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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:16 am 
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I think if I would have read the retrofitting of Myst I would have hated it more. but I never read it. I got little pieces (Myst is a game and Uru is real, perish that thought!), but I made a point of reading as little of that as I could, because I didn't like it. I still don't. And I hate the story that Cyan, as Cyan, somehow uncovered all that. It's putting Cyan in the story, and I'm not interested in that -- the pretense they didn't make it all up. I find that annoying.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:17 am 
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robynmiller wrote:
But, not knowing, you're forced to imagine. You're forced to wonder. And because you wonder, there is mystery.

This is so fun! :-)


The unknown, unanswered questions of the games & book is one of my favoritest things ever to ponder- there's just so MANY*- and even if one gets answered, another dozen crop up- either ones Cyan intentionally placed, or ones we've pieced together, or ones we've invented ourselves. I don't think we could ever solve enough to take the wonder out of the D'niverse

*My personal faves:
Where's the Gemedet book?
What really happened to Calum?
How did Ti'ana die?
Why did the Bahro kill Wheelie at the moment of her rescue, and not before?
Where did Atrus' mom come from, and what was Gehn doing all that time?

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:25 am 
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LuigiHann wrote:
Yeah, the closest thing to a real "explanation" of the landmarks on Myst island is Atrus's own description of them as "places of protection" in the imager message in that game. Though I do remember RAWA, I think, suggesting that in the Myst-is-based-on-real-events universe, the spaceship is in the game to represent "some unspecified technology," and that it must have served a similar purpose to Gehn's gold dome machines on Riven, to power the link in an impure or incomplete book.

Still doesn't even begin to explain why the spaceship has a pipe organ in it :lol:
The only thing I remember RAWA stating is that there is more to the "real" Myst island than what was shown in the game. I seem to recall that at one point he stated that Myst is actually larger with more places of protection than what was shown. However (again if I remember right), he later clarified (or changed) his stance to say that the "real" island is not necessarily larger than what was shown in the game, but there are still hidden things that we did not see (like bedrooms).

This is all just nerdy Uru canon details and is not actually mentioned in or needed to play any of the games. Things like bedrooms will really always be a mystery. While the canon is necessary for Cyan to keep continuity in Uru's story, I don't think Rand wants to spoil the mystery either.

Eleri wrote:
[The unknown, unanswered questions of the games & book is one of my favoritest things ever to ponder- there's just so MANY*- and even if one gets answered, another dozen crop up- either ones Cyan intentionally placed, or ones we've pieced together, or ones we've invented ourselves. I don't think we could ever solve enough to take the wonder out of the D'niverse

It certainly seems true to me that even when we do get some answers, they are still outnumbered by the things we don't know. Just look at the ages of Uru. Even if we were getting regular new content, I bet there would still always be a closed door taunting us. :)


Last edited by EccentricOne on Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:44 am 
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Ah it seems the thread has progressed quickly during the time I was offline. Yes LuigiHann had the right idea as to what I was referring. I wanted to know how you felt about the changes that were made to the Myst universe after Riven. The trap book controversy definitely falls under that category.

Robyn I did like the explanation you gave me though. I guess there are some elements that are better left to the imagination. It really is so nice to have you on these forums. You seem to have a great appreciation for fans. Many of us have a great appreciation for you as well. The amazing amount of creativity that put into Myst and Riven are what started off this wonderful franchises success. It's really nice to see you on the forums chatting it up with us.

This is turning into a nice speculation thread. :)


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:48 am 
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robynmiller wrote:
I guess my only answer is that the Uru concept you've explained (that Cyan created the games from Catherine's journals) is obtuse and too clever for its own good.


Hi Robyn,

The above thought from you leads me to ask: How much were you involved in the writing of "The Book of Atrus"? You're certainly credited as contributing to it.

The Book of Atrus is not presented as being a transcription of Catherine's Journals, but later books made it out to be so. The Book of Ti'ana's acknowledgements (Which EccentricOne previously quoted - but in a spoiler tag which I didn't open) include, "Not having Robyn's help for this translation, the burden of discovery was taken up by Chris Brandkamp, Richard Watson, and Ryan Miller working closely with David Wingrove." It would appear then that The Book of Ti'ana, from 1996, might represent the first published bit of retcon as to the origins of the Myst story.

(Kudos to Tai'lahr for pointing the Book of Ti'ana quote out to me in EccentricOne's post.)

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Last edited by Marten on Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:48 am 
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/waves to Robyn Blame your brother for the puzzles in Uru if you have a hard time with them! :wink:

I love the mysteries in all of the games, the "whoa, how'd that get there, I saw that in another Myst game, COOL!" moments. One example is at the start of Uru if you head around the left of the big hill there. I remember the first time I'd seen that and thankfully hadn't been spoiled. I remember the additions to realMYST that hadn't been in classic slideshow Myst. I'm not mentioning them because even though the games have been out for a while, there may be people who haven't seen them yet and that whole ah HA feeling is wonderful. :)

And I don't care if someone thinks I'm patootey (sp??) kissing but frankly, one of the biggest things I enjoy about the games is the music, especially Robyn's. Myst, Riven and Uru soundtracks are on my ipod and played frequently. It adds a great deal to the atmosphere and completes the journey in my opinion.

As for the original topic, I guess it's up to the player to decide who the Stranger is to make their experience complete. I'm with mszv, I AM the person Atrus is speaking to in the beginnings, he hands ME the book(s). I'm not the falling man, I always thought that was Atrus... especially since I don't have short hair and big boots. :P

Wow, long post.... go caffeine rush! :shock:

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:51 am 
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:09 am 
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Being a huge stickler for canon and the 'history' of events, this is a very interesting and difficult subject for me...

On one hand, the concept of 'The Stranger' is a frustrating one, because it was one of the major decisions that started the slow unraveling and convolution of the story that we have today. Having spent countless hours working on recaps and 'The History of Myst' and other such documentation, I can personally attest that every passing day has made it more difficult to explain to new people how the Myst and Uru stories have progressed and are related.

On the other end of the spectrum... making Myst and Riven into 'fictionalized reality' made things much more interesting for me personally. Keeping in mind that these events had passed long ago and that the things that were happening NOW (the lead up to Uru and of course, Uru itself) made it easy to close my eyes for a moment and accept that D'ni was a real and beautiful place that I could go visit if I had the means to do so. Even with the changes that were made, up until the arrival of MOUL on GameTap, the canon was stable enough that I could readily believe in all of it.

There was enough history and unanswered questions to keep the mystery alive, even with the 'fictionalized reality' in effect. God knows that I spent enough nights awake until all hours discussing the painting in Sharper's office (3-1-4, anyone remember that?) with a dear friend of mine. The mystery was still there and as great as ever... just the focus had changed.

For me, the secret to enjoying the Myst canon is to hold on tightly to Myst, Riven, and Uru: Ages Beyond Myst/Prologue and to pretend that Myst IV, V, and MOUL never happened. They're good fun and all, but sense not make they do. I won't really throw Myst III into either group, because it was just a fun little side story that did little to help or hinder the history of things.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:20 am 
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Just so Robyn gets a clearer understanding of how Myst and Riven fit into URU's modern day history. I pulled this from DPWR.net. It was a letter to kind of explain the new canon that began popping up when Uru came out. It was made in a web post somewhere, not sure where but it's archived now over at DPWR.



[spoiler]
Quote:
As promised in the "Surfacing" thread...

It has come to my attention that Prof. Jeff Zandi is increasingly getting more and more attention. I'm under the impression that some of the attraction to him is that so little is known about him. In hopes that an unrealistic legend surrounding him is not established (or that those that are beginning are not perpetuated), I've decided to provide a brief glimpse into his background.

To tell this background, it's best to go back about fifteen years. In fact, much of this recent history of D'ni has never been told publicly. Perhaps now is the time.

D'ni was discovered (in the modern era) sometime in 1987, by a gentleman named John "Fighting Branch" Loftin. Almost everyone referred to him as Branch. I don't know the exact date of his discovery, and unfortunately, he isn't around to ask.

Anyway, Branch happened to be fairly close friends with a wealthy archaeologist named Elias Zandi (close friends called him "Eli"). Elias' particular area of expertise and interest was the Southwestern United States.

Elias Zandi was well known in archaeological circles. He had visited a number of sites around the world and procured a number of valuable historical artifacts. He commonly paid top dollar, eccentrically claiming there was some kind of connection between himself and the objects. After a while, he began to focus on Southwest artifacts exclusively, claiming that some of them had a "special mystery". It was during this time that Elias became closely associated with Branch. Branch had a certain knack of finding items that Elias was particularly interested in.

The dam broke loose when, while exploring in some caverns, Branch stumbled upon what we now know were D'ni digging machines. To describe Elias as elated does not come close to portraying the truth. Possessed is possibly a better word. Elias became single minded in his pursuit.

It was 1988, March 19th to be exact, that Branch and Elias made their first trip into the caverns, as documented in Elias' journal. It was a short one, through the entrance, through a small crack, suddenly into D'ni-made tunnels, past the long abandoned diggers, and eventually to the top of the shaft. They returned from that first trip as changed men - Elias writing in his journal, "I have come to a place that I could have never have imagined, and yet it seems I have come home."

It was in 1989, on their third major expedition that they reached the great D'ni cavern and saw the ruined city. Elias' journal stoically describes what they saw, but word has it that he was so overwhelmed that he collapsed to his knees and wept. He realized then that the size of this discovery required him to seek assistance. He made plans to call an old friend.

I had met Elias years before and seen him on numerous expeditions. The two of us, around the same time, but for quite different reasons, began to focus on the southwest U.S. and had several opportunities to work closely together. By 1989, we were fairly close.

After being contacted by Elias, it took me little time to start making plans for a lengthy expedition. I still remember my initial skepticism at his claims, and yet I trusted him, based on our friendship and the information he supplied. At the same time, Elias began the process of purchasing thousands of acres of land surrounding the area where the tunnels had been found. [As a side note, it was also at this time that Elias first contacted the brothers of Rod Miller, a friend of his son Jeff. He wanted to spread the word of his discovery in a very subtle way to others he thought might feel "the call", but I'm getting ahead of myself.]

By the time everything was in place in 1990, Branch, Elias, and myself were ready for our first major expedition to D'ni together. I must admit, with every new thing I saw; with every step I took; the further I got from the surface; the closer I felt to home. That journey ended up lasting more than three weeks and brought the three of us all the way to Ae'gura. It was there we discovered a number of artifacts, including, most importantly, the journals of Catherine.

In 1991, the three of us made another trip, but sadly, Branch did not make it back to the surface. The events of that trip have shaped me, and although I choose not to recount the details, I will note that I broke rules and permitted things that I regret to this day. It was a very trying experience, but neither Elias nor myself could help but continue pushing forward, albeit with some additional care.

By this time we were able to begin translating some of Catherine's journals and other documents that had been found. Elias was passing this information to the Millers on the surface. As information was uncovered, their project shifted from a story about the discovery of the cavern to the stories told by Catherine's journals.

By 1992 things were moving rather quickly. I formed an expeditionary group, with a few of my former colleagues, to perform a much more detailed and lengthy examination of the cavern. (The recruiting stories are amusing - perhaps another time.) Elias did not accompany this group on our trip down. He came down later and met us in the city.

It was this meeting in the city where I realized that Elias and I differed on our views of the future of D'ni. It appeared to me that he was taking some rather extreme view regarding restoring the city to its "original glory" and re-inhabiting it with people who called themselves D'ni. He said things like "We feel the call, for many of us have the blood of D'ni within us, and it calls us home." I must say that I understood some of what he was espousing, but not the extreme to which he was taking it.

Don't misunderstand, I was still committed to the endeavor. D'ni was calling me, maybe not in exactly the way it was calling Elias, but it was calling. So Elias and I continued to work together as he funded the continuing restoration of D'ni. It's interesting to note that from that trip in 1992 until now; the city has never been completely uninhabited.

It was also in late 1992 that I began dividing my time between explorations of the cavern and helping the Miller brothers with their project on the surface. By this time, several of Catherine's journals and many of the other documents we had found had been translated. Elias felt this project would be best served if I were there in person to provide them with information directly. I agreed.

As Elias became more consumed with the restoration, his health began to deteriorate. In 1993 he underwent open-heart surgery, and his doctors warned him to slow down. But his life was tied to the restoration of D'ni, and nothing could slow him down. It would eventually overtake him.

In late 1993 I had the pleasure of bringing Rand, Robyn and Ryan Miller to the city for the first time. They were awed by the place, stating that our descriptions and even photographs of it had not nearly done it justice. This was shortly after their project had been completed, but before it had been released.

Their game Myst, based on the story of Atrus found in Catherine's journals, would go far beyond any of our initial expectations. Elias' desire was not to tell the whole world about D'ni, but rather to specifically spread the word to others who would recognize the tales, even on a subconscious level, and would themselves feel "the call". He expected those who heard the story but didn't feel the call to just dismiss the stories as works of mere fiction. We would all be surprised by the number of people who would feel the call in the years to come.

In 1994 I organized two massive supply trips to move large amounts of supplies and equipment to D'ni. The second trip was affectionately known as the "ice cream" trip because of the number of cones (saftey cones) we brought down.

1995 proved to be rather interesting. It showed the largest spike of small groups of people going out into the desert, looking for a path to D'ni. Invariably, they claimed they were "called" using that same term that we had used. Elias was thrilled. Many of those who came were accepted as volunteers on the restoration project.

In late 1995, November I think, there was another interesting turn of events. Elias had escorted Rand and Robyn back to the city, and Elias' son Jeff was with them. Jeff had been down several times before, but this trip was memorable. Jeff and Elias had a rather large philosophical disagreement over the restoration of the city. Jeff had some strong opinions regarding the path his father was taking and was very vocal. He rather strongly stated that he felt that the restoration was never supposed to be purely physical, but that it was primarily a spiritual renewal. Elias didn't understand that position at all, and the arguments grew heated at many points. As far as I know, the two parted ways after that, and I don't know if they saw each other again.

Sadly, in 1996 my good friend Elias died of a massive heart attack. He left his fortune to the D'ni Restoration Foundation, a nonprofit organization he had established. I was the chair of that foundation and executor of his estate. He left no money to his son, but strangely, he left him the land in New Mexico.

I was somewhat overwhelmed by the responsibility that was thrust on me, and formed the D'ni Restoration Council in January of 1997 to create a group of people to help me oversee the restoration. As time has passed, I've come to be nearly as obsessed with the restoration project as Elias was, tempered by our past mistakes and realizing that this effort must be balanced with a focus on caution.

I've had some contact with Jeff over the years, I even offered him a seat on the DRC, but he refused saying that his vision for the restoration was something beyond what we on the Council could comprehend.

Jeff is a good man; an honest man, and I've always held him in fond regard. Even so, I don't agree with his methods or his misguided vision regarding the restoration of D'ni. That said, I continue to hold out hope that one day we will work together in this grand task.

Dr. Richard A. Watson
[/spoiler]

I hope this helps clear up how things fit together a bit more. It explains why Myst, Riven and the books and games exist, and how they exist within Uru's story.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:32 am 
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I love Myst IV - I think it's one of the best stories in the Myst series. To me it just works. I love the character development. I like Myst III too.

I think this is a not uncommon problem. You have a series of somewhat disjointed works of fiction and you want them all to "fit". So you do the recasting thing, which I don't like.

There are other ways to handle it. You can ignore it. Everything doesn't have to fit perfectly.

You can also have a retelling. I love what JJ Abrams did with Star Trek, a way to tell new stories. Doesn't D'ni have some flavor of alternate realities? You could have done that.

Uru didn't feel any more real to me than Myst, though there was a lot more of it. I don't think those journals in Uru that we found made it seem more real to me -- it made it seem less real to me. I'd read some of the journals and think --- who at Cyan wrote this? Some of it didn't seem like an alien civilization to me -- particularly if you thought about the biases in the writing.

What felt real was moving through the world, how it looked, the ambience, the old machines. That made it seem alive.

And the personal stories seemed more real, the story of the brothers, Atrus and his family. Those were good.

-----------
Just read the post above me -- I remember reading that before. You don't want to know what I thought of it. It's also so weirdly written -- stylistically, that weird mix. And I never could believe the archeologist part "paid top dollar" - huh? That part seemed so fake to me. I remember writing about it in the beta.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:40 am 
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ChloeRhodes wrote:
Just so Robyn gets a clearer understanding of how Myst and Riven fit into URU's modern day history. I pulled this from DPWR.net. It was a letter to kind of explain the new canon that began popping up when Uru came out. It was made in a web post somewhere, not sure where but it's archived now over at DPWR.

A little background on Zandi


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 5:19 am 
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the retcon job exists because of the nature of URU both in the time it's set and its nature as a social experience.

one way to avoid the retcon would be to set the events of URU not as far apart than those of Myst and Riven. URU could have even been a seamless transition from Riven had the series stood at that without Myst's III through V. of course, that would have made for a far different URU than what we have today and a far different series as well. the biggest difference being the lack of multiplayer.

the "stranger" also exists because, if we were all to get together in URU as we have, all of us couldn't have been the stranger. in Myst, you were there, I was there, we all were there... but as far as I'm concerned only I was there because it was my own experience at that time and I didn't share it with anyone else (other than the half dozen friends who'd crowd around my computer monitor :P )

so... like it or not, the retcon is a "necessary evil" as far as i'm concerned. not necessarily an elegant one but it suffices. and it's a small price to pay in order to have URU... unless they were to just throw all interest in continuity out the door... which is why i don't have to consider the retcon as "reality"


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 6:37 am 
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I'll try to make my opinion clearer.

When I play Myst, Riven, Exile or Revelation, and also when I read Book of Atrus, Book of Ti'ana, and Book of D'ni, I don't treat it as an adaption. I don't quite care if it's an adaptions really. I like to experience it simply as an experience. I'm there, experiencing the things myself. After all, that's the purpose of these games and books.

But as I've said on my other post, in the context of Uru, I do like the idea that all these games and books are adaptions of things that happened in the past. When you have one "reality", it's much more immersive. It doesn't take any of the fun and mystery away if it's done right as well.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:08 am 
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Whether one likes it or not, I find it strange that "based on X's journal" could be considered a clever or obtuse concept, considering that it's one of the oldest literary tropes in existence. Tolkien used it, Manzoni used it... heck, even Plato used it.

Personally, I like it and it doesn't take away the pleasure of playing the Myst games as 'myself'. Anything about the Stranger beyond his existence is so nondescript that you can project anything you want on him/her/it.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:57 am 
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I just discovered this on Cyan's Facebook page… Interesting in light of this discussion! http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?s ... 9225241363

It'd be nice if Rand would come in here, too, and be nice and official and help sort everything out… After all, his brother is out-posting him! :lol:

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