought out by Microsoft. Halo in jeopardy.
What happened next in the Mac gaming community can only be described as an epic meltdown.
In the midst of all of this, I IMed my tele-boss, Ian Lynch Smith of [Freeverse](http://www.freeverse.com/). We were both in a mild state of shock.
Curiosity struck. I asked, with the innocence only an intern can muster: “So if Microsoft ever came to you and offered you a bunch of money, would you take it?”
I cannot remember the exact response, but essentially: “In a heartbeat.”
It would be my final few months at Freeverse, although I didn’t know it at the time. After months of cranking on a few titles, we needed some sort of relief.
I quickly went on a search for a network game that could meet three criteria:
– Free to play.
– We were all familiar with it.
– Maximum fun in minimum time.
It did not take long to land on [Aleph One](http://source.bungie.org/), the open source version of Marathon. A lunchtime ritual was born.
Freeverse has [dropped the “Software” from their name](http://news.freeverse.com/archives/001228.php), and announced they’re [porting Marathon 2 to XBLA.](http://freeverse.com/games/game/?id=7009)
I’ve been blessed with glimpses into the development of this project during my occasional visits to the old office. I’m no stranger to game development, but this was distinctly odd.
If you’ve never identified yourself as a “Mac gamer” (the phrase remains laughable), it may seem so odd to identify one game with an open-ended platform. But as Mario defined the NES, Halo defined the Xbox, and GTA defined the Playstation 2, the Marathon series *was* Mac gaming. To watch a game you have so many memories of re-evolve and re-emerge over a series of months is more than slightly surreal.
But the last time I stopped into the office, I got to play a few rounds on the LAN. I cannot describe to you how gratifying it is to get to revisit a series that brought me such joy when I was younger, and a game that’s been a thread in the weaving of my life for the last 15 years.
Marathon: Durandal is due out in the near future.
Links for further, non-anecdotal info:
* [Freeverse M:D Page](http://www.freeverse.com/games/game/?id=7009)
* [Freeverse M:D Trailer](http://www.freeverse.com/games/game/vplayer.php?id=7009)
* [Microsoft M:D Page](http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/m/marathondurandalxboxlivearcade/)
* [Masses of Screenshots + Info](http://nikon.bungie.org/misc/xbla_marathon/)