• 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

Tag: roleplay

The Fifth Age: Riven – Day One

I recently 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. The first game in this series is called Myst. The sequel is called Riven.

D'ni number five.

D’ni number five.

Riven was released simultaneously for PC and Mac in 1997, and I must have picked it up right away. It starts off more or less right after Myst ends and is quite a bit longer and more involved compared to the first game. I have memories of playing it while still in high school. A friend played it at the same time and I remember talking with her over the phone about the puzzles we were both stuck on. Sometimes we would play together via phone and talk our way through what we saw.

Now I have Riven on Steam, and it’s time to walk the paths of the Fifth Age once more. Unlike realMyst, Riven has not (yet?) been updated for more modern machines and play; it’s still the point-and-click slideshow (with occasional Quicktime movies) puzzle adventure it originally was. A fan project called The Starry Expanse is working on updating the game with Cyan’s support, and I hope to see that succeed.

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



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!



Thanks to Bataav, Daniel Alpena, Devan Corvel, and Maruvindi for their written contributions.
The original posts are here.

Intaki Prime – South Hemisphere

Gray light seeped into clouds of mist rising off the surface of the pond. Wisps of vapor twisted and undulated in a slow, mesmerizing dance until they were lost from sight against the gradually brightening sky. The hush of night lingered, swallowing the echo of a shore bird’s call. The bird did not cry out again.

Dawn broke. The first rays of Intaki’s red sun speared the mist; morning exploded in the fog like a spray of blood and the vapors began to recede. The pond beneath the swirling veil was flat as glass and black as space.

Sakaane watched the spectacle from beneath the boughs of a tree growing at the water’s edge. She stood still, not wanting to disturb the quiet, almost cool morning. It was the height of summer in the southern Intaki hemisphere and the heavy, humid air hinted at the stifling heat that would soon come.

A low sound, not quite a slurp, caught her attention. She looked: some thirty feet away, the water rippled where a fish had risen to the surface. It had been a big one, she knew, mature enough to know to take its prey quietly and then slip away. Younger, inexperienced fish tended to get overly excited when food presented, jumping and splashing at the surface and thus making themselves easy targets.

The ripples reached the pond’s embankment, a sharp edge just inches from the toe of her shoe, and made the water lap gently against it. She looked down upon hearing the sound. The ground was covered in grass and ferns growing at the base of the tree; dew had soaked into the hem of her robes. The tree’s roots jutted out in a tangled mess below the waterline and disappeared into the pond’s dark depths.

A smile curved her lips. It was the young and inexperienced fish who, if lucky enough to survive a few close encounters, learned discipline and patience, and went on to catch bigger, better prey of its own.



Thanks to Saxon Hawke for his written contributions.
The original posts are here.

Intaki V – Moon 5 – Astral Mining Inc. Refinery

The docking tug released her ship; the pod gantry extracted her capsule. Sakaane prepared for the usual amount of discomfort that accompanied disembarkation.

“Have you been expecting a delivery, or a message?” Bataav asked over their private channel.

The black pod suit peeled off and hit the floor of the washroom in the captain’s quarters with a wet plop. Slimy rivulets of containment fluid dribbled down her body into inconvenient crevices. She reached for the shower knob.

“No. Why?”

Bataav hesitated before answering. “A courier showed up shortly after you left. His credentials seem to check out.”

The bar of soap squirted out of her hands. She let it fall unheeded to the floor and tried to fight down a sudden irrational surge of anxiety. Darac Rin’s couriers had had verifiable credentials, too, else they would never have been allowed on the station, never mind granted access to the restricted capsuleer zones. That hadn’t stopped them from bringing her ill news.

A Delivery

A Delivery

Intaki V – Moon 5 – Astral Mining Inc. Refinery

Another late night—or a very early morning, depending on the point of view. Sakaane’s office was dark; only the holodisplay floating before her cast a pale, glowing light.

A summary scrolled past on the display. It was a rundown of combat statistics for the alliance, automatically produced to summarize the previous twenty-four hours’ activity. It had four entries on it, all coded red: losses.

She glanced briefly at the first one. Daniel Alpena and Spar Jamlamin of Repo. had fought in Aunsou, with Spar’s Thrasher destroying the ILF Rifter. There were no comments appended to the kill report; she made a mental note to ask Daniel about it later.

The next three entries made her bite her lip. The Coreli war was now into its seventh week and engagements continued to prove frustrating. Earlier that month it had been publicly confirmed that Coreli ships intended for use in the campaign against IPI tended to be fit with warp core stabilizers, allowing them to slip the field and escape from any engagement where they might otherwise be destroyed. In the face of this tactic some IPI pilots had decided to make an effort to return to the alliance’s normal activities. But of course the war meant no system was safe, and Coreli had well-paid locator agents in their employ. The next entry in the summary showed Joshua Foiritain had used a Rapier to attack an empty Occator belonging to Alessa Leon in Hatakani, no doubt while she was on a run to fetch supplies destined for the Intaki V-5 trade hub. Approximately half an hour later, it seemed Alessa and Daniel caught up to the Coreli CEO in Stacmon only to have both of their ships destroyed minutes apart by his Pilgrim.

Sakaane wiped the report off the display and leaned forward, elbows on the desk, to rest her forehead in her hands.

A Request

A Request

Intaki V – Moon 5 – Astral Mining Inc. Refinery

The office was more or less dark, save for a small lamp. Its glow cast a dim pool of light on the desk.

Sakaane sat quietly, contemplating the photographs highlighted by the light. They were large prints and intended to be two sets. The first of each set was made more or less irrelevant thanks to their blurred contents. The second photo of the second set showed slightly more detail but was still too out of focus to discern its details. The third of the first set showed, in crystal clarity, what its predecessors had only hinted at. A shot of her mother sitting on the deck at sunset, mouth open in a soundless scream of terror.

The second set was incomplete. The photos had been delivered but destroyed sight unseen. Despite this, despite how dark and vague its first picture was, somewhere deep inside she feared she knew what the others would have shown, though she dared not admit it to herself.