How the Old Marathon Games Influenced Gaming

Bungie, the studio behind the iconic Halo and Destiny franchises, has recently announced a new game that will take players back to one of its earliest and most influential sci-fi worlds: Marathon. Marathon is a revival of the first-person shooter series that Bungie debuted in 1994 on the Apple Macintosh. This paved the way for many of the studio’s signature gameplay and storytelling elements. The game is being revived as a PvPvE extraction shooter, which is a departure from its single player roots. A lot of people don’t realize how innovative Marathon was at release. So I wanted to take the time to account for all the things, that we now take for granted in our games, but were first introduced in Marathon.


Bungie’s Marathon Could Shape the Future of Online PvP Shooters

Free Mouse Aim

Marathon was one of the first games to allow the player to look around freely with the mouse. This feature is now standard in almost every first-person shooter game. Marathon also introduced vertical aiming, which was rare at the time. This enabled the player to shoot enemies on different heights and slopes. Before Marathon, most games used the keyboard to control the camera, which was clunky. Marathon introduced a more intuitive way of exploring the 3D environment and aiming at enemies.

AI Characters

Marathon was also one of the first games to feature friendly AI characters. These characters could assist or hinder the player during combat.  Throughout the game, such as Leela, an AI that guides and helps the player; Durandal, another AI that has gone rogue and has its own agenda. These Characters formed the basis for the relationship between Masterchief and Cortana in Bungies Halo.

Environmental Storytelling

Environment storytelling now a staple of the infamous Soulsborne genre was first incorporated into its narrative by Marathon. Rather than relying on cutscenes or voice-overs. The player could access computer terminals throughout the levels, which provided information about the ship, the aliens, and the plot. The terminals also allowed the player to communicate with three artificial intelligences that controlled different aspects of the ship: Leela, Durandal, and Tycho. These AIs had distinct personalities and agendas, and often provided hints, clues, or sarcastic comments to the player.

Online Multiplayer

Alongside its main single player story, Marathon also featured a multiplayer deathmatch mode that can accommodate eight players at a time. This was also one of Marathons most anticipated feature. It had maps specifically designed and balanced around multiplayer matches. Its multiplayer won Marathon the Macworld Game Hall of Fame Award for the best network game of 1995

Marathons influence on gaming is undeniable, this series brought us the modern image of the first-person shooter. In 2012, it was named as one of the best video games ever released. I for one, cannot argue with that assessment. Bungie can hopefully bring a similar innovation to the growing extraction shooter genre with this series’ reboot

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out more content on Poggers Memes. You can check out how Overwatch Genesis could start an extended cinematic universe!

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