[This is a very long post - feel free to read only part of it!]
Today's generation of gamer - coming up from Call of Duty and Minecraft upbringings - have lost the knowledge of games that have made video games as popular as they are on the PC. Personally, my favorite games are those that proved that games on the computer really were not just a fad. Most notably, the puzzle-adventure games, Myst and The Longest Journey are two games that I adore and have practically memorized the storylines and backstories to. Myst first released in 1993 and spread over several years in it's 6 game series which has combined one of the most profitable game series of all time. But have you heard of it?
Myst is a 6 game series, a puzzle-adventure series that provides a remarkable story and an amazing example of progression of games over the years. Myst started as one game written and created by a tiny team, led by brothers Robyn and Rand Miller, and spread to pass between many companies, spawned 3 novels, and created the most immersive series of games I've ever found. If you are interested in learning about my favorite series of games, read the game summaries below, or skip to my piece on the Longest Journey.
Myst Backstory : The D'ni
Underneath the earth, somewhere below New Mexico lies a Great Shaft. A huge tunnel that goes straight down to an enormous underground cavern only lit up by bacteria in the water and large marbles that hold energy. This Cavern is the ruins of the D'ni civilization. The D'ni, many many years ago traveled below the earth to start a new civilization. Their civilization quickly developed very different technology than humans on earth. The D'ni had found the power of the Art.
D'ni writers had long been developing a way to not only write about worlds, but to travel to worlds you wrote about. This didn't mean that someone would be going to the Hunger Games arena, it meant that they could create fantastic worlds for farming, or a world that was perfect for creating fire marbles. Their power was honed so well that books could be created that linked to any age their skill and mind could conceive. By touching a panel inside the book, a traveler would be transported directly to the new world and could use a similar book to get back. Eventually the D'ni civilization collapsed, sometime around the 1800s and the survivors of revolt scattered themselves to different ages and to different parts of Earth. Our story begins in the early 1800s...
Myst, the first game in the Myst series, is not the best game in the entire series, but it starts the series off with a game that was far ahead of it's time in 1993. The story begins with you, The Stranger, finding a book in the pitch black of night. That book however, is not a normal book to read. The first page is lit up and a picture of a new world, Myst Island, changes and zooms around. Upon placing your hand on the picture, you are teleported (or linked) to the world in the picture! There is nobody on the age (what worlds are referred to as) you have linked into, and there is no apparent way to go back to where you came. You are forced to explore.
You come across two books. Each one can take a blue or red page (for a blue and red book), and upon adding a page to the book, the picture inside becomes more clear. There is one man in each book that talks to you through the panel, begging for more pages for their book so that they can be released from their cruel prison. The Stranger then embarks on a journey, visiting ages such as Channelwood, Stoneship among others, scouring for blue or red pages. Eventually however, the boys tell you that they need just one more page, and how to find it. Upon finding the page they need, the Stranger also finds a book. This book links to a man named Atrus, who is the father of the two men. They are his sons, and they are were trapped for murdering and stealing from so many ages, including the ones you had visited.
The Stranger is forced with a decision, get a page for Atrus so he may go back to Myst, or give a blue or a red page to one of the sons. Following Atrus's instructions, the tyranny of Sirrus and Achenar (the names of the sons) are ended for good (or so we think). We link to Atrus and he goes to Myst, burning the books his sons were in. They still were trapped in their ages, but there is no linking book back to that age on Myst. The game leaves with Atrus thanking us, and telling us that the ending has not yet been written.
Riven continues where the Stranger left off. Only a few days after the events of Myst, Atrus tells the Stranger that there is no way back to his home where they currently are, and Atrus needs a favor before he will be able to get the Stranger back home. Atrus sends us on a journey to rescue his wife, Catherine, from his father - the wicked Gehn. He tells us to take another prison book to trap Gehn once and for all. Once we link to the age where Catherine and Gehn are trapped (Riven), we are trapped in a prison cell. A guard, commanded by Gehn, takes the prison book from us, probably not knowing what it really is. He almost links inside, but decides better of it only to be knocked out by a poison dart. Still trapped in the cell, we watch as a rebel against Gehn takes the book from the guard and drags him off screen after breaking the gate and releasing us.
Riven, unlike all of the ages in Myst, is currently inhabited. The Rivenese people have been split into two factions, the Moiety rebellion and those who are loyal to Gehn. Gehn wrote Riven initially but was not a successful writer and the age is unstable. Eventually the age is destined to collapse, and would almost immediately if it were not for Atrus keeping the age stable by writing in it's book back where we last saw him. Gehn asserted him as a god and a leader in Riven and eventually did gain support but not without discontent from others. The Moiety attempted to undermine Gehn's work in the ages, but were stunned when Catherine, one of their leaders and Atrus's wife, was trapped by Gehn. In essence, Gehn locked up his daughter-in-law.
The Stranger now solves the puzzles of the game, needing to release Catherine, get the prison book back, and trap Gehn. The Stranger finds another linking book hidden on Riven - a link to the age Tay. Unbeknownst to Gehn, the Moiety rebellion has their own age where many of them are living and extracting resources. In Tay, the Stranger is once again captured and is taken to the giant tree, of the iconic symbols of Riven. In the rebel tree, the Stranger finds the prison book, is given Catherine's journal and makes his/her way back to Riven to complete the task.
Eventually releasing Catherine and trapping Gehn (after visiting Gehn's newest age to find him), the Stranger goes to signal Atrus. He bursts open a hole in the Star Fissure, a fabric beneath frail ages. Atrus, noticing the disturbance, comes to link back to Myst with Catherine leaving us to fall into the Star Fissure. Where does the Star Fissure end up, though? None other than New Mexico, where we found the book in the beginning of Myst on a starry night.
I'm currently streaming speedruns of Exile, so this is where I will stop my summaries for now (I'll add on others later!) I will be streaming my last part of my Exile playthrough today at 3:00 EST on
www.twitch.tv/valentinoian Come watch and interact! I'll be starting my speedrunning of the game in the coming weeks!
URU: Ages Beyond Myst
End of Ages
The Longest Journey
I mentioned the Longest Journey in this post, not only because it is a WONDERFUL adventure game, but they have started a Kickstarter for a 3rd game in the series. They already met their main goal, so we are going to be getting to see Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey. If you want me to talk further about the Longest Journey, let me know and I'll type up a post about it!
Most people here already know that I'm a fan of the Myst series of games as well - although I've never played The Longest Journey. I remember wandering about Myst Island when I was a little kid, playing the game on our old desktop Macintosh - I was never able to solve any of the puzzles, but I was always in awe of the (at the time) amazing graphics. It wasn't until several years later that I came back to Myst and was able to beat it. Over the last few years I've played through and beaten all the games (except Uru, which for some reason is Windows-only). I most recently beat Myst V: End of Ages this past summer.
My ranking of the five games I've played, from best to worst, would be Riven -> Exile -> Myst -> Revelation -> End of Ages.
I completely agree, Riven is by far the best game, possibly that I've ever played. I wish you could play URU with me, it is one of my favorites. If I get enough interest, I'll stream it or do a video series of it. What do you think?
You forgot to add Half Life 1 in 1998 HL showed how real sience fiction (and fps?) games should look and also pushed Valves name to bigger public. That's one of my favorite games and it has most misteryousity from all games i have played.
On serious note nice review. I haven't played any of those games (and shame I haven't) but it gave me intrest to try them sometime.
Some guy that does DTS shapes and levels.
AWESOME timeHINT : When making PQ level place your custom interiors and textures in platinum/data/interiors_pq/custom
makes life easier for you and everyone else