Winter Pentathlon Preview '10!
Posted by urk at 1/6/2010 1:22 PM PST
The New Year may be upon us, but Old Man Winter remains, settled coldly into Seattle’s rain-soaked streets as the days inexorably wax and wane without so much as a glimpse of the shimmering Daystar. At Bungie, that means that in the spirit and tradition of gaming and competition, we’ll be pitting our own beloved band of brothers and sisters against one another in a series of skill-based feats of prowess such as SkeeBall, Hacky Sack, and, of course, Halo.
 
That’s right, you surly bunch of mother suckers, it’s time for the Bungie Winter Pentathlon! The time for grown ass men to vehemently argue over the skill required to let loose a blue shell in Mario Kart is over. The Age of Throwing Down has been thrust upon us!

And as you may have guessed by the preceding paragraph’s employment of exclamation points, we’re pretty stinkin’ excited about it. Not just because Bungie is bigger, better, and more badass than ever before. Not just because we’re going to have an excessive array of extravagant snack foods on hand. And not just because it means that we’ll be spending yet another workday playing all kinds of our very most favorite games. But because…okay wait those three things pretty much nail it right on the head.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Bungie Pentathlon, now is the time to get up to speed.

This coming Friday we’ll be breaking away from our first week back from a two week holiday hiatus to rage against the dying of the light, play an absurd pile of games, and keep on feeding our already fattened faces with soft drinks, beer, and a wealth of ridiculously rich and totally delicious snack food. Jealous?

You should be. Ain’t no debauchery like Bungie debauchery. The day begins as it should with a studio-supplied smorgasbord of breakfast foods - a vast variety of toasted, baked, and deep fried carbohydrate-comprised foodstuff delectably injected with random meats, jams, and jellies subsequently drenched and drizzled with sugary syrup sweetness. For lunch we hearken back to our roots with delicious Chicago-style deep dish pizza. And to wash it all down, two kegs of sudsy brew, plenty of canned beverages, and eventually for the losing teams, ice cold shame.

And to what God do we offer up such a grand and orgiastic feast?
The Fist


It’s huge, it’s metal, it’s forged from the fires of Mount Awesome. It’s a fist clutching a fully charged, honest-to-Uranus lightning bolt that’s been freshly snatched right out of the raging heavens. An impossible feat? Not for us, friends. And one team is gonna get their names forever emblazoned on the side of this amazing monstrosity of tasty metallic defiance.

Last year it was the Newbies, bolstered by their breakout Rock Band stage performance that shook the studio to its very core, leaving the other three schools’ confidence completely shattered while simultaneously cementing the younglings’ status as the team to beat for this year’s competition.



But which team will go down in Fistory in 2010?
The Squads
Each team captain has a monumental task on their hands this year. They’ll each be steering a whopping 43 hands through raging waters while the other scurvy dogs do everything in their power to pimp slap their vessel into so much waterlogged wreckage.

Here are this year’s teams, listed in order of best to worst performance in the ’09:

The Newbies

Led by Dave Matthews (yup, he’s heard that joke), the Newbies are the returning champs.  The team to beat.  The best of the best. Bolstered by their wide-eyed enthusiasm and youthful vigor, the Newbs might be green, but they are very, very mean. And did I mention that they won last year?

Middle School

Led by Chris Alderson, the Middle School crew boasts some of our studio’s self-professed best Halo players. Word on the streets is that they turned in an abysmally dismal bush league performance in a Reach scrimmage earlier in the week. Went and got themselves trounced. Posts on Facebook indicate that their confidence is at an all time low. Was it all clever obfuscation meant to foster complacency among the other teams or are the Middle Schoolers crumbling from the inside out? We’ll find out on Friday!

Grizzled Ancients

These guys and gal have been around the block and back again. If there was an incontinence event, they’d totally dominate. But there isn’t, because that wouldn’t go down so well on the webcams. They’ll need to rely on their wisdom, cunning, and intellect to compensate for their lack of razor sharp reflexes and their overabundance of Marty O’Donnell. Will Curtis Creamer and his cantankerous crew still overcome and seize the day with chants of “Cup stays home!” or will they pretend they played the role of the good sports to let the other teams win? Only time will tell (and it ain’t on their side).

Old Skool

No longer fresh and not quite aged to perfection, the Old Skool class, led by Chris Opdahl, might just be the sleeper team in 2010. Or they just might be asleep at the wheel, their training time squandered and lost to an extended holiday break and a lack of urgency and structure in their training protocol. They’ve been quiet. Real quiet. Might be up there, in dem trees like the Predator, waiting to swoop down on the Pentathlon and take some trophy skulls.  Or they might be prepping to get their ass kicked by Danny Glover.
The Games
Don’t be coming up in here trying to tell us that a traditional Pentathlon consists of five different events. Language and Mathematics are flexible constructs. Simple human devices that we bend and break to our will like so many bendable and breakable things.

This year we’re rocking seven events - each and every one a paragon of amusing pastimes.

Heroes of Newerth

This DotA-inspired multiplayer RTS is 2010’s jock-friendly affair. Participants will need to rely on reflex, athletic acumen, and their uncanny ability to remain uncomfortably hunched over a keyboard and mouse for hours on end if they want to walk away with the large pile of Pentathlon points on offer!

It’s Furious Five on Five Mouse Fingerin’ Action! (And I hear David Allen totally sucks at it.)

Pictionary

A nice friendly game of Pictionary seems pretty self explanatory, right? Wrong! Picture a double-elimination, no holds barred tournament saddled with all kinds of rules and stuff. Not feeling so smart now, are you? There will be NO talking, NO referring to objects or persons, NO pre-arranged gestures, and ABSOLUTELY NO hints as to the length of the given solution.

What there will be: hastily scrawled yet tastefully artistic illustrations, plenty of Pentathlon points up for grabs, and quite possibly, untold scores of dead and desecrated bodies.

Hacky Sack

Take one tiny crocheted bean bag, add patchouli, stand in a circle, and kick. Repeat as necessary. When the bell rings it’s time to return to class!

Halo: Reach Super Secret Game Mode

Some number of players will square off against some number of other players in what will undoubtedly be a rousing and highly competitive game of something we’re not talking about yet!

Points awarded for doing all kinds of untold stuff!

Halo 3: ODST Firefight

Four players. Windward. No secondary skulls. Heroic difficulty. Best score after three consecutive sets or twenty minutes, whichever comes first. And before you get all high and mighty and report back that real men play Firefight on Legendary, let me say this: we are not real men. Never claimed to be. So. Suck. It. Down.

SkeeBall

Yeah, that’s right. We rented a SkeeBall machine. It’s gonna be like Chucky McCheese all up in this -blam!-in’ animatronic hizzy. Cept’ will have way more jokes about balls and way better pizza. And there will be no touching, groping, or leaning on the machine. It's not that kind of gal.

Puzzlehunt

The Wolf is on the prowl. Those who believe they have some modicum of brain prowess can enter his labyrinthine world of wickedly elaborate and dastardly devious puzzles. Totally rules me out. Roger’s probably gonna slip into a crazy costume too. Gonna be nuts.  Brains will melt.

The Exhibitions

So the teams stay loose between bouts (and so the non-competitive types have something to do), we’ll also have a host of other games on display, including, but not limited to, The Barrython (Street Fighter), the Minithon (Heroscape), the FIFI 2010 Soccer Invitational (some kind of digital American Football derivative), Ping Pong (Ping Pong), and much, much more!

But it ain’t all fun and games. As Dunn said last year, while the Pentathlon is a celebration of games, it’s also a celebration of how we at Bungie make our living. So while we raise a glass in honor of the gaming spirit, we also put cold, sharpened steel to the necks of those among us who have excelled and secured a lasting place within our walls. The ceremony may be ultra secretive, but the blade’s been seen on Twitter, so I guess we might as well give you a peek. Like most swords, it is indeed double-edged.
I Am Your Sword


So here’s to gaming. Here’s to snack food. Here’s to the past, the present, and the future of Bungie! (And here’s to maybe seeing Marty in drag. Again.)



What is best in life? To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.

Webcams will be rolling and we’ll keep you all kinds of updated, Seventh Column. Stay Tuned.
Pentathlon LIVE 

Posted by DeeJ at 1/27/2012 8:58 AM PST

Cup stays where?

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The Pentathlon Awaits 

Posted by DeeJ at 1/18/2012 2:43 PM PST

Four Schools.  One Cup.

"If any of my competitors were drowning, I'd stick a hose in their mouth."
-Ray Kroc, McDonald's Founder



Were you to peek into the maximum-security recesses of our dark lair on any other day, you would find the fine men and women of Bungie toiling as a unified team in the quarries of art and code.  But on Friday, January 27th*, we will be torn from our desks, divided into four schools by tenure, clustered into strike teams led by captains drunk with power, and sent into battle.  This is our day to shed the thin veneer of friendship and ruin our workplace relationships in ways that will take all year to rebuild.

This is the Winter Pentathlon.  It begins with an opening ceremony to reinforce the oaths that we all have sworn.  On bended knee our veterans will prostrate themselves at the altar of World Domination.  The fates themselves will then collide in trials as diverse as the warriors that will participate in them for glory, honor, and immortality.

*Seems even the fates can't make it into work when it snows in Seattle.



Along with Bagel Fridays and Chuckie’s naked ass, the Winter Pentathlon is among the most cherished traditions at Bungie.  It’s a celebration of games, and a reminder of why we make them.

To lend some context on this cornerstone of our shared culture, I paid homage to the Exalted Committee that plans the affair.  Behold the historic wisdom of Grizzled Ancient, Dave Dunn.

How will this Pentathlon live up to the wild expectations that are swirling through the studio?

We’ve jumped up the number of scored events to 9 to try to encourage all the employees to play in something. With so many more people having joined Bungie, we felt we needed more opportunities for people to participate.

Which School (or “Skool” if ye be Olde) will emerge victorious?

I think all the pundits agree that the Grizzled Ancients will scrap and claw their way to another victory.

You are clearly abusing this official inquiry to exercise a position of bias.  Explain the process.  How do you  guide this event to victory year after year?

We procrastinate as long as we can until we realize that we’re screwed and then we organize a bunch of frantic meetings to draft captains into service, pick events, and plan the day.

Aside from procrastination, what values are weighed most heavily in these frantic meetings as you give shape to the pentathlon? 

We try to foster an environment that caters as best we can to all the different types of gamers we have; hardcore competitive, casual, players of videogames, players of traditional games, strategic, etc.

Cater to us Newbies and describe the origins of the trophy that our elderly seem insistent upon calling “The Cup.”

Way back in the day, we decided we needed something to play for other than bragging rights.  Joe Staten, I believe, took it upon himself to craft a trophy from a lamp, a colander, and a plastic skull.  On a visit to Chicago for the summer pentathlon, the Oni team lost the battle but won the war by stealing the trophy back to California with them.  Thus began the phrase “Cup Stays Here” which the Grizzled Ancients have adopted as their battle cry. 

But why do you call it a cup?  It doesn’t look anything like a cup.  My attempts to drink from it have been met with nothing but broken teeth.

Because it sounds better than “Trophy Stays Here.”  About four years back we decided we needed a real trophy for the Pentathlon so I came up with the idea of a trophy inspired by the Stanley Cup.  I wanted something that represented Bungie – thus the Fist – and had space to engrave the names of the winning team members, like the Stanley Cup tradition.



Behold!  The Fist!  Now that Dave has revealed all he can about the Pentathlon planning process, allow me to introduce you to the schools who will strive for eternal commemoration on the metal plates that adorn The Cup.

To those about to Pentath, we salute you.


The Four Schools

Grizzled Ancients
Huddled over their tennis ball-capped walkers, the Ancients will stalk slowly and painfully toward a victory that they feel is their birthright.  Attempts to retrofit a typewriter to serve as a peripheral to play DOTA2 were abandoned, in favor of bottle-thick bifocals to focus in on the ideal hand in poker.  Can this beloved Cup be pried from the vice-like grip of their tonic-soaked dentures?

Old Skool
In a desperate attempt to grasp the fleeting residuals of their youth like sand in an iron grip, the Old Skoolers have intentionally misspelled their own school name.  Glory days of Pentathlons past will drive them forward as they defend previous titles.  Are their best days behind them?  Or have the ages seasoned them as the ultimate power in the studio?

Middle School
Like the adolescent child striving for attention alongside adorable infants and distinguished adults, Middle Schoolers will struggle to make a name for themselves in the family.  Having shrugged off the naïveté of early childhood, the Middle School will issue forth with textbooks strapped to their backs and a prowess to prove.  Can they take their rightful seat at the grown ups’ table?  Or will they be sent to clean their room without supper?

Newbies
The pacifier will be spit onto the dusty grotto so that teeth can be gnashed in a blood-thirsty snarl.  The voice-stifling fear of saying the wrong thing in a meeting will be replaced with a barbaric yawp.  Newbies don’t know well enough to be afraid – very afraid.  Will this be their tactical advantage, or their untimely undoing?




The Games


The day-long event planned for this cast of players represents a gauntlet of competitions from almost every genre and category imaginable.  From the desktop to the tabletop.  From the fog of war to the fog machine.

COD MW3
Let’s do this.  The competitive shooter in the line-up boasts a class system that fits in lock step with the theme of the day.

DOTA 2 Beta
Each school will cast their best spell to conjure up victory while a live cast tells the tale of their magical battle.

Forza 4
Take the wheel.  Mind your torque.  Keep that priceless prototype off the wall.  It would be a shame to scuff your custom paint job before it
can be judged by race fans.

Puzzle Hunt
The boundaries of human intellect will be stretched to the point of shattering.  Complex riddles will require the mindshare of entire teams to crack the codes therein. Root beer will be mercilessly drunk.

Cranium
This challenge will draw from both sides of the brain.  Problem solving meets creative expression.  Communication will be forced through the prisms of numerous artistic mediums. Including clay.

Blongo Ball
It’s like a game of horseshoes, only slightly more (if not completely) suitable for indoor use.  We already have the divots in our drywall to serve as evidence of much practice.

Texas Hold ‘Em
There is no limit to that which will be wagered.  All cards will be wild, from a certain point of view.

Dance Central 2
So you think you can dance?  The Bungie Webcams make a triumphant return, andfor those with two left feet there will be nowhere to hide.

Rock Band 3
No celebratory gathering of family would be complete without a house band to murder the classics.  A panel of distinguished judges will make the star makers of reality television look like the nicest people you have ever met, while our alpha-geeks channel their inner rock star.


Our At-Home Audience

While we play the roles of the gladiators on a stage of our own making, you will be invited to serve as the carnage starved audience.  You are all invited to the party, attending through the virtual interfaces of your choosing.  Feast your eyes on Bungie.net this Friday to witness the revelry as it unfolds.

Monitor webcams that reveal the feast and the dance.

Browse photos, uploaded to illustrate the story as it is written.

Decide the winner of the Forza 4 paintjob fashion show in a forum election.

Spectate the gilded mediocrity of our DOTA tournament, along with expert color commentary provided by Tobi Wan from JoinDOTA.com.

Keep an eye out for episodic updates to our scoreboard.

Follow the chorus of Bungie Tweets (@bungietweets)


The Pentathlon awaits. 

Victory will choose only the most cunning of the four schools entered into this pageant of jubilation and sport.  The rest will be sent home to sulk in a vanquished state, waiting for their next opportunity to settle old scores, birth new legends, and totally redeem themselves.

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Rumor and Speculation - Updated 

Posted by urk at 2/16/2011 10:36 PM PST

Don't believe everything that you read.

This evening, Kotaku Australia published a blog entry to their website claiming that Bungie recently terminated as many as thirty contract employees without notice or justification, effectively eliminating all non full time staff at the request of our publisher, Activision-Blizzard.

The claim is false.

Bungie has never been asked to lay off any employees or contract employees by our publisher, Activision-Blizzard, for any reason. The talented professionals who grace our offices day in and day out are the lifeblood of Bungie – our most cherished commodity – and the unsubstantiated rumors posted today are in direct opposition to the culture and values that we believe make Bungie an exceptional place to work, and to call home.

(Oh, and since we're on the subject, we're hiring.)

UPDATE

To clarify, Bungie has not experienced layoffs or group firings of any kind.

Tags: About Bungie

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Take Our Jobs...If You Dare! 

Posted by DeeJ at 12/23/2010 10:14 AM PST

runningturtle writes:

Join Bungie!

Take our jobs, if you dare. Eat our snacks. Climb our rockwall. Enjoy the best benefits the industry has to offer.

Our ever-expanding team of kick ass developers is bringing a brand new world to life. Our Careers Page is kept current up to the minute. World Domination is only a step away.

Your move.

Ultimately About Fun 

Posted by urk at 5/26/2010 1:54 PM PDT

Building sincere animation with a small amount of frames.

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