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Quick question from the Metroid Series


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So far the "about a month" theory sounds the most plausable to me. No food rations for 3 months? They REALLY don't like it when you don't follow the rules. Either that or they don't eat much at all... I mean, look how thin their waists are!


Since Metroid Prime took place RIGHT after the original Metroid in the timeline (The frigate at the beginning of the game was a Noah’s Ark from Zebes).

Cool, I didn't actually know that. If that is indeed the case:

modifications to change Ridley into Meta Ridley took a full cycle

Meta Ridley appears in the frigate in Metroid Prime, no? So, that COULD be a month, or possibly a year between the two games. Both sound reasonable.

But, if the frigate is from Zebes, why does it have Phazon on it? I guess either they stopped off a Talon first, or transported the Phazon'd Parisite Queen from Talon to the frigate using another craft. Quick, someone find out how many cycles they were using Phazon on the frigate for before it crashed!

My theory: Retro probably didn't really think about cycles that much - either that, or the amount of time is variable (or planet-dependant) like what's his name said. The stuff Samus's visor reads is translated from a multitude of languages: perhaps it translates several different measurements of time into the word "cycle"? I thought the suit's interface (stuff Samus sees on the visor) was in English - made by the Galactic Federation and probably not the Chozo. You can't say that humans don't have the ability to add stuff to Samus' suit - happens a dozen times in Metroid Fusion. Even the Pirate-made visor is compatible with the suit. Hell, here's some more things you can add to the list of stuff compatible with Samus's suit: random globs of organic matter, giant exploding metroid, DNA, a big fat guy falling on you, a puddle of Phazon, the essense of an entire planet, magic floating ammunition that comes from random animals - the list goes on! Regardless of whether any of this makes sense or is relevant, this topic is more time-wastingly delightful than Zelda timeline theories.

Oh wait - the whole "Noah's Ark" thing doesn't make a whole lot of sense, if you remember the whole deal with Ridley's Pink Mothership of Doom from Zero Mission. Ah, I'm thinking too hard, bye =\

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Right, before I start: I realized the math in my first theory was all screwed up. My bad, ignore it completely, I'm gonna give you a new one anyhow. Second, The scan about food rations said they would be reduced, not eliminated. Also, the Frigate in the first Prime game was confirmed by a Pirate Lore scan to be one of the frigates in orbit around Zebes at the time Mother Brain was destroyed. This is from Metroid Prime:

“The Fall of Zebes”

Log 09.992.3

Zebes has fallen. All ground personnel are presumed dead, either killed by the

Hunter clad in metal or in the subsequent destruction of the underground

facilities. Our research frigates Orpheon, Siriacus and Vol Paragom where in

orbit at zero hour and managed to retreat. Frigate Orpheon is now docked at

Vortex Outpost. Orpheon's cargo appears to have a 100% survival rate; Metroids

are healthy but on restricted feeding schedules due to uncertain supply status.

We are ready to begin research on the Metroids and other promising life-forms.

Security status remains at Code Blue; no signs of pursuit from the Hunter.

Alright folks, I booted up Echoes and took a look around, and here’s my brand new, shiny, and mathematically explicable theory! I used the generally agreed human base unit of time, the second, as the base unit for what I’ll call GF (Galactic Federation) time. Then instead of marking seconds and minutes in increments of 60, I made it 100, since everything else in the system seems to be base 10. This makes for some fairly understandable figures when applied to the scans from the game. All this info is based on the way the Space Pirate logs are dated and organized in the logbook.

If the base unit is seconds…

100 seconds (1.67 minutes) is the GF equivalent of a minute…

100 GF minutes (166.67 minutes) equals a GF hour…

There is one GF hour in a millicycle…

There are 1000 GF hours (2,777.77 hours) in a cycle.

1 millicycle = 166.67 minutes or one GF Hour

Below are all the dates from the Pirate Lore in the Echoes Log book. Note they all start with 04, 05, 06, or 07. These are the cycle numbers. That is absolutely certain, because in the log book, each log starting with 04 was stored under the heading ‘Cycle 4’ in the logbook, 05 was stored in ‘Cycle 5,’ and so on. The last 2 numbers show the current millicycle, with the rightmost number changing every 16.7 Earth minutes.

04.468.1 (468.1 millicycles into cycle 4)

04.885.3 (885.3 millicycles into cycle 4)

05.008.6 (8.6 millicycles into cycle 5)

05.442.1 (442.1 millicycles into cycle 5)

06.221.7 (221.7 millicycles into cycle 6)

06.362.2 (362.2 millicycles into cycle 6)

06.713.5 (713.5 millicycles into cycle 6)

06.989.8 (989.8 millicycles into cycle 6)

07.013.6 (13.6 millicycles into cycle 7)

07.159.9 (159.9 millicycles into cycle 7)

So how do you get decacycles and centicycles then? Like so:

1 cycle (Obtained by rolling over the second digit of the first number in the date every 1000 millicycles) = 2777.83 Earth hours or 115.74 Earth days.

1 decacycle (Obtained by rolling over the first digit of the first number in the date every 10 cycles) = 10,000 millicycles or 1157.43 Earth days, or 3.17 Earth years.

1 centicycle (Obtained by adding a third digit to the far left of the date mark and rolling it over every 10 decacycles) = 100,000 millicycles or 11,574.31 Earth days, or 31.71 Earth years.

Now, examples from the game:

Log 44681 (Phazon Operations)

Scan Info: Log 4.468.1- Science Teams detected the presence of Phazon in the Dasha system four cycles ago. High Command authorized the deployment of our team shortly thereafter. Our orders are to establish a base on planet Aether and evaluate local Phazon resources.

4 cycles would be 462.96 Earth days, or 1.26 Earth years. Now, note the date on the log begins with a 4. In the Log book in Echoes, the Space Pirate logs are split into cycles 4,5,6, and 7. This one was, according to the dating system, the first log on Aether. So the teams had known about the Phazon on Aether for 1.26 years before the mining teams deployed to the surface. Do to the almost complete lack of dating in the first game, and the proximity of Tallon IV to Aether, it’s feasible that the pirates could have discovered

Phazon on Aether very soon after they found it on Tallon IV. Due to the fact that any events involving Samus up to the writing of this log were closer than 1.26 years together, it would seem to support the simple idea that we’ve simply walked in on a work already in progress for the Space Pirates. In other words, choronologically speaking, they were probably mining Phazon on Tallon IV and Aether during the events of the original Metroid. Also, if you add the total time from the first log to the last (2.692 cycles) with the 4 cycles before they landed, it would mean the Pirates had been aware of Phazon on Aether for a full 2.1 years.



Scan Info:Subject is U-Mos, a Sentinel of the Luminoth. Scans indicate

numerous beneficial abilities, including hightened reflexes, durability,

psionics, and flight. Ability to generate and manipulate energy on par with

that of the Chozo. Dating scans indicate an age of 2.15 centicycles. Only

known active member of the species: remaining Luminoth locked in protective

stasis until crisis is resolved.

According to the math, 2.15 centicycles would make U-Mos 68.2 Earth years old. Not as old as I originally thought, but still aged enough to have seen a very long war.

About that bridge:

GF Bridge

Scan Info: This bridge is durable, but often locks in place, leading the

Marine's to call for a new design. The MK III should enter service within

the next eight cycles.

8 cycles would be 2.54 Earth years. A long time for a bridge to be in production, but if you live as close to Norfolk Naval Base as I do, you understand that’s a pretty good timeframe for anything in the military.

And the sandgrass:


Scan Info: Sandgrass scans indicate that the plant requires no moisture to

survive. It relies exclusively on solar energy for sustenance, making it well

adapted for life in the desert enviroment. Evidence of extensive mutation

present, suggesting radical bio-adjustments within the last centicycle.

Mutation source is not natural: plant strain was genetically engineered,

possibly by the Luminoth.

Once again, a centicycle is 31.71 Earth years. Since the Luminoth were genetically modifying it, that would be a perfectly understandeable time frame.

Finally, the corpses of your fallen comrades:

8 millicycles would be 22.2 Earth hours, plenty of time for Samus to get the signal and make it to Aether.

So gentlemen, the numbers make pretty good sense. Your choice: Do I win the internet?

Now I just have to figure out why that log from the first game starts with a 9....

EDIT: See below for a pretty good theory on the question directly above this one.

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A lot of assumptions in the conversions, if I understand your reasoning. But you're coming up with answers that seems agreeable. In the right order of magnitude, at least.

Interesting about mining Phazon during Metroid 1, at least.

EDIT: So, basically, on your logic, a cycle is about a third of a year? (365.25 / 115.74 = 3.1557802)

EDIT2: This all begs to ask - on the timecodes, what's 00.000.0? Must have been fairly recent in Metroid lore...

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No no no. There's not really any assumption, beyond the obvious fact that this is a theory. The only assumptions I made were:

a.) The base unit is seconds. This isn't an "assumption", because I tried it top to bottom with hours and minutes as the base unit, and it didn't work out sensibly.

b.) I assumed that everything else in the system seems to be taken in base 10 groups, so perhaps making minutes and hours 100 seconds would cause the times to make more sense. This isn't really an assumption either. Using the age of U-Mos as a gauge, if minutes and hours were both measured in increments of 60, U-Mos came out to be about 21 years old. If hours were measured in terms of 100 60 second minutes each, U-Mos was only 40ish. If I measure minutes and hours in increments of 100, U-Mos ends up with a sensible age of 60 something, which seems to fit the thread of the story much better than the other 2 theories.

Other than that, every number was worked from seconds up. Look at the conversions:

1 GF minute is 100 Earth seconds, or 1.67 Earth minutes. This is the only place where a measurement from Earth actually means anything. Everything else is a conversion factor. So, with this information, we move on.

1 GF hour is 100 GF minutes, or 166.67 Earth minutes. If a cycle is 1000 GF hours, then the calculation goes like so:

1 cycle = 1 GF Hour x 1000, therefore:

1 cycle = 166.67 Earth minutes x 1000, therefore:

1 cycle = 166,670 Earth minutes.

To make it more understandeable, divide 166,670 by 60 to get the number of Earth hours. You get 2777.83 hours. Now divide that by 24 to get your days. Voila. 115.74 days in a Galactic Federation Cycle.


As for your edits, 365.25 was never divided by anything. Pish Tosh.

It certainly does beg the question, when was 00.000.0. Especially since the logs in Metroid Prime begin with 09 and go up through 10 in the first game. If the games are supposed to use the same dating system, and making the huge assumption that I'm remotely correct, that would put... 297.98 Earth years between Metroid Prime 1 and 2, because there would be a passage of 94 cycles before those 2 numbers read 04 again. The theory is not without its disparities. My best guess would be that the dating is started for every separate planet at 00.000.0 when the Pirates settle on it. This would help them account for any differences in orbit and distance from the sun on each planet. All ships orbiting a planet and in communication with ground personnel would naturally assume the same dating scheme, partly to avoid confusion in dates with ground forces, and also due to the fact that they are essentially in the same position as the planet they are orbiting, giving them the same length days and nights. This would explain the difference in dating very well actually. It would explain the consecutive dating of 9s and 10s on ship and ground in Metroid Prime, and also the earlier dates of Aether, since it was discovered after Tallon IV. Using that theory, it would mean the Pirates had been on Tallon IV for 2.85 years, which fits right in. Since I said above that the Pirates had known about Aether for 2.1 years, it would mean they discovered (or landed on) Aether 136.6 days after Tallon IV. Jesus I'm good at coming up with complete bullshit that sounds nice! I know somebody mentioned that the Chozo and Pirate datestamps are the same... I'm working on that one...

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As for your edits, 365.25 was never divided by anything. Pish Tosh.

That's the number of Earth days in a year - I was figuring how many cycles fit in a year. Answer was close to three: hence one third of a Earth year.

I know somebody mentioned that the Chozo and Pirate datestamps are the same... I'm working on that one...

I'm the one that said that, I think. I started messing around in Prime 1 tonight - I actually never actually found any timestamps used by Chozo, or actually any references to cycles at all, but feel free to correct me.

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The stuff Samus's visor reads is translated from a multitude of languages: perhaps it translates several different measurements of time into the word "cycle"?

I can't believe I didn't think of this. Duh. So here's the thing... Chozo, Luminoth, and Space Pirate text is all translated by Samus' suit into a single language. That would mean dates for each civilization are translated into the GF equivalent. Perhaps the dates begin at zero when the Federation discovers a planet? This makes some sense because.... I read the manual for Metroid Prime. It states, word for word:

Deep below the surface of Zebes, the Space Pirates researched

Metroids for many years, even as a young girl orphaned by their raid on

the neighboring planet K-2L was growing up among the Chozo. Trained

as a warrior and infused with Chozo blood, Samus Aran donned a Chozo made

Power Suit and cut a swath through the Space Pirates’ operation,

destroying everything in her path, including the gargantuan mainstays of

the Space Pirate army, Ridley and Kraid. She eventually made it to the

core of their base, destroyed all the Metroids she saw, and seemingly blew up

the Mother Brain.

But the Space Pirates were far from finished. They immediately

split their survivors into two main camps. One headed to Zebes to begin

rebuilding their ravaged facility and resuscitating Mother Brain, Ridley,

and Kraid. The second set out in search of a planet with powerful energy

resources. They didn't search far before they discovered Tallon IV, which

was still emanating huge pulses of energy from the Phazon contained

beneath the Chozo temple. Entranced by the massive potential of the

strange mutagen, they immediately moved in, retrofitting their laboratories,

transporters, and life-support systems into the Chozo Ruins.

So the manual actually says that the Space Pirates didn't discover Phazon until after the fall of Zebes. So my work in progress theory doesn't hold water, because they discovered Tallon IV soon after the fall of Zebes, meaning a very short time between Metroid and Metroid Prime. Now, if my next bulshit theory is correct, the Space pirates could have landed on Tallon IV at any time after the fall of Zebes, because the dates weren't determined by them, they were Galactic Federation dates. So... Samus' suit would translate any pirate dates on Tallon IV into cycles starting from the time the Galactic Federation discovered it.

The pirate log from Echoes said Phazon had been detected in the Dasha system 4 cycles ago. That's 459.9 days by my theory, meaning that since Phazon was discovered on Tallon first, there was at least 1.26 years between the discovery of Phazon and the writing of that log on Aether. That much time between the games seems unlikely to me. The unknowns are the times between the games. How long was it from Metroid until Metroid Prime? Then from Prime until Prime 2? Since the first log in Prime talks about concern that Samus is pursuing them, Prime has to be RIGHT after Metroid. I also remember hearing that Echoes took place VERY shortly after prime, so a required 1.26 years to make all the statements I've examined in both games true seems like way too much.

Perhaps the best explanation is that Retro came up witha completely arbitrary numbering system and just used it and it don't make no sense. I imagine this is the truth.

Anyways, I don't really know. There's lots of holes. I'm so far into the realm of speculation I'm not even sure of my existence anymore. Everything's up for grabs. But it is fun trying to figure it out...

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Alright, I think I can reconcile the time between Prime 1 and 2. I found out this morning that Metroid Prime Hunters is set in between Metroid Prime 1 and 2, which would make up for most of the time in between.



Where does Metroid Prime Hunters fit in the Metroid timeline?

Mission file 791019 takes place between Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. So Samus has the Varia Suit from Echoes, but she's piloting the ship from Prime 1.

All calculations here are using my theory, just so you’re not (overly) confused.

The Pirate Logs in Metroid Prime begin with the fall of Zebes, with the discovery of Phazon 27.4 days after that. Therefore there is no way my dating system could have begun when the Pirates landed on Tallon IV. Nor would it make any sense for the logs on Aether, since it was cycle 7 before Samus was ever mentioned landing on the planet, meaning she would have landed 2.2 years after them. But the way I'm reading the numbers seems to be accurate. Why? Watch:

The log of the fall of Zebes was 9.992.3. Reconstruction of Ridley was completed on GF date 10.891.0, 104 days after the fall of Zebes, and 76.6 days after the discovery of Phazon.. That log mentions the fact that all changes to Ridley were implemented within a cycle, but the impression is that it was hard to fit it into that timeframe. That would mean that if I'm reading it right, Zebes fell on 9.992, and Ridley was reinstated by 10.891... Which is just shy of one full cycle.

Also, much more importantly, since you saw Ridley on the space station, it would logically have to have been at least 104 days, or 3.5 months, from the fall of Zebes to the beginning of Metroid Prime. Probably more like 4. After that definite date, Pirate Logs show no evidence that they were ever aware of Samus’ presence. The logs continue from the date of Ridley’s completion for another 89.5 days. The last log entry only mentions Chozo ghosts, so it wasn’t necessarily close to the end of the Metroid Prime’s timeline. In other words, there is no definite date stating the amount of time that passed during the gameplay of Metroid Prime, because I would need an entry stating that she had been seen, indicating it was written after she landed on the space station. I would also need one giving evidence that it was written close to the endgame in some way.

But anyways, messing with all those numbers, it means it was at least 76.6 days from the discovery of Phazon until the beginning of Metroid Prime, or roughly 3 months.

Now, since 4 cycles is 492.6 days, that would mean 1.05 years from the beginning of Metroid Prime until the first log entry on Aether. It would also mean that there was an absolute minimum of 1.13 years, or 13.75 months, between the discovery of Phazon on Tallon IV and the deployment of the team to Aether. If you go by the distance of 3.5 months between each game, which is the distance between Metroid and Metroid Prime according to my calculations, 7 months in between games, and 6 months for time actually passing during the games, and easily come up with 13.75. At any rate, however you look at it, there’s really no disparity.

I believe I have just invented a workable calendar for a fictional universe that I didn’t create. I find that fairly impressive. I am proud of me.

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Hey Guys,

I got an answer from Nintendo and here it is:

Hello and thank you for contacting Nintendo,

I'm afraid there isn't an answer to your question about how long a millicycle is in Metroid Prime. Nintendo excels at making sure our fans can get backstory information, character descriptions, and--most importantly--the information they require to complete the games that we publish. This can happen through our website (www.nintendo.com), Player's Guides, and Nintendo Power magazine.

Having said that, many details about our games will remain mysteries, left to the active imagination of the player...

I wonder if the guys from Retro Studios would give a different answer.
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Used accurately, a centicycle would be 1/100th of a cycle, yes. A hectocycle would be 100 cycles. But due to the logs in the game, it's fairly clear Retro made an error assigning prefixes, because a centicycle is obviously supposed to be much longer than a cycle. Every time a cycle is mentioned, it's in connection with a fairly short amount of time. The only time centicycles are mentioned is in U-Mos' age estimate, and he is supposed to be very old. Retro might also have used 'centi' rather than 'hecto' based on the logic that not a lot of people are familiar with the prefix 'hecto,' and also because a 'century' is 100 years, and most people would automatically associate the 'centi' prefix with a long amount of time.

To clear up any confusion about millicycles, 'milli' is a thousandth of something, a very small measurement. 1000 cycles would be a kilocycle, which would come out to roughly 310 years or so. I can't say exactly because I don't have my info with me right now.

At any rate, I strongly expect you'll get the same answer from Retro. They very likely just picked a number pattern that sounded neat. That's fine with me, because it means my theory can be taken as gospel if you so desire! I'm still working on it, it's very fun. Currently I'm going through all the datestamps on the logs from Metroid Prime, trying to figure out how much time passed between games, etc. Surprisingly, my numbering in every case so far has come up with some very sensible numbers. I'll post links to it when I'm finished for anyone who's interested.

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Ladies and gentlemen, the moment at least one of you has been waiting for! I've completed a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet which allows you to:

Convert Earth time to millicycles, cycles, decacycles, and centicycles!

Convert cycles to days, months, and years!

Find the amount of time between two cycles, output in both cycles and earth time!!

Call now!

Seriously, it's pretty awesome if I do say so myself. Download it:


Let me know if the link breaks! Also, anybody who has the skill and wants to convert that to Javascript and make it browser based is more than welcome to try. ALL contents of that file, including all formulas and concepts contained therein, are copyright Sam Spargur, 2007. Don't steal em. Thank you.

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