Warning: Spoilers abound. If you haven’t played Uru, I suggest you do so before proceeding. You can buy it at gog.com.
“[L]ooking back at the others about the table, he smiled and raised his goblet. ‘To D’ni!’ he exclaimed. A dozen voices answered him robustly. ‘‘To D’ni!‘” – Myst: The Book of Ti’ana, pg. 142
“There’s a couple things that the fans will like. I think the first is the fact that they get to go to D’ni. And anybody who knows our stuff on a little bit deeper level knows that D’ni is someplace you want to go.” – Rand Miller, interview from Myst 10th Anniversary DVD Edition
Long before Uru was released, it was well-understood among the fan community that the game would finally allow players access to D’ni itself. This was, undoubtedly, the game’s strongest selling point among the fans. It was something of a disappointment, therefore, to find that Ages Beyond Myst offered only cursory glimpses of the Cavern: a couple small balconies, a rooftop, and a tiny office. Sure, you could catch a glimpse of Kerath’s Arch (a well-known D’ni landmark), but unless you were one of the lucky few who had access to Uru Live, D’ni seemed to be nearly as far away as ever. It wasn’t until the collapse of the multiplayer edition that the Cavern was opened to all, in the form of this first expansion pack, To D’ni. It was made available free of charge, which makes it clear that its intent is to grant D’ni access to as many people as possible following the demise of the online community. It’s not much of a game, per se, but it’s not really trying to be: we, the fans, wanted access to D’ni, and they gave it to us. In addition to that we also got some closure to the Uru Live storyline, a objective (albeit a somewhat dull one), and some foreshadowing of the expansion yet to come. Overall it’s somewhat impressive that Cyan Worlds managed to release something of this scope even while reeling from the destruction of its longtime labor of love, but the inescapable fact is that To D’ni‘s meager content is somewhat beaten down by its tedious and repetitive gameplay mechanics. To D’ni wanted to be more than a couple additional environments, but in actuality that would have been enough.
Warning: Spoilers abound. If you haven’t played Uru, I suggest you do so before proceeding. You can buy it at gog.com, and it’s actually on sale this weekend, so why not.
Imagine a new social network based on poems. The site will debut with a selection of original poems, and you and your friends will be able to read them and base your interactions on them. Gradually new poems will be added to the mix and the userbase will be able to slowly understand and help to build a narrative around the poems, creating a sort of living, breathing artwork. It’s a clever idea, and a couple poems released as teasers show that the site has a lot of promise. Sadly, however, when the site finally debuts, something has gone wrong in development. Instead of the vibrant scene you were promised, there’s just one page with a handful of poems. There’s not even anywhere to post a comment. The poems are still well-written, and you enjoy reading them, but you can’t shake the feeling that you could have been a part of something much bigger. Welcome to the beautiful and depressing world of Uru.
Warning: Spoilers abound. If you haven’t played Myst, I suggest you do so before proceeding. You can buy it at gog.com
As Myst approaches its twentieth anniversary, it’s a good time to take a look back and try to understand what it all meant. Writing now, seven years after the final installment was published, much of the fan base has gone silent, Cyan Worlds (the creators) have turned to simple iPhone games, and the series itself has become little more than a tiny blip in the history of video games. Its initial meteoric arrival is well-known, selling 6 million copies and contributing to the rise of the CD-ROM drive. Its safe, no-dying approach appealed to small-time gamers and its uniqueness to the more die-hard breed. Myst was an anomaly in the video-game scene of 1993, and its influence was felt across the field. Still, many of those 6 million players never actually finished the game, and as we have observed, the series has languished into relative oblivion today. As a longtime fan, I naturally think this fate was undeserved, but as a critic I can’t help but see some of the factors which brought it about. Over the next few months we’ll be taking a trip through the series, beginning with the first game and ending with the last (with three stopovers to look at the novels). Now, if you’d care to join me, I have just stumbled across a most intriguing book…
Lots of updates to the site.
First and foremost is Flashlight, the photo series formerly known as Glimpse. The entire series is online now, so do check it out. (I hope to make a “behind-the-scenes” post at a later time.)
Also note the new header, in which I experiment with the logo I designed recently (never before seen online).
Oh, and there’s a new page of Sunrise too. Read it >