A lot of gamers don't know that before there was Halo, there was Marathon. The series, which Bungie created for the Mac almost 20 years ago, has finally made its way over to iOS, but not in exactly the manner you would expect. This is the tale of a labor of love, and a major studio being really cool with one of their properties.
Daniel Blezek was one fan of Marathon who really wanted to see the game come to iOS. Bungie couldn't take time out of their busy schedule to port such an old game to a new device, so Daniel asked if he could do it himself. Bungie gave its blessing and in his free time, between raising 5 kids and working full time as programmer, Daniel managed to recreate not only all 27 levels of the original Marathon, but also port over the entirety of Marathon 2. He even built in a super-special "Master Chief Mode," because he's just that swell of a guy.
Daniel may also be crazy, because he's giving away both Marathon games for free. Just hop on the App Store and download them and they're yours for absolutely nada. So why not grab a copy and support a passionate fan who just wants to share the thing he loves with the rest of us?
The Nike+ GPS app is not only one of my favorite running partners, but its predecessor Nike+ was crucial in getting me across the finish line of my first marathon. For first-time and veteran runners, Nike+ GPS is a great addition to their workout as it features a simple interface, tracks all the good stuff such as calories, distance and pace as well as includes various half and full marathon training guides on its companion site.
As for my first 26.2 mile adventure, I finished the 2007 Chicago Marathon with a heat index of 92 degrees and the only thing that got me through to the finish line was my playlist and my running tracker, the original Nike+ that had the sensor in the shoe and one connected to my now old school iPod Nano.
These days, I use the Nike+ GPS app and if I pull the app dashboard up it has a total of 801.2 miles, 9'43" average pace, 129:43:19 duration, 110,245 calories burned in a total of 226 runs. That doesn't include a lot of the other runs I have on other apps or 2007-2008, but still shows how much I've used it. I also finished the Phoenix Marathon in 2010.
Why I choose to use the Nike+ GPS app is mainly due to being able to get slaps on the back by famous athletes such as Lance Armstrong and others via the in-app feedback function. I remember way back in the day when I ran my fastest mile and Lance came over my headphones and said congratulations. I was hooked.
A few updates later and now it features a slew of other voices as well as one of the coolest features I've seen in an app: the ability to challenge friends. My nephew (who is in the Air Force) and I use it quite a bit. Even better, it offers a blind challenge option where the challenger can create the challenge with or without the other person being able to see how far or fast the other person ran.
The reason why Nike+ GPS is a great marathon training partner is that it is very easy to track weekly runs, check that my pace was on track during and after my runs as well as set goals for myself be it running farther, longer or fast. And again, the elite athletes giving a verbal pat on the back is pretty sweet. Pair the app with its companion site Nike+ and the runner can also take advantage of training programs for 5K, half marathon and full marathon among others.
The app and the site are an essential part of my running training schedule. I give all credit to it for the two marathons and half marathons I've run and continue to use it to challenge my nephew on a regular basis. I highly recommend it as a running partner and or coach.
For those of you that are not familiar, the date July 7th every year holds quite a bit of significance in the eyes of game developer Bungie. Celebrated by fans every year as "Bungie Day" it is a time when the studio takes time to look back on the legacy of their work and provide special surprises for their diehard supporters.
This year they decided to do something different, and support a fan-initiated initiative to bring the Mac classic Marathon to the iPad. Developed completely by hardcore enthusiasts of the original game, Bungie awarded their diligence by publishing the game personally and throwing all of their support behind it.
The base game, which contains the entirety of the single player campaign is completely free. Available as in-app purchases to augment the experience, you can also choose to add in a $3.99 high definition texture pack, or a $0.99 God mode, aptly named "Master Chief" mode. Give this classic game another look on your iPad. I can personally guarantee that this will be one that everyone can enjoy.
When it comes to companies with a huge amount of influence in the game design space, it is hard to argue that Bungie isn't among the frontrunners. Having successfully birthed both the Marathon and Halo franchises, they also draw one of the largest fan followings in the entire industry. After recently breaking ties from the Microsoft fold and signing a ten year contract with Activision to create a groundbreaking new game universe, it was assumed that they would be setting their sights on creating a new console franchise. While this assumption may still be true, it seems like they may also have more ambitious, and dare we say portable plans.
Using the moniker of Bungie Aerospace, the name of Bungie's business entity post-Microsoft, recently filed a trademark for the name "Crimson." As bland as the name may seem, this may be pointing towards the company finally making strides into the iOS space. The official filing description reads as follows:
"Computer game software downloadable from a global computer network; Computer game software for use on mobile and cellular phones; Downloadable computer game software via a global computer network and wireless devices" -- VIA USPTO Filing
Though I would hate to be the one to jump to conclusions too early, the wording above seems pretty definitive in stating Bungie's intentions to at least breach the portable gaming front in some way, shape, or form. It is hard to say whether this might be in the form of a full game, stat monitoring, or even a pre-release ARG, but one thing is for sure, this should be exciting news to all iOS gamers. Lets just hope that they can continue their hot streak of amazing game worlds, because I can't wait to see what they have up their sleeves next!