“There’s a great deal of history that you should know.” – Atrus (Riven)
As our team are busy playing Obduction for review, I know many of you may not know what this game is about, and many of you who do are wondering if it is worth obtaining. Having been through every Myst game there ever was when I still had a decent pc to play them, I know the history. I’ve been there as the Miller brothers released each iteration in the series, and I kept the Myst games and icons installed on each subsequent computer even after modern software and operating systems could no longer play them. I even went as far as collecting and reading Rand Miller’s Myst: The Book of Atrus and Myst: The Book of Ti’ana.
But enough about me. Let’s take you through the life of Cyan, from the birth of Myst to the creation of Obduction…..
MYST: THE BEGINNING…..
In 1987, brothers Rand and Robyn Miller started a new company called Cyan, Inc. and released a new kind of children’s software they called The Manhole. It was a simple, whimsical, black & white world to explore, with very little to get in the way of the journey. It was well received by children of all ages. The brothers followed up with Cosmic Osmo and Spelunx – two more rich, whimsical, non-threatening worlds for children to explore. The products were heralded by critics receiving rave reviews and countless awards, including Best New Use of a Computer by the Software Publishers Association.
For me, Cyan began with Myst. In 1991 Cyan began work on Myst, a project that would take everything they had learned about making worlds and use it to create a truly unique experience for an older, more sophisticated audience. The goal was to create a new kind of experience that felt more like a place than a game. There were some dramatic breaks from traditional gaming – no dying, no shooting, no starting over, and no inventory. Myst was about finding yourself lost in a world and simply exploring, understanding and becoming part of the story — and the public response was nothing short of phenomenal. The Myst franchise is at 15 million units worldwide making them the best-selling computer games of the last millennia.
Myst was the start of a beautiful mystery that challenged every part of my intellect. Although I would only really get to play this in 1996 when I was 16, I was instantly caught in this fascinating world created by Cyan.
The premise seemed simple enough. You were the Stranger, who stumbled on a mysterious book called “Myst”. You later learn that this is a Linking Book that takes you to a world, created by a special craft which you will only learn more about throughout the series, but even more so in Rand’s novels. For those of you who have not played it, I won’t spoil it for you, but others are welcome to read more about the plot here.
Here’s a great video I found by Jonathan Paula that takes you through the Myst game.
Here’s some fun trivia that even some Myst fans might not have known:
- Myst was nearly a Disney Theme Park (Nerdist.com)
- Myst is in the Smithsonian (MSNBC – Video)
- Myst inspired JJ Abram’s Lost (Wikipedia)
- Myst has been a jeopardy question
- Myst influences Hitchhiker’s Game (Yahoo!)
You can actually still get a copy of Myst by visiting the Cyan website here, or these links:
realMyst on Google Play
realMyst on Amazon
realMyst on App Store
Also, a little secret I discovered when I bought my PSvita, is that it is available on the PlayStation Store under PSP Classics, as you can see on my Vita screen below:
This was by far my favourite Myst game ever for several reasons. Firstly, when I was 17 it was made available on the PS1 at the same time that my parents bought the console for me for Christmas. It was available for rent at a video shop down the road from me and I rented it for weekends on end until I finally finished it.
Later in life, I found the PC boxset and bought it to reclaim my joy of this game. Unfortunately, for some reason the 6 set cds did not want to work on my PC, and I never got to play it ever again. I still have the old PC boxset, and the memories of this fantastic game will live with me and haunt me forever.
Riven continues the story of Myst and The Book of Atrus novel mentioned earlier. You are once again a Stranger, called upon to assist the mighty Atrus find his beloved Catherine that has been kidnapped and held hostage in the Age of Riven. Using a linking book, you must unravel the mysteries of this age and save Catherine… and yourself. You can read more of the plot here.
Here is a lovely video by ThatTommyGirl taking us through this marvelous age of Riven.
Riven is also available on the Cyan website here, or at these locations:
Riven on Google Play
Riven on Amazon
Riven on App Store
I really hope that Riven will receive a remastered edition for the PS4 one day, as I miss this one the most out of all of them.
MYST III : EXILE
The third game in this series I have played one too many times, probably more than any of the others. This was because I was fortunate enough to have a pc at the time that could play it, and then I found a Xbox version of the game that I played on my Xbox 360. It was released in 2001 on PC and then ported to the Xbox and PS2 in 2002.
It is ten years after Riven. You arrive at Atrus and Catherine’s home where he shows you a new Age he has created called Releeshahn. He created this world for the D’ni survivors from Riven. Suddenly, a strange man appears and steals the Linking Book. Only you can go after him, and you hunt him down while discovering why he stole the book in the first place. You can read more of the plot here.
Here is a nice video of the intro and start of the first island by xSelphie1999xHDGaming.
BUY IT NOW on Amazon
Or BUY the Entire First Three Games on Amazon
URU : AGES BEYOND MYST
Uru was Cyan’s first venture to take the Myst universe into online multiplayer game, although this would not be realised immediately. It was released in 2003 as a single player campaign while still allowing players to run around in third person view for the first time and creating avatars. I only had a small taste of this game, but the pc I had at the time couldn’t run it very well. I got to play it on a friend’s pc instead, while keeping my original discs in my safe.
Uru takes place after Myst IV: Revelations, even though it was released before. It is the first time the fantasy world and our world collided in one story. It involves an archaeological dig and the D’ni Restoration Council who are trying to restore D’ni ancient cities and culture. You can read more of the plot here.
Here is a stream of veo2 doing a speedrun of the game.
You can get Uru: The Complete Chronicles, on the Cyan site here, or through the following:
MYST IV: REVELATIONS
This was released a year after Uru in 2004, and I was able to get a DVD for the PC (even though I couldn’t play it on one), and much later in life for the Xbox. Once again we were thrown into the world of Atrus, this time meeting his daughter. It was a nice touch, and the Homestead is so beautiful in the beginning.
After you meet up with Atrus, Catherine and their wonderful daughter Yeesha, terror strikes their home with an explosion and the disappearance of the daughter. You use Linking Books to take you to the prison Ages of Spire and Haven. Atrus’s sons are at it again, and it is up to you to rescue her. You can read the full plot here.
TheMystPlayer takes us through the first part of his Revelations gameplay:
BUY IT NOW on Amazon
MYST V : END OF AGES
The title says it all. I was saddened that this would be the last adventure in the Ages of Myst. Once again, the DVD for Pc I got was purely a trophy to join my full collection, but I did get to play it on my father’s beast of a pc at the time it was released in 2005. I almost didn’t want to finish it, knowing it would be the end. It was a fitting tribute to the series.
You are back in the present, some time after the events of Uru. Atrus sends you a letter, mourning the loss of his sons, Catherine and the possibility that Yeesha may be lost as well. A Linking Book back to the original Age of Myst is found. Through your journey you find Yeesha, who is trying to unlock a tablet’s power. She leaves this up to you. For the entire plot, you can read it here.
Here is a speedrun attempted by Veo2.
You can buy Myst V from the Cyan site here, or from the following:
MYST ONLINE: URU LIVE
After five products in the Myst series, Cyan turned its attention to making an exciting new kind of Myst world, a never ending world that would allow players to explore together. Uru (Myst Online) allowed players to join the adventure of a lifetime in the caverns of D’ni. It spawned a thriving community and is still available to explore for free.
I never got to try this out, having moved far away from PC and sticking mainly to console, but I hope to see Cyan build such a world for the PS4 soon.
This went through various stages of development and publications, namely:
Cyan Worlds (2004-2007: Until Uru)
Cyan Worlds (2010-present)
Here you can see Sidney Rutledge trying it out.
You can visit the site here to play it live.
And now… here we are. 2017. The moment so many of us have been waiting for. I have been playing Obduction every day since its release, but very slowly. I want to take in every moment, every sound, every sight. One of our writers, Jonny Lupsha, is busy playing it for review for AIR Entertainment, thanks to Cyan so kindly providing us with a review key. Jonny has sent me this short teaser so long:
After just over an hour with Cyan’s new first-person adventure/puzzler Obduction, it’s already clear that Rand Miller and co. have stayed true to the Myst series’ trademark design elements while bringing the whole concept into today’s gaming industry. For example, you can expect to follow fuel and power lines along hundreds of meters to find their sources and learn how to restart them, ride ancient hand-operated elevators, you’ll find FMV-captured characters with whom to interact and of course you’re dropped alone into an exotic landscape of impossible anachronisms in the midst of a mysterious conflict between the realm’s long-time inhabitants. At the same time, you move in 360-degree full-motion through environments that are rendered in real time and the beauty of the game is only capable through modern development tools and processing power. At this point it’s everything I loved about the Myst series, nothing I didn’t and a lot of what I’d hoped for.
So that Jonny can simply focus on his review, here is a video on some Accolades that Obduction has already received:
Once the review is done, I will return with some more Obduction goodies, such as Interviews held with Rand on the game, some gameplay videos by Polygon and Kotaku, PlayStation announcements and Livestreams shared by Cyan with us.
Join us as we get involved as much with the Obduction world as possible. You can buy Obduction in the following ways:
Mac App Store:
There are also these Communities that you can join: