Skip

Janey Thomson's Marathon.
July 17, 2009 11:33 AM   Subscribe

Janey Thomson's Marathon Any longtime fan of 80s arcade game Track & Field and fan of old gaming lore around Desert Bus will no doubt fall in love with this new classic game written in the perfect style of early 80s Konami combined with brutally long punishment games. I gave up after a few minutes but damn did I want to keep going and see the finish. [via mefi projects]
posted by mathowie (56 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
As soon as I saw "To Go: 26 Miles" I fell in love.

and stopped playing
posted by davejay at 11:38 AM on July 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


also the delorean in the parking lot is an excellent touch
posted by davejay at 11:40 AM on July 17, 2009


The game is so brutal I propose the one mile challenge. I hit 1 mile around 4:46 or so (hard to tell because the display switched to distance left to go just before I hit 1750 yards).

I was mostly in the pink zone, but barely touched the white zone at the top of the speed meter. I wonder if it's possible to go under 4min on a mile?

also, after just five minutes, my wrists feel horrible and I quit
posted by mathowie at 11:41 AM on July 17, 2009


OUCH!
posted by Hutch at 11:42 AM on July 17, 2009


That boss battle at the end is crazy!
(Okay, so, I could handle it for about a minute and a half.)
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 11:47 AM on July 17, 2009


At least this time it'll only be RSIs everywhere instead of kids passing out from exhaustion. (Quit after the man in the sky scared me.)
posted by carsonb at 11:53 AM on July 17, 2009




OK, so the shtick is sort of Desert Bus annoying, but I loved the bootup sequence and the fuzzy CRT graphics and all the rest of it. Very true to how I remember arcades in the early 80s.
posted by the dief at 11:57 AM on July 17, 2009


I hit a mile at 4:20. I think that the top end of the meter is set at 4:00 mile, so its probably close to impossible to get 4:00. I was in the white zone for most of the time.
posted by wayofthedodo at 11:59 AM on July 17, 2009


If you have trouble hitting the white zone, even with a perfectly steady rhythm, it may be due to slowdowns - although the game logic is frame-rate-independent, if it slows too much then multiple keypresses trigger on the same frame more often than they should and harm the speed. Safari on my Mac doesn't cope at all well with the ads etc. on the page jostling for a bit of CPU time, whereas Firefox is fine.
(The CRT effect is a horrible processor hog, but I couldn't resist it)
posted by malevolent at 12:10 PM on July 17, 2009


If only my keyboad was arranged so that I could put my comb or a pencil over my finger ...
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 12:17 PM on July 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


I set up a script to do it, but it doesn't recognize extremely rapid presses. Aww.
posted by LSK at 12:18 PM on July 17, 2009


Awesome! It looks and sounds like a Lynx game. Plus it brings back memories of Decathlon.
posted by Dr-Baa at 12:19 PM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Does it help to use a Goody comb? (too obscure?)
posted by greensweater at 12:20 PM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


lol crash, too slow on preview. You could get hella speeds in Decathalon by putting the Atari joystick against rotating box fan blades. Not too good for the joystick though.
posted by greensweater at 12:22 PM on July 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


You could get hella speeds in Decathalon by putting the Atari joystick against rotating box fan blades.

Once I build my time machine and after killing baby Hitler, I'm going to pass this tip along to my six year old self.
posted by Dr-Baa at 12:26 PM on July 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


I downloaded Butler for Mac OS X just to automate the keystrokes. Now trying to figure out if I can make a macro repeat infinitely.
posted by zippy at 12:34 PM on July 17, 2009


ow. ow. must. keep. running. ow. ow.
posted by JeffK at 12:42 PM on July 17, 2009


The only trophy I ever won was for the Track & Field game in a tournament at my local arcade.
posted by glycolized at 12:51 PM on July 17, 2009


Got to a mile before slowdown annoyed me to the point where I stopped playing. Curse you, Linux Flash!
posted by JHarris at 12:52 PM on July 17, 2009


malevolent, what's the current record for distance?
posted by item at 12:57 PM on July 17, 2009


I don't think I've ever met anyone with a more appropriate username on the internet. You are so evil, malevolent.

Also: I can't wait to try your other tortures.
posted by yiftach at 1:02 PM on July 17, 2009


"malevolent, what's the current record for distance?"
I've done about 7 miles without cheating during testing, I haven't heard of anyone going further yet.

Various landmarks are dotted along the route (many of them appearing only once), so it's possible to show you've travelled a long way by taking screenshots (although that obviously doesn't rule out cheating using controller macros, like I did for long-distance testing).
posted by malevolent at 1:07 PM on July 17, 2009


I made it as far as the movie theater, which is probably less than a mile, before my wrists said stop. This is excellent, but Joan Benoit's going to be pissed.
posted by IanMorr at 1:20 PM on July 17, 2009


Oh, to have had this back in the day! There were a few years that I "trained" on home versions of games in that style every day, specifically so that once or twice a week I could go to the arcade and play for hours on a couple quarters -- the local operator had Track and Field and Hyper Sports both set on "eternal loop mode as long as you keep qualifying" at the time, and quarter-stretching made powerful motivation to abuse it.

No way I could do this now, though I should break out the HotRod arcade joystick when I get home purely for the horror...
posted by Pufferish at 1:24 PM on July 17, 2009


Clearly eponysterical.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 2:23 PM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


This game is brilliant, thanks!
posted by Nelson at 2:46 PM on July 17, 2009


math owie?
posted by ocherdraco at 2:47 PM on July 17, 2009


If only my keyboad was arranged so that I could put my comb or a pencil over my finger ...

Paint stirring stick!
posted by davejay at 3:08 PM on July 17, 2009


2 miles, 357 yards
posted by Night_owl at 3:15 PM on July 17, 2009


There needs to be a Rosie Ruiz mode. Hit the wall after a mile.
posted by Magnus at 4:17 PM on July 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


Awesome. I love the space shuttle flyby.
posted by equalpants at 4:43 PM on July 17, 2009


I started playing, didn't notice that it was a marathon until the track went on a little too long. Then I looked down and saw "26 miles" to go and literally laughed out loud. I quit at the end of the track.
posted by jdfan at 4:46 PM on July 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's interesting how vicious the developer made it. You can stay in the lead if you keep it mostly in the top zone - which is basically your home carpal tunnel kit. There is (just barely) new content up to some point (okay, up to two miles), some of which fairly dull "hey it's the 80's" (Delorean, Space Shuttle landing in the background, billboards and movie Marquees for 80's type stuff) and some of it weird (giant floating head in the sky - first occurrence says something like "Run on, my daughter," second occurrence says "I am dead, but you can win it." My first theory is that there is some slowly-evolving backstory about your running father who died mid-marathon, but I guess it could be a Nietzschean dead God delusion exhorting you from heaven... Otherwise within 2 miles there was basically 2 environments (city, suburban ranch-style development with intermittent mini-strip mall.

So you sort of vaguely wonder how it develops but not enough to keep playing it, and it strikes me as not quite interesting enough that anyone will be likely to dick around with automating it enough to see if anything else develops it. I averaged 5 min a mile working at it reasonably hard, so finishing it would require superhuman endurance (failing someone taking up the charity teamwork model). Maybe we evolved to do the real thing, but nobody was born to this evil sisyphean task. Final dig - if you stop running entirely (say you decided to leave it open, blow off the ranking, and work at it steadily for a few months on the chance of seeing everything... not that I would ever consider such a bizarre obsessive thing, ahem) it ends the game after a minute or so and ditches you back to the start screen.

Reminds me of this, which I actually completed (insomnia is a mother fucker) and of course, 50K Racewalker.
posted by nanojath at 4:47 PM on July 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I started playing, didn't notice that it was a marathon until the track went on a little too long. Then I looked down and saw "26 miles" to go and literally laughed out loud. I quit at the end of the track.

Not sure why I missed the word "Marathon" in the title, but I did the same thing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:15 PM on July 17, 2009


My first theory is that there is some slowly-evolving backstory about your running father who died mid-marathon, but I guess it could be a Nietzschean dead God delusion exhorting you from heaven...

In other words, it's like "Braid", only you're running forwards in time.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:16 PM on July 17, 2009


Superlative.
posted by Damn That Television at 5:52 PM on July 17, 2009


Marathons hurt your feet. Marathon the game hurts your wrists. Why are we complaining again?

(It's also realistic in that I gave up after about 45 seconds. I need to chase a ball or something to maintain interest in running.)
posted by Turkey Glue at 6:26 PM on July 17, 2009


Reminds me of those old Epyx games where you cranked the joystick left and right to run. Talk about abuse.

(And that reminds me of the ice skating event in Winter Games, which we didn't have the manual to, and I never could figure out how to play. Memories...)
posted by smackfu at 8:07 PM on July 17, 2009


Flaming finish to a hot marathon.
posted by hortense at 9:07 PM on July 17, 2009


"...There is (just barely) new content up to some point (okay, up to two miles), some of which fairly dull "hey it's the 80's" ..."
"...My first theory is that there is some slowly-evolving backstory about your running father who died mid-marathon, but I guess it could be a Nietzschean dead God delusion exhorting you from heaven..."
"...not quite interesting enough that anyone will be likely to dick around with automating it..."
"...nobody was born to this evil sisyphean task..."


nanojath, you've given me a fantastic set of review quotes there.
And I never thought I'd see someone use the phrase "Nietzschean dead God delusion" in a review of one of my micro-budget Flash games.
posted by malevolent at 12:45 AM on July 18, 2009


Oh how I remember if you missed the breathing timing in Track and Field's swimming, your dude would go "Gibbert! Gibbert! Gibbert!" I wasn't too sad when Showbiz replaced it with Front Line.

For me the root experience for me was actually Microsoft Decathlon on an Apple II+ (and then Epyx's versions) which was a lot of fun to set up as a side game to Axis & Allies until your friend's parents went to sleep so you could check out Cinemax, amirite?
posted by fleacircus at 2:11 AM on July 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I did 3 miles before realising how stupid it was to continue..
posted by salmacis at 7:47 AM on July 18, 2009


Spoiler: Here's the winning screen.
posted by waxpancake at 11:09 AM on July 18, 2009


What a payoff screen!!
posted by Senator at 11:48 AM on July 18, 2009


Nice. Was that "congratulation" inspired by the end of 1942? (Are there other games that say that? I guess there probably are...)
posted by equalpants at 5:41 PM on July 18, 2009


After playing through a gruelling almost 5 miles I have to amend that actually, the "it's the 80's" content is slightly skewed (example, movie headlines for "Ricky I, II and III") which is pretty funny.

Also, with regards to my comment

"...not quite interesting enough that anyone will be likely to dick around with automating it..."

I missed these -

I set up a script to do it, but it doesn't recognize extremely rapid presses. Aww.
posted by LSK at 2:18 PM on July 17 [+] [!]


and

I downloaded Butler for Mac OS X just to automate the keystrokes. Now trying to figure out if I can make a macro repeat infinitely.
posted by zippy at 2:34 PM on July 17 [+] [!]


I have clearly misunderestimated the tenacity and ingenuity of my fellows. malevolent, I declare you to be an evil genius well deserving of your cruel handle.
posted by nanojath at 9:11 PM on July 18, 2009


(also, I apparently have problems with closing parentheses
posted by nanojath at 9:12 PM on July 18, 2009


2:19.54

There's a couple moments in the race that are very noteworthy: a "fake" graphic glitch in the mid-course (a brief bit of inverted stadium graphic, very appropriate and amusing), and an alien spaceship beaming up a cow about 2 miles from the end.

I am so never doing that again.
posted by Pufferish at 12:22 AM on July 19, 2009


"Was that "congratulation" inspired by the end of 1942?"
Not consciously, but after a bit of googling it seems several games featured it and it's a bit of an NES/coin-op meme, so maybe I was aware of that at some level.

"I am so never doing that again."
If you didn't cheat with a keyboard macro then you deserve a real medal. I'm not sure I'll ever manage it.
posted by malevolent at 6:48 AM on July 19, 2009


If you didn't cheat with a keyboard macro then you deserve a real medal. I'm not sure I'll ever manage it.

I never got around to getting my arcade controller out for a "real" attempt, I just ended up finishing my trial run on keyboard instead. I figured out after ~7 miles that the easiest way to handle things for me was to run one-handed-two-fingered, and slide the keyboard down the desk so my left hand could give my right a break now and then. I ran about 20% left-handed and slow (about two bars), and the rest in-and-out of the sprint zone.

I actually thought there was anti-macro code in there... it seemed like whenever my pace got too steady, the game "dropped" a full bar of speed and forced me to build speed back up. And there were 3-4 times in the race where speed just suddenly dropped to zero, and could not be restarted until ~ a second of NO button presses at zero took place. Was this intentional? :-D
posted by Pufferish at 11:33 AM on July 19, 2009


And yes, the screenshot for this is going on my personal list of gaming achievements... so thanks, I think.
posted by Pufferish at 11:35 AM on July 19, 2009


This is amazing: two keys, keep pressing. I thought for sure there was something else to it I was missing, but no. That was all there was to it. Brilliant. And the graphics are a gas as well. I made it only two mins in - I thought about going for the whole magilla but, well, no.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:25 AM on July 22, 2009


Now I know that you can get shin splints in your fingers.
posted by seanaes at 12:50 PM on July 28, 2009


Someone else finished it legitimately. Malevolent, did you ever expect anyone actually would?
posted by Nelson at 2:38 PM on July 28, 2009


I hoped people would, and tried to design the game to tempt as many as possible into sticking with it.

It's currently looking like someone might be putting the game into an arcade cabinet and featuring it at an event, which is another thing I hoped for. Nothing's finalised yet, but it's looking promising...
posted by malevolent at 1:12 AM on July 29, 2009


« Older Blowing up the Rocca Malatestiana   |   1984 Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post