Now that MARARTHON has officially taken its own life, there are a few things I’d like to get off my chest. I mean, they’ve bothered me for something like a year. That’s a long time if you think about it. (Also, I have the gift of Bourbon, so truth is coming more naturally to me at the moment.)
First of all, there’s some confusion as to who were the really nasty people in CLIQUE and who wasn’t so bad. There is the obvious set of choices for “nice” CLIQUE members, with Treellama at the forefront. I found it hilarious and disturbing that certain people (Macsforever) accused Treellama of being Bigpoopr. I mean, really, how could a guy like Treellama even dream of such a thing? Ray and Thermo fall into this category, too. They might have had various caustic remarks in the IRC channel, but that’s about as far as their malicious CLIQUE nature went. Thermo, of course, was the main developer for Smithy, and Ray ran Pfhorchan in all its delicious incarnations.
There was probably a lot of hatred directed at Ryoko. Ryoko’s past words and deeds unfortunately worked against him in the last year; his general disagreeableness from the glory days of mapping and netgaming overshadowed his relatively benevolent reign as Overlord of Pfhorums. When you think about how many people came and went on the site while he was an administrator, how much spam he deleted, how well he kept things in order, six or seven or even eight banned users is not a large number by any means. His only fault was that everyone (even, to some extent, people who hadn’t been around for very long) remembered his long-winded bull sessions about everything from Lua’s uselessness to Shadowbreaker’s uselessness. You guys really lost a good administrator when you left him as apathetic toward Marathon as I am towards college education.
No, the real culprits in CLIQUE were none other than W’rkncacnter and me. Both of us, at first in loose coordination, and then in chaotic accord, took to heart a more nihlistic philosophy than any of our peers accepted (until recently). Once we discovered that the era of valuable Marathon contributions had passed, we knew that the only game in town was the loyal users of Marathon’s various Web services. W’rkncacnter had possibly as few as ten posts on Pfhorums before we entered the CLIQUE era, but when he decided to be the biggest jerk possible, his post count skyrocketed. I struggled for a little while longer, but to similar avail. Honestly, the most fun I’ve had with Marathon since 2006 occurred on Pfhorums, when people like Zephyrus/Samus first coined the moniker “clique.” Thanks, you little pissant—do you see what you created?
One of CLIQUE’s most fascinating aspects was the public’s distorted opinion. CLIQUE came to represent, for some, the sum of all wrongdoing in the Marathon community, and with almost no true cause. Those who looked long enough noticed that CLIQUE comprised at least half of Marathon’s most productive and useful members. I’ve listed these roles before, but it’s worth saying again:
- Ryoko was not only the admin of the most popular forum, he also happened to be the most prodigious and celebrated mapper since perhaps Frigidman (and, if you ask me, Ryoko was better).
- Treellama is the only active Aleph One developer. He also cleans up people’s ill-conceived messes on Pfhorums (vis. Sweatervest vs. the commonwealth of CLIQUE) and is a snappy mapper.
- Thermo was a primary mover on the Story Forum. He was also behind Smithy, the closest thing Marathon has ever had to a functional cross-platform level editor, and he ran several other Marathon-related projects in the meantime.
- W’rkncacnter was generally amazing, and who can honestly say he hasn’t smiled from W’rk’s hijinks? It it isn’t COLORSPEACK (possibly the most infuential map pack since Red Spectrum), it’s CTF or another of W’rk’s dozens of Lua script contributions.
- Ray, while not as well-known as the above persons, had his own allure. As I said earlier, he ran Pfhorchan. He also provided some of the most consistently reasonable, yet amusing, dialogue that came out of #alephone. When Ray talks, everyone talks.
- I have many things to say about myself. I was one of the pioneers of Lua scripting, I ended up being a decent mapper for roughly one year, and I applied every scrap of knowledge I learned while working with Marathon in order to help others. I tried for a brief while to become the “voice of Marathon” when I started JUICEcast. When all this proved futile, I used my gifts as a weapon against the very people who complained that a “clique” or “cabal” of players was running everything. Do you know why we ran everything? Because unlike you, we could do everything.
That’s right. I’m going to say it. CLIQUE was your best shot at getting regular high-quality material for Marathon. Instead of working with the most experienced people willing to tolerate the fourteen-year-old special education candidates who popped up daily, what did the majority of the community do? They blamed CLIQUE for smothering all “competition.” Take a look at what has washed up on Pfhorums or MSF during the past weeks. Pfhorums especially, without a single person with the ability to give a damn, is entirely useless.
Enjoy a CLIQUE-free community.
Just Found Out
Working on JFO has been a highly entertaining experience. It is the first and only successful site (out of at least three) that I’ve run since I began my involvement with Marathon online. Some seemed to think it was an honest-to-goodness attempt at documenting CLIQUE, and to a lesser extent the rest of Marathon. Have you actually read JFO? Pictures of poop sticks, lists of cryptic word chains, screencaps of teeny bopper pop films, and a multitude of other things should have alerted you. This site was nothing if not a self-referential behemoth.
I am a writer. Sure, I’m not professional yet, but this means I can experiment with things like JFO. Whether it was a brief (or not-so-brief) “Stop Camping” narrative, a hand-drawn comic that involved literary references, or unadulterated loch, JFO was the test bed for a million retarded things I simply couldn’t allow into my “real” prose. The rest of CLIQUE cheerfully pitched in, providing pithy entries when I was intellectually destitute. There were things in this blog that required a minimum of three years’ scrutiny of French literature to understand. There was typographical symbolism. There was Buddhist philosphy. There were incest jokes.
Sure, I have a penchant for loching. Nevertheless, JFO, possibly the greatest (and certainly the last) crown jewel of the dying or dead community, will remain visible as long as I can provide it. I have two final plans for JFO, one that depends on Ray, and one that depends on how lazy I am. We might even update it from time to time, but I doubt that will happen often, if ever.
I have no idea how many people read this thing. But that’s not the point. I truly enjoyed running this AGENT ORANGE newspaper with the rest of my CLIQUE buddies.
There was a time when I grew sad with the thought that Marathon would probably not last forever. I was right beside those who wanted to “promote” the game in other places, those who mentioned it in the same breath as Halo, and so on. Marathon was the greatest game ever. The flaw with this line of thinking rests on a key word: “game.” Who cares what the greatest game is? Games, especially computer games, are invariably the least important things on the planet. Or they should be.
Those familiar with my ages-old loch cycle might understand my struggle. I had a clear definition of what I wanted to do in life: I wanted to write. But every time I sat at my desk, what did I see staring at me but the Aleph One icon on my laptop’s dock? I can honestly say that even Marathon’s marvelous story has had almost no effect on my ideas as a writer. Why, then, should I care at all about the game?
I wish I knew. It’s part of the mystiQUE of loch. But, having dropped out of college, I might finally have a few priorities straight, and I can say now that I’m capable of picking up my pen instead of tweaking a horrible netmap or Lua script any time, any day. The rest of CLIQUE, even Ryoko, appears to have done the same. I recommend that everyone else follwo suit. Even though the phrase was created in spontaneous jest, “4GETTING MARARTHON” is possibly the most worthwhile activity any of us has done in years.