Bungie's Mac Action Sack

The Bungie Mac Action Sack.
Trying to collect Bungie's early works is not easy. The entire Marathon trilogy has been released for free download here, but finding hard copies is a dicey proposition. At the time of this writing, only one copy of the first game is available on eBay, with a starting bid of 150 USD. Marathon Infinity is similarly hard to find, though the second game, Marathon 2: Durandal is more common, perhaps owing to it's cross platform release on Windows 95.

If you find yourself starting back at the beginning of Bungie History it goes from difficult to borderline impossible. Bungie's first commercial game, Operation: Desert Storm sold only 2500 copies, none of which appear to be extant online. The same is true for their second game, Minotaur: Labyrinths of Crete.

For many people Bungie's first two games exist as little more than curiosities, but with Pathways into Darkness, their third game, things started picking up for Bungie. Pathways was a commercial and critical success, and has a lot of ties to the later Marathon games. Playing Pathways seems like a rite of passage for Marathon fans, a fact only complicated by the game's limited availability.

That's where Bungie's Mac Action Sack comes in, the answer to almost every Bungie Collecting question. Bungie's Mac Action Sack was released in 1999 on the heels of the new iMac. It includes six of Bungie's early titles in a fetching sack. Aside from the Marathon trilogy, the Sack contains Minotaur and Pathways into Darkness. The last game in The Sack, Abuse, was originally released for MS-DOS in '96, with Bungie publishing the Mac OS port in '97.
Nice artwork of the Marathon Marine
(alien hotdog not pictured).

The presentation of the Sack is quite nice. Why a sack? I'm really not sure, but the sack has a Bungie logo and is sheathed in a more traditional sleeve of cardboard. A cardboard insert gives the sack structure and protects the contents. Inside is a Bungie news flyer with a sweet mini-poster of Oni on the back, and tucked away at the bottom is a small Oni branded notepad. Oni was in development at the time the Sack was released. It doesn't show at all.

As for the games themselves, they're all packed onto a single CD-ROM in a jewel case. Compared to other compilation releases, Bungie's Sack (ed: heheheh) looks classy and slick, and the bonus goodies are a nice touch. More importantly, the games themselves are excellent. This compilation isn't a way to offload bad games with the inclusion of one stand-out title (compilations of utter garbage ft. Star Wars Dark Forces, I'm looking at you); this is a collection of Bungie history and Bungie hits.

And also Abuse. Abuse is kind of the dark horse of this pack; a Bungie game in name only. And, well... it's awesome. It's a fast side-scrolling run and gun game with mouse control, and save terminals. And secret weapon caches, and explosive weapons. If you told me this was a Bungie game I'd believe you. The graphics are smooth and well drawn, and the mouse aim is a fantastic addition to the side scrolling shooter. You play as the Predator from Predator, basically, fighting against the Aliens from Aliens. Abuse is a lot of fun and probably the best unofficial Aliens game ever made.

MS-DOS version of Abuse. The Mac version has slightly
redrawn graphics for the 4:3 aspect ratio.

Bungie West's only game, but a damn
fine one if you ask me.
So don't worry about Abuse, it fits in just fine with the other games. But how to play them? The system requirements suggests a Mac with System 7 or higher. Your best bet is probably to get a legacy Mac with System 7.6, aka Mac OS 7. I'd suggest a G3 Power PC, since it seems to fit the bill for the five or so years of gaming represented in The Sack. The only legacy Mac I have operational right now is an Apple IIe, so I can't say for sure how installing and playing the games works. I'll update this when I know more. Emulating the Macintosh environment with SheepShaver is difficult to set up, but it will work for some of these games. Mouse support in SheepShaver is very poor, so the Marathon trilogy won't work right. If all you're after is Pathways into Darkness, emulation is fine.

The Bungie Mac Action Sack can be found on Amazon and eBay, for surprisingly cheap, and there's no shortage of them. Getting a brand new, never been opened Sack will run you about 15 USD. Given that it's one of the few ways to legitimately obtain early Bungie titles like Pathways and Minotaur, and definitely the cheapest way to get a hard copy of the Marathon trilogy, I don't see how you could resist. Unless you want to scrape together 150 USD and place a bid on that copy of Marathon, I'd recommend you get your hands on a Sack. 

More pictures:

What to do with your sack, after you've
taken all the goodies out?
I'd never consider defacing a pad of Konoko
paper with my lewd and incomprehensible
notes. But it's a nice feelie.
On an inside page is a table comparing Bungie West to
the original Bungie East. It is not a flattering comparison,
and unsurprisingly was penned by the East team.