Six as a base

Matoran numeral system


This week we’re back in the old universe for good. But let’s start from something light: The numeral system. There will be no shortage of common knowledge in this one, transcribing numbers from one system to another, History of The Mayans etc. (as they say ”The more you know…”). without further ado, I invite you to read. Have fun.

“Math is the queen of  all sciences” we’ve all heard this sentence at least once, and in the matter of fact it’s very true because without it the scientifical progress would be impossible. Today’s topic is also related to Math, but this time on it’s very essentials. Today we’ll talk about Matoran numeral system.

Matorans’ spherical writing has been known in the BIONICLE fandom practically since the beginning of the franchise. The first real use of it is given to the Mata Nui Online Game. Like in every other form of writing, there are symbols that represent numbers, here they are:


As we can see, the digits are the same as in our world, which means that they’re used to write numbers using the decimal system. But what if there was a different numeral system used in the Matoran Universe?

On our planet we use the decimal system for common numeration purposes, because of a very obvious reason – we have ten fingers. This is not  a joke, think about how people would communicate before the invention of writing; they’d share information about quantities using fingers.

Let’s note that, even on planet Earth there were sometimes different numeral systems used. I’ll use the example of mayan and mexican indians’ numeral system (more about it here). Which is a vigesimal system (base-twenty) (and yes, it’s about fingers too, but with toes this time). There are a lot more examples like this, and if you’re interested enough I suggest googling on your own.

So why should we base Matorans’ numbers on the decimal system? Of course it was used, so that the people who know the system could read numbers instinctively, it was about the simplicity of the message. But the expanded universe could base its numbers on a different one. And what number is the most important in Matoran Universe?

Many of you could answer three, and you would be right, it is the most important one because of the Three Virtues. But the number on my mind is the one that had it’s impact not only on the history of BIONICLE but albo on the released sets, Six.

It’s possible that I’m not the first one that got the idea, but as we all know, it’s not about the idea, it’s about evidence. That’s why  I made those graphs. Firstly let’s take a look at the symbols once again, we need to find a certain similarity:


As we can see, the digits from 0 to 5 are different, but from six and up they are repeated with additional circle in the center. Let’s assume for the moment, that symbols 6-9 were added as “replacements”. Now what we’re left with is just the amount of symbols required for heximal system. Here are some examples of numbers written with this method:

But what if 6, 7 ,8 and 9 weren’t added as substitutes, and are regularly used? In that case we’re talking about a duodecimal system (base-12), or if the number of spheres in the center indicate the number of “sixes”? Then we can even count up to 66=36 (Which actually is number of hours in Matoran clock). These systems have a right to exist as well. Why? Because the Matoran universe is a SYSTEM. Which means that there is data being stored inside, and as we know decimal system is not a good choice for this task, not even mentioning heximal (after all the data stored in our computers is based on hexadecimal (16-based)). But at this stage we would need a higher dose of creativity, and I don’t want to depart much from canonical information.

Published: 15-03-2015

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About Author

An eccentric, a philanthropist, a millionaire... I'm not any of these. But I'm a great enthusiast of the LEGO BIONICLE series, and what’s more important than your hobby? I've been a fan of the series since 2002, and since then I’ve sunk in this universe so deeply I don't know what kind of man I’d be without it. I'm also into informatics, digital graphics and Pokemon (As if I wasn’t nerdy enough already).

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