Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Bungie Studios is a video game developer founded in 1991 under the name Bungie Software by two undergraduate students at the University of Chicago, Alex Seropian and Jason Jones . For much of the 1990s they developed a series of increasingly technically detailed first person shooter (FPS) games for the Macintosh, the most famous being the Marathon series, following this with the acclaimed Myth tactical-combat series for both the Mac and Windows. Bungie games were particularly well-loved by players due to their complex backstories which often left more unanswered than revealed.
In 1999 they announced their next product was a return to the FPS genre, with a world-beating physics and AI system, to be known as Halo. While Halo was featured in the MacWorld 2000 (after a closed-door screening at MacWorld in 1999) keynote address by then-interim-CEO Steve Jobs, plans were to release at the same time on both the Mac and Windows. On June 19, 2000, however, Microsoft announced that they had acquired Bungie Software and that Bungie would become a part of the Microsoft Game Division (subsequently renamed Microsoft Game Studios) under the name Bungie Studios. The original versions were soon delayed and the game was re-purposed for the Xbox, with the Mac and Windows versions only shipping two years later when it was no longer the renowned product it would have been in late 2000. The Xbox version of Halo received the Game of the Year and Console Game of the Year awards for 2002 from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, is known as a system seller and as of 2004 is still a videogame bestseller. Halo: Combat Evolved has been one of the most critically acclaimed games over the last three years, and its sequel Halo 2 has been called the 'most anticipated game of all time' by IGN Xbox.
The company began life in a dormitory on the University of Chicago, and subsequently moved off-campus to real offices in Chicago, Illinois. After Microsoft's acquisition, they moved into the Microsoft Campus at Redmond, Washington.
While not directly behind the program, Bungie oversaw and 'signed off' on the Haunted Apiary puzzle, named after the address of the 'hacked' bee-keeping website around which the game revolves briefly appeared in the Halo 2 theatrical trailer. They provided the Haunted Apiary designers with the "Halo Bible", allowing the story to fit to Bungie's specifics.
Bungie, like many production companies, puts references to older games in newer games. Unlike others, many of these references hint or imply that a great deal of Bungie's games operate in similar or identical universes. Most well known of this is the connection between the Marathon universe and the Halo universe, which share a great deal of similar names and themes.
While most believed that Bungie would never add a direct connection between these two games (just as they did not for Marathon and Pathways Into Darkness), its interesting to note that the Haunted Apiary puzzle seems to have added a substantial connection between the Marathon universe and the Halo universe: Rampancy can happen to AIs in both universes. However, Bungie later stated that the Haunted Apiary was not directly writted by them, although it was written using the Halo Story Bible, and its status as canon is still in question.
Another interesting fact about Bungie is their use of the number seven. Many of these are more obvious than others, including 343 Guilty Spark (7 x 7 x 7 = 343), 2401 Penitent Tangent (2+4+0+1=7 or 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 = 2401) Pfhor Battle Group 7, and their official fan club, the 7th Column, but some of these are amusingly subtle: the Marathon colony ship was a hollowed out Deimos - first discovered in 1877 and first photographed in 1977. Also the fact that, in the Halo universe, there are seven Halos, scattered throughout the Milky Way galaxy.
Bungie as a company has developed its own complex and diverse mythology in addition to that in their games. Several of these include their 7-Step Plan for World Domination, the snack food Tijuana Mama (Containing "Mechanically separated chicken, pork hearts, and protein concentrate", and "300% Hotter!"), the decapitated head of a dog named Ling-Ling (Step Five in the World Domination plan), the entity that resides in their server named Disembodied Soul, the chronically drunk and aggressive webmaster of Bungie.net (Known for dressing as a gorilla with a floppy yellow cowboy hat, as well as disappearing for months on "HTML research missions" and answering the E-Mails of grammatically impaired fans), a cheap absorbent toy fish called the Soffish, and The Cup, the prize at the Bungie Winter Pentathlon (A tradition has emerged that the losing team, out of envy, steals the cup rather than let the winning team touch it. In fact, several Bungie employees doubt the actual existence of The Cup, as it has been stolen and hidden so many times they have never laid eyes on it).
- Gnop! (1990)
- Operation Desert Storm (1991)
- Minotaur: The Labyrinths of Crete (1992)
- Pathways Into Darkness (1993)
- Marathon (1994)
- Marathon 2: Durandal (1995)
- Marathon Infinity (1996)
- Abuse (Mac port) (1996) (originally developed by Crack dot Com )
- Myth: The Fallen Lords (1997)
- Myth II: Soulblighter (1998)
- Oni (2001)
- Halo: Combat Evolved (2001)
- Pimps At Sea (2002) (not a real game)
- Halo 2 (2004)
- Official homepage
- Official Halo 2 Stats page
- Bungie's multiplayer-gaming portal
- Unofficial Bungie fan site
- Halo tricks website
- Aleph One website
- Marathon 2 under the GPL
- Bungie bought by Microsoft
- Microsoft to Acquire Bungie Software press release
- Microsoft unhappy with Bungie's use of Linux on servers
- Source code for Myth 2's server released
- Download the Marathon Trilogy for free, with Bungie's blessings.
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