• Got Bread?
    Summer Lake Cabin
  • The English Robin
    The English Robin
  • Japanese Maple
    Japanese Maple
  • Waterton Lakes Valley
    Waterton Lakes Valley
  • Magic Mushrooms
    Magic Mushrooms
  • Skywing
  • Fairy Stream
    Fairy Stream
  • Canadian Fall
    Canadian Fall
  • Amethyst Sky
    Amethyst Sky
  • Summer Lake Cabin
    Summer Lake Cabin
  • Stormy Mountain Sunset
    Stormy Mountain Sunset

Monthly archives: February, 2015



Presently, I have forty-one games in my Steam library (small, compared to many gamers) of which I’ve only played about half to completion or an end-game state. I tend not to be the type of gamer who rushes out and gets the newest release; my library is composed mainly of games I became fond of by watching other people play (with the intent to one day play them myself), as well as games I played in years past on much older operating systems that have since been digitized and rereleased.

Recently I got an itch to revisit a game series that, next to the first-gen Nintendo, is probably primarily responsible for getting me into gaming in the first place: Myst.


The Myst linking book.

Myst came out for Mac OS in 1993. I was twelve and didn’t have a computer at the time, but a few years later I started babysitting a couple of boys up the street whose mother was in graphic design and had a monstrous-sized Mac. The boys and I would play Myst on it together.

I was hooked. This game captured my interest like nothing else I’d experienced until then. As soon as I got my first PC (a Tandy!), Myst was a game I absolutely had to have. The original version was a point-and-click slideshow puzzle adventure with a few bits of Quicktime video slotted in. The version I bought came with an official Myst journal for the player to use. I still have this journal with all my penciled-in notes, sketches, and questions. It still has lots of blank pages in it for future adventures.

Later on, Rand and Robyn Miller, the original developers, also released some novels, and I had to have those too. And then the soundtrack. And then the sequel, and the soundtrack to that. And so on.

In 2000, realMyst: Interactive 3D Edition came out, and somewhere along the way I picked it up on Steam. It’s spiffier than the original in that the entire game has been redone to render in real-time and with 360° free movement. It has some new surprises tucked into it, but the textures are looking a bit dated by today’s standards. (There is a masterpiece edition of realMyst out that uses modern textures that I will purchase in the future.)

Regardless, for me, Myst has lost none of its charm. Over the last week I took my time revisiting this world and put just over eight hours of gametime into realMyst. I plan to progress through the rest of the series. Here is my adventure.

Fair warning: if you’ve never played Myst, there are spoilers ahead!

realMyst Review


I ran realMyst on:

  • Win 8.1 64bit
  • Intel Core i7-4710HQ CPU @ 2.50GHz
  • GeForce GTX 980M
  • 16.0 GB RAM
  • compatibility mode set to Win XP SP3
  • running as an administrator

The original Myst came out when I was a teenager. I loved it then and devoured not only the game and its sequels but also the novels and the soundtracks. Now, many years later, I’ve revisited the island.

Putting the HOTE Puzzle Together

In the last few days, a long-time visitor has peppered some of the Heart of the Empire pages with comments, which was wonderful for me to see during what was otherwise a pretty difficult week. So, thank you for that! They made my day. :)

I wanted to take a moment to share a little bit of what has been going on behind the scenes on the creative side of my life. Since I’ve been concentrating on trying to get ready to put my home up for sale, there hasn’t been much, but there is some!

An incomplete picture.

An incomplete picture.

In a prior post I mentioned one task on my “to do” list has been to revisit the plot of HOTE and fix some long-standing problems with the story. Those problems have been the major reason the story itself has not advanced in some years.

To date, writing HOTE has kind of been like putting together a puzzle where I was sure at the start that I knew what the puzzle’s image was supposed to look like, but when I actually got down to putting the pieces together it turned out they didn’t quite fit together as expected, or the overall picture had morphed into something else when I wasn’t looking. Or both.