Published by Buena Vista Interactive
Designed by Frank Rooke
Music by Wendy Carlos
Released in 2003
20 years after the events of Tron,
Alan Bradley's son, Jet, enters the Electronic World to battle
the evil machinations of fCon, the company that has bought out
Tron 2.0 is a "first-person shooter" video game released in
2003 which was a sequel to the 1982 film,
Boxleitner returns as Alan Bradley. In the timeline, Alan is
a widower, having earlier married Lora, now deceased. Cindy
Morgan (who played Lora in the film) returns in the video game
as the voice of Ma3a, Alan's AI program.
Though some story details of Tron 2.0 are similar
to the film Tron: Legacy
and its spinoffs, there are also elements which render it
non-canonical in the franchise as it currently exists, such as Lora still living and married to Alan in the
film; additionally, Legacy director Joe Kosinski has
confirmed that Tron 2.0 and its spinoffs are not considered
canonical, despite the similarities.
Actress and model Rebecca Romijn-Stamos voices the character
Music was composed by Wendy Carlos, who also scored
Syd Mead, the conceptual artist of
Tron, contributes a new
version of the Light Cycle.
The company Digital Eclipse made a game for the GameBoy
Advance called Tron 2.0 Killer App (sort of a
parallel game to the Xbox version of Tron 2.0). It
is different from the main Tron 2.0 game in that
the story (such as it is) features the characters of Tron and
Mercury attempting to destroy a virus created by the
Corrupter in the ENCOM system. It is unknown where this
story falls chronologically, but the appearance of Mercury
might argue that it takes place around the same time as the
main Tron 2.0 game; this would suggest that Tron
still lives even after what, for him, has been about 1000
years since the events of the original film (time progresses
more quickly subjectively in the Electronic World)!
Also in 2003, comic book publisher 88 MPH solicited a comic
book called Tron 2.0: Derezzed which was to
chronicle the story told in the video game. However no issues
were ever published and I believe the publisher has since
folded. In 2006, publisher Slave Labor Graphics began
publishing Tron: Ghost in the Machine, a 6-issue
mini-series sequel to the story of the Tron 2.0
game, a study of which is also available here
Notes from the Tron chronology
"Ghost in the Machine" Part 1 states that it takes place 6
months after this story, in April 2006. This places Tron 2.0
in November 2005.
The story is centered around Alan's son Jethro ("Jet") Bradley.
Since the film's events, ENCOM has been taken over by a company
called Future Control Industries (fCon). After talking with his
father who is kidnapped while on the phone with Jet, Jet is
digitized by Ma3a, Alan's AI computer system, to aid her in
combating Thorne, an executive from fCon who was improperly
digitized into the computer and is now a corruption spreading
like a virus throughout the system. Jet is quickly, and
mistakenly, identified as the source of the corruption, and is
captured by Kernel, the systems security control program.
After deciding that Jet, who claims to be a User, is corrupted,
Kernel spares Jet on the recommendation of Mercury, another
program tasked to help Ma3a, and Jet is sent to be used as a bot
in the lightcycles game program. After winning several matches,
Jet escapes the match with Mercury's help. After they find Ma3a,
the server, corrupted beyond saving, is reformatted resulting in
Mercury's demise. Jet escapes to the internet with Ma3a and an
uncompiled copy of Tron Legacy, an update to the original Tron
program written by Alan Bradley to protect Ma3a. After finding a
compiling program on the Internet, Thorne appears to kill Ma3a,
as the Tron code is compiled and attached to her program. During
this, Jet receives a communication from Guest, the User who had
assigned Mercury to help Jet. Accessing a video uplink, Jet
realizes too late that Guest is his father Alan, locked in a
storage closet by fCon higher ups Bazra, Popoff, and Crowne,
begging him not to compile the Legacy program. Legacy activates,
revealing that its sole function is to kill any User in the
digital world. Jet escapes, and fCon inadvertently saves him by
capturing Ma3a in a search program.
Having recovered the correction algorithms necessary to digitize
a human, Alan is used as a guinea pig, and is sent to Thorne's
corrupted server. Assisting the ICPs and Kernel, Jet reaches
Thorne at the heart of the server and kills the Kernel before he
can derez Thorne. Thorne, regaining a moment of lucidity, begs
for forgiveness then tells Jet how to enter fCon's server.
Alan and Jet break into fCon's virtual server, which the
corporation is planning to use to distribute Datawraiths -
digitized human hackers - across the worldwide information
network to give it unparalleled power and influence. After Alan
and Jet crash the server, the CEO of fCon (most likely Dillinger
from the original Tron movie, though this is never confirmed)
orders Bazra, Popoff, and Crowne into the system themselves to
deal with Alan and Jet. However, Alan, wanting to verify the
purity of the correction algorithms, removes them to inspect
them as the three are being digitized, resulting in a monstrous
amalgam of the three, which chases Jet into the digitizing beam.
Jet diverts the three out of the beam and finally escapes the
When Thorne turns a normal program into one of his followers, the
lighting of their circuits turns from blue to yellow.
The Tron arcade game being played by Jet in the employee break
room is very similar, but not exact, to the real word Tron
arcade game cabinet when it came out in 1982 from Bally Midway in
conjunction with the film. There are also posters for Space
Paranoids and Light Cycle hanging on the wall.
At the beginning of the game, an fCon employee asks Jet if his
father would mind if he has some of his popcorn, a callback to the
where Roy Kleinberg asks him if
he can have some of his popcorn. (This joke is visited again in
"The Next Day".) The tabletop popcorn
machine it was apparently popped with appears to be a
When Jet is on the phone with his father at the beginning of the
game, some video game sound effects are heard in the background even
though he is no longer playing the game, nor is anyone else!
Ma3a stands for Math Assistant 3 Audio. Ma3a was preceded by two
earlier versions, Ma1a and Ma2a. Ma1a was designed by Lora as an AI
research assistant. After Lora's death in a lab accident, Alan
designed Ma2a which had many similarities to Lora's personality,
leading to rumors that Alan had somehow integrated Lora's
partially digitized DNA (an email with the subject "Digitizing Technology" dated Oct. 94
reveals that Lora died in a "misfiring laser" mishap in the
digitizing lab of ENCOM) into
the program. Flaws in Ma2a were corrected in version 3, Ma3a.
What appears similar to a Bit, but is actually a Byte, greets Jet
when he arrives in the Electronic World, quickly demonstrating that
it is capable of speaking full sentences, not just the yes/no
answers of Flynn's bit seen in
In computing terminology, a byte is a piece of digital information
usually consisting of eight bits, with a possible 256 combinations.
Jet encounters small creatures in the Electronic World which Byte
explains are Code Optimization Wares, grazing on excess code. Notice
that Code Optimization Ware abbreviates to the acronym COW!
The security control program is named Kernel. In computer parlance,
a kernel is the central module of an operating system, providing
constant management of memory, processes, tasks, and disks.
Kernal refers to his foot soldiers as Regulars. This may be a
reference to "regular expressions" in computer science, a string of
characters used in search or find-and-replace functions.
One of the programs Jet plays against in the light cycle arena is
named Crom. We don't learn anything about this program, so it is
unknown if there is any relationship to the Crom program who
and was derezzed on the game grid by Sark.
Other programs seen in the light cycle arena have names related to
computing or graphics terms, such as Sim, Lan, and TwoD (Simulation;
Local Area Network; Two-dimensional).
During the light cycle races, Jet is told that Mercury has never
been defeated and he asks another program if she's really that good
and get's the response, "Is a beta version buggy?" In computing
terminology, a beta version is software that is released for testing
after all of the applications features have been added; beta testers
will use the beta version software and report the problems or "bugs"
that turn up so they can be fixed before the final product is
released to consumers for purchase.
During his adventure in the Electronic World, Jet (and Mercury)
receive communications from Guest, a user in the real world (who is
later revealed to be Alan himself). The term "guest" is used in many
operating systems to temporarily identify an anonymous user logged
into the system.
it seemed that a rod was useful only for generating a light cycle.
In this game, several different types of rod are used: a rod
primitive, which generates a light cycle and can be used as a weapon
similar to a cattle prod; a suffusion rod, which fires energy
blasts; a LOL rifle, which is basically a digital sniper rifle; and
the rod rifle, which can form a gun on the using program's arms,
firing very powerful blasts, but which weaken the program
significantly. The LOL is named for the
web-speak acronym LOL which means Laugh Out Loud.
Ma3a refers to Alan as Alan1 and Jet, being Alan's son, as Alan2
(until he corrects her later in the game to call him Jet).
One of the programs Jet encounters asks him, "What do you think this
is, Pong?" Pong was the first successful arcade video game.
According to Ma3a, Alan had computed that a user is 526 times more
powerful working from inside the system than from without.
The game also features Alan's updated version of the Tron program
called Tron Legacy (no relation to the
Tron: Legacy film), designed to eliminate Users in the
Electronic World. An email in the game reveals that a flaw in the
program causes it to target all Users instead of just unauthorized
Alan developed the Legacy program to protect Ma3a and it was designed
to eliminate any Users in the Electronic World who threaten her. It seems like a harsh
step to take for a decent guy like Alan! This may be a clue that
Lora's personality really is inside of Ma3a and he would therefore
protect her at virtually (pun intended) any cost.
In computer terms, "legacy" describes outdated software or equipment
still in use in a computer system's environment. It seems odd that
Alan would use the word as part of his program name, but he may
have chosen the name Tron Legacy to suggest the return of the
"righteous" Tron program who defeated the MCP and freed the denizens
of the Electronic World from the MCP's enslavement.
The game reveals that Jet attended Valley High School. This is
likely a fictitious school since
Ghost in the Machine
reveals ENCOM/fCon to be in the San Francisco area and there is no
such school there. (Of course, the canon
Tron: Legacy film reveals the city to be the fictitious
Center City instead.)
Digital bots called Finders are depicted scanning stacks of data.
The name may have been derived from the Apple file manager and
graphical user interface shell used on Macintosh operating systems.
At one point in the game, the System detects unauthorized packets. A
packet is a unit of data carried through a network switch.
Giant worm-like programs called seekers appear in this game. Their
purple coloring indicates they are fCon software. They are sort of
like search engines, seeking (and often destroying) specific things
or programs, such as Jet and Ma3a.
The resource hogs exploder.exe, ImageShop5.0.exe, inlook.exe,
netscope.exe, and reelplyr.exe are parody names of real world
software programs (Windows) Explorer, PhotoShop, Outlook, Netscape,
In the old EN12-82 system, Jet overclocks the system in order to
allow Ma3a to enter. Overclocking is an actual computer term for
increasing the speed of a computer beyond its manufacturer's
During the course of the game, Jet spends time in Internet City. He
is plagued by (parody) banner ads when he first enters the city!
Two of the viruses found in Internet City, Durandal and Ra*mpa^ncy, are
references to the 1994 Apple Macintosh game, Marathon.
In the game, off-duty programs are known to relax at the Progress
Bar. In operating system terminology, a progress bar is a graphical
representation of the progress of a task such as copying files from
one location to another.
The game reveals that one of Flynn's old email hosts is
anotheremail.com. This is, of course, a fictitious domain. The ENCOM
domain is seen to be en.com.
When Alan is sent into the Electronic World, he appears
wearing what is essentially a duplicate of Tron's armor with
the T shape on the chest!
During the battle inside the fCon server, Jet faces many opposing
programs, such as morton_disc_scan.exe, and sbchost.exe. These names
are plays on real world programs Norton Antivirus and Windows'
Spooler.exe is an ICP (Intrusion Countermeasure Program) in the
game. Probably the name is a reference to spooler services that run on
most operating systems and in some programs. For example, the print
spooler service (spoolsv.exe) used by the Microsoft Windows
operating system. (There is also known to be a spooler.exe process
associated with the WIN32.RBOT backdoor trojan, but this worm was
not discovered until 2004, after the Tron 2.0 game had already been
On the light cycle grid near the end of the game, Mercury is
resurrected and says to Jet, "Let's blow these guys to bits." The
reference to blowing "these guys to bits" has the dual meaning of
the blowing up physical objects to bits of debris and, also, the
computing term "bit", the most basic unit of information in
The game suggests that the real world Tron arcade game was designed
by Flynn based on his experiences in the original film.
The game reveals that ENCOM's digitization technology became
unusable after the destruction of the MCP, which ran the algorithms
that allowed the digitization and reintegration of physical objects.
Alan and Lora begin working on a new set of algorithms to regain use of the technology, but it is 20 years later before Alan is
The character skill called Megahurtz which allows the character to
amplify the amount of damage inflicted to opponents is named after
the computer term "megahertz", a unit of measurement of the clock
speed of a microprocessor.
During the game, the player must find permission bits which are keys
that allow the player to proceed to the next level. "Permission bit"
is a term used with Unix and Linux operating systems regarding the
permission levels of users.
The main villain of the game, the CEO of fCon, is never revealed,
but it is hinted that it is actually Ed Dillinger; an email in the
game has the CEO speaking of regaining control of the company
(ENCOM) he used to run. This could also make it Kevin Flynn or
Walter Gibbs, but it seems unlikely given the diabolical nature of
An email seen in the game with the subject of "Worried about my
job!" ends with an ENCOM employee saying, "Btw, can I
have my stapler back?" This may be a reference to the 1999 film
Office Space in which one of the characters entreats others for the
return of his red stapler which he paid for himself.
The game reveals that about 1000 subjective years pass in the
Electronic World for every 20 years in the real world.
The game refers to the tanks as being "read-only", which means they
cannot be derezzed. The term is derived from the computer term
Read-Only Memory (ROM) which applies to prerecorded instructions on
a computer chip that cannot be (easily) erased and which is retained
even when the computer is powered down.
At the end of the game, Jet and Alan are safely back in the real
world and have shut down the offending fCon server. Notice that
Alan's monitor screen appears to show the infamous Windows blue
screen of death after the server goes down!
The very last bit of dialog in the game has Jet asking his father
for a copy of the Mercury program, saying he needs a good
screensaver. Since there seemed to be a hint of an attraction
between Jet and Mercury inside the system, Jet probably wants a
screensaver of her in various poses!
Much more information about the people, places, and things of Tron
2.0 can found at the
so you are a
a Bit to
do a Byte's job.wav
beta version buggy?.wav
what do you think this is, Pong?.wav
526-times more powerful.wav
please remain assembled during authorization.wav
unauthorized packet detected.wav
I challenge you to find a more robust system.wav
retired from use.wav
actually in the computer.wav
guess this is end of line.wav
I'll never drop another laptop as long as I live.wav
a good screensaver.wav