Who is Stephen Banks?

  • I was searching the old Ambrosia Times newsletters to find some Ambrosia-related terms for Pallas, and I came across something very interesting.

    In 6.2 What's New, ASW mentions a Cythera contest held by Insanely Great. Using the Wayback Machine, I found the announcement at Insanely Great, plus the contest details.

    It looks like a promotional run by Ambrosia in which readers of Insanely Great could enter to win one of 5 Cythera licenses. One winner would receive the grand prize: appearing as a character in Cythera!

    Which brings me back to the title. From the AT article:

    Well, after a random drawing, the winner was Stephen R. Banks, who is thrilled that he's included in the game.
    Now the funky question is... where do you find him? And how do you get him to divulge his real name? Is he the only easter egg in the coming game? Would I be mentioning it if it weren't? Looks like you'll have to kidnap me to find out. Muhahahaha...

    I looked through the rest of 6.2, but I couldn't find anything more about Stephen Banks. There are some "easter egg" screenshots in Sneak Snapz. On that: showing Ursylph's prison makes sense, but by showing the spring under Cademia, I still wonder if it was meant to be more than just a healing fountain.

    Back to the topic at hand, I searched these forums and found no mention. I also searched the complete dialogues and found no mention. Am I missing something obvious? If not... where or who is Stephen R. Banks in Cythera?

  • After doing some sleuthing (starting with Googling "stephen r. banks" mac gaming), I think this is the Stephen R. Banks in question. There are a couple low-res photos of him on that site, and—assuming that's the right guy—I also found his Facebook (which I figure is better to not post). In any case, I don't immediately recognize his face from any of the Cythera portraits.

    I would guess it's most likely that the easter egg was simply cut or never implemented at all, but it would be interesting if it were referenced in some clever way we haven't figured out yet.

  • Very nice find, Buzzzzy! I couldn't see any direct images of him from that page; would you be able to link one?

    The possibility of an unimplemented easter egg occurred to me, but given that they had a contest and everything, surely there would have been some pressure to do it!

    Looking around his site, he apparently was a part of PrintNet, some sort of corporate print service from the mid-90s? Can't really tell much because their main site was behind a pay wall, but it's gone through a number of hands over the years: Blue-Line Online in the late 90's, where it was folded into the larger "ProjectNet", Cephren in the early 2000's, which itself managed to raise 10's of millions during the dot-com bubble and later merged with Bidcom to become Citadon. Citadon was bought by Opidis, which is now a subsidiary of idox. ProjectNet still existed under Citadon, but who knows what became of those various people and properties over the years?

    ... Also, I have no idea why I looked all that up except that company lifecycles utterly fascinate me.

  • I believe this is him. He's also in this picture ("I'm the only one with my eyes squeezed tightly shut").

  • This is really interesting! ^_^ I need to take the time to poke around the links you've provided, but when I read this post, the first thing that came to mind was, remember the time gandreas promised to make a custom Cythera portrait for the winner of a chron contest, but never followed through? Isn't the most likely scenario that Stephan Banks' character was unfortunately never added to the game? :( I've read and transcribed every word of dialogue that Bryce could find in the data files, and nothing about this dude was in there. If Mr Banks is somehow a character in the actual game, I could only speculate that he's some kind of inanimate object or mayyyybe a creature you'd expect to be mute like a chicken or something. In this case, would it be possible for this one weird dialogue to be stored in a completely separate place from the other dialogues?

  • My thought was that the name might be hidden in “An au Gernek ers” or “ An daya ayqk hera” but I can’t figure out a way to make that work.


    I appreciate this page from his site telling you the screen size he designed for:
    Screen Shot 2020-06-10 at 10.44.22 (2).png

  • That's quite an interesting find. I don't recall seeing anything related to Stephen Banks in Cythera either. It's possible that the easter egg wasn't implemented or that it was implemented in some less than obvious fashion. For instance, Autonous as the operator of the mint might be intended to make one think of banks.

  • Interesting suggesting. Autonous came to mind as a character who doesn't respond to the typical human dialogue prompts, but I didn't think about his connection to a "bank."

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