Cover

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Title Page

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Copyright

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Acknowledgments

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First, I would like to thank the Miller brothers and Cyan Worlds (formerly Cyan); Myst (1993) and Riven (1997) are among my favorite games, and I have come to appreciate them even more during the writing of this book. I would also like to thank Warren Robinett for technical information, Tom Krenzke for reference assistance, and especially Richard "RAWA" Watson...

Contents

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Introduction

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pp. 1-2

Myst (1993) and Riven: The Sequel to Myst (1997) are landmark video games not only within the genre of adventure games but within video game history as well. Not only was Myst for almost a decade the best-selling video game of all time, but it helped to introduce CD-ROM-based gaming and encouraged the sales of CD-ROM drives so that people could play it. It...

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The Myst Phenomenon

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pp. 3-6

The first time I encountered Myst was at the 1994 Digital World Expo in Los Angeles. A back room, away from the noise of the main convention halls, was lined with software booths where companies were promoting and hyping their latest products. Among them one vendor area stood out not for what it had, but for what it lacked: the lighting was minimal, almost dark...

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Myst and the Adventure Game Genre

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pp. 7-21

Attempting to define the genre in such a way as to distinguish it from other genres, it seemed to me that the game's world and the player's use and experience of it are at the core of the adventure game. Many adventure games, while they have monsters and other characters opposed to the player's character, do not have an antagonist in the classic sense. The game's...

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Early Works of the Miller Brothers

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pp. 22-34

In 1987, brothers Rand and Robyn Miller formed the company Cyan (which was briefly known as "Prolog," the name of Rand Miller's consulting company)1 and began working on their first program, The Manhole (1987), one of the first entertainment products to appear on CD-ROM. The Manhole was a software program for children, made in black and white for the...

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The World of Myst

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pp. 35-72

Myst is the story of a father, Atrus, and his two sons, Sirrus and Achenar. They are part of the D'ni culture, a people who have perfected the art of writing Ages, which describe worlds that can be traveled to with "linking books." Placing one's hand on the image inside the book, allows one to travel (or "link") to the world described. While initially in the Myst mythology...

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Beyond the Game: The Other Myst Products

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pp. 73-78

Looking beyond Myst itself, we can first note what came with it; all three versions of Myst had different extras included on their CD-ROMs. The original version of Myst contains a short documentary, The Making of Myst, describing the stages of the game's creation. Short documentaries on the making of Riven and the making of Myst II: Exile would later be made, but...

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From Myst to Riven: Subcreation and Expansion

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pp. 79-83

In both Kadrey's From Myst to Riven book and an interview in Wired magazine, the Miller brothers make the analogy that Myst is to Riven what Tolkien's The Hobbit was to The Lord of the Rings. Likewise, the idea of Descriptive Books and linking books that link to alternate worlds in the Terokh Jeruth, the "great tree of possibility," is analogous to the process of subcreation...

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The World of Riven

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pp. 84-105

Like Myst, the box for Riven shows sample images from the game, and text that extols the game's advances (except for the "Collector's Edition" box for Riven, which has a wood grain background and a primitive-style drawing of Atrus and the book falling). The main image on the cover, however, is from the game but curiously not from the Age of Riven itself; it is the rebel hive...

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Riven's Fortunes and the Rest of the Myst Series

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pp. 106-108

Riven was released October 28, 1997, rather late in the year, yet it still went on to be the best-selling game and the second-best-selling software title of 1997, with 640,000 units sold by year end; it was beaten only by Microsoft's Windows 95 CD Upgrade, which sold 659,000 units.1 By early March 1998, Riven would reach one million units sold, generating new interest in...

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Myst's and Riven's Influence on the Adventure Game Genre

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pp. 109-111

In the years following Myst, the adventure game genre grew as other games using a similar point-and-click style of adventuring in mysterious, computer-generated 3-D landscapes hoped to intrigue audiences who had played Myst. The number of games influenced by Myst was so great that Just Adventure...

Notes

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pp. 113-117

Glossary

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pp. 119-121

Index

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pp. 123-125