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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 6:00 pm 
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WOW, it's Robyn Miller! If this thread hadn't been brought to my attention by someone at MystCommunity (you're welcome to create an account there as well, Robyn ;)) I think I would've continued ignoring it. I mean, I did see it before, but I looked at the thread title and thought it was just the same old same old again. If I'd seen your name next to it, I'd probably still have thought it was the same old same old, but this time written by someone pretending to be Robyn Miller. To cut a long story short: I never expected you to appear on this forum. And now that you're here I obviously can't wait to ask you loads of questions. Sorry! :P

It amazes me to read that pretty much everything you've said so far is in line with the things I've said over the years - well, except the parts about having designed Myst and Riven, obviously - but those parts confirmed some things I've felt all along, but could never prove before. I'm not really into Star Wars (I like Star Trek better), but I feel your pain, because it's the EXACT pain I've felt over all the retconning we've had to endure in the Myst universe. The fact that you're in complete agreement with me about everything Myst makes me feel so vindicated! :) I really have to keep myself from going all "I told you so!" now, I'm afraid... ;)

You see, I've said this before, probably also on public forums (although I can't be bothered to look up any quotes), but to me you're the true genius behind Myst. That's not to say Rand is not a genius (of course he is) or that the others weren't important, but you are the genius. It's like the Jagger/Richards song writing partnership. Keith Richards is a genius, but Mick Jagger is the genius. I mean, the guy wrote Brown Sugar and the lyrics to Street Fighting Man. Need I say more?

Now that I've gone off on a music-related tangent, I feel a need to share a little story that isn't very relevant in the context of this post, but I feel like writing it down anyway. You may skip this paragraph without consequence. ;) Anyway, I really love the music of Myst because it fits the mood of the game so perfectly. I liked the music of Riven a bit less already because it blends in just a bit too perfectly. At times, I forgot there was any music at all. Myst had music that was pretty much always there. Neither style is objectively better than the other, but personally I prefer Myst. I really dislike the music that Jack Wall made for Myst III and IV and Tim Larkin's music is only so-so in my opinion. I apologize for the pun, but you're the only one that managed to hit the right chord when it came to music! Myst has the best music ever in any game and I love it dearly. So, I went to show Myst (RealMyst, actually) to a friend of mine who's mostly into classical music (which I hate), because I was curious what he'd think. We had some trouble getting it to work on his computer, so I had to play the game a bit to see if things worked properly, trying not to spoil anything. Now as I said, he's very muscial (I'm not - I like listening to it and I can sing, but that's it), so I took him to the spaceship to show the puzzle there. I explained that it was an easy puzzle for me and that I easily got it right every time, that I was just comparing the notes by ear. I can always hear if the note being played matches the note that was played on the organ, but I know some people find this so difficult that they're completely unable to complete that puzzle. I'm not sure what the technical term is for having the ability to hear it (relative pitch, maybe - but that would seem to entail more than just comparing notes in a lower-equal-higher fashion), but I obviously have it and by consequence, so should he - because, as I said, he's infinitely more musical than I am. This is probably the part where I should mention that he plays piano and people say he's very good at it. So anyway, we never got to the point of figuring out how the puzzle worked for him, because he just looked at the organ and noticed it didn't have the right number of pipes. I'm not sure if there were too many or too few, I believe there were too few, but in any case, the organ's number of pipes didn't match its number of keys. And I was so disappointed by this... Here I was showing off my favorite game that was so perfect in every way, and within a few minutes of playing he shows me that a mistake was made. To this day it still pains me and I think that captures the very essence of why Myst is so great. In any other game, I wouldn't have cared about such a minor error. But Myst is REAL. I don't want it to contain these little goofs, I want it to be real! :cry:

With that out of the way, I guess I should get down to business, right? I'll restrict myself to asking just a few questions at first:
What are your thoughts about the changes in the way books (prison books in particular) work, between Myst and Riven? In Myst, the books (some books at least) act like videophones. In Riven, they just display an animation of what the Age looks like. You can't see Gehn inside his prison book after you've trapped him, whereas you could see Sirrus and Achenar in Myst. Several explanations have been given in the past, but I'd like to hear it directly from you.
When you were designing Myst, was it set in the "present day" (i.e. late twentieth century) or in the early nineteenth century? Did this ever change during your time at Cyan? Myst obviously needs to be set in the present if you are you, but the idea that it actually happened centuries ago surfaced pretty early on.
What's up with Atrus' letter on the Myst box? I mean the "My only hope is that I can find the answer before it's too la" one.


Last edited by Free Bird on Tue Oct 11, 2011 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 6:06 pm 
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Hey, I'm no Stranger than you are! Hmmm.

Robyn, I first bumped into Cyan, you and Rand when the Spokesman Review had an article about Myst prior to its release. I e-mailed you (Cyan had an AOL e-mail address, and I was a member back then) to see if I could help beta test it. I was totally bummed when you answered saying the game was to be released on the Mac, not PC.

Imagine my surprise later when it DID come out for the PC. My sons and I played that puppy until it was solved. My wife came in one afternoon about 2:00 to watch, and didn't notice it was dark out until about 10:00. It totally sucked her into the Myst world, too.

Then Riven, etc. Thanks for the years of game play and fun.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:34 pm 
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Please!
Are you guys seeing how amazing this is? Before pitting people against each other as to who is the creative genius behind something or other bethink what your beeing privy to now! The rememberance and reliving, live, of a creative process that in someway or another has had part in forming our lives. 'nergasm' is the Word. (I just learnt in t'other thread.)
I remember waiting 'ages' for those spy images to download over My 19k modem. Just to catch a glimpse at the marvel. There was to be a sequel to Myst. Oh how we waited, Kristina and me.
Can you even begin to calculate the hours of joy that process led up to only in the first run of those who bought Riven upon its release. propably incalculable. It is truly awesome, and well worth a thought before before assigning an uneducated guess as to who deserves praise over the other.

I'm so happy to be here,

Written conversation is a tricky thing. Written conversation with an auience even trickier.

Edit: One more thing. Robyn, the sound fx and music in myst is wonderful. But on the making of myst movie you proudly demonstrate that wrench, and I must admit, that was the only fx i didn't get :)
PS: unfortunately the designers of myst3and4 missed 'the making of..." because they added game music.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:01 pm 
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This is what I always thought with Myst.
The original Myst game was intended to be a story of Atrus, sons, and YOU. On an island.
Mystery. Ooh. Ahh. (I know i have a way with words) :D
Then they fleshed out the story. It created wonderful new worlds and stories. BUt I wish it hadn't neutered Myst Island and channelwood and etc.
I often wonder what the story would be if it followed the island story.
Do I like the new story? Yes. In fact, I read all 3 books and have all the games (though Im partway through 3 and haven't played 4 or 5 yet, I need to get back to that sometime)
It also got me into Peter Gabriel, who is now my favorite musical artist (in fact I'm listening to his new album right now). As for Music, i have all the music of myst games and ambo, though the only soundtrack I have on my ipod in full is Myst. (Simply a matter of storage space)

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:43 pm 
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Rudolfson wrote:
It is truly awesome, and well worth a thought before before assigning an uneducated guess as to who deserves praise over the other.

You talkin' to me? If so, I'm not guessing about anything, unless you claim I shouldn't hold the game's credits to be true.
Rudolfson wrote:
One more thing. Robyn, the sound fx and music in myst is wonderful. But on the making of myst movie you proudly demonstrate that wrench, and I must admit, that was the only fx i didn't get :)

That was Chris Brandkamp (who, as you apparently failed to notice, doesn't look anything like Sirrus). ;)


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:24 am 
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Rudolfson wrote:
PS: unfortunately the designers of myst3and4 missed 'the making of..." because they added game music.


Mmm, you say 'unfortunately', but I'm a fan of the music from all of the games. All three composers for the Myst series have brought something new and interesting to the table...

Robyn's music goes a long way to elicit emotional feelings. When I listen to the Myst and Riven soundtracks, I hear music that speaks to me about the sense of wonder, amazement, fear and doubt that so heavily pervades each game. This is the music the describes what you FEEL.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoEOGtGRh0w (Riven - Robyn Miller - Catherine's Freedom)

Listening to Catherine's Freedom fills me with a sense of temporary success, followed by a steadily growing urgency... the weight of the choice I've made falling onto my shoulders, knowing that it's only a matter of time before Gehn's forces realize something is amiss.

Jack Wall's soundtracks are more similar to a movie score, describing the events that are unfolding before you. Old machinery roaring to life, plant life swaying in the breeze, a man coming to hammer you in the face... this is the sound of what you DO and SEE.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8O0COg6R2Ok (Myst IV: Revelation - Jack Wall - Leaving Spire)

Leaving Spire is an excellent example of this. As soon as the track starts, it's easy to 'see' the gears clanking away as the platform propels you up and out of the age, gradually pushing you upward a step at a time.

Tim Larkin takes things in yet another direction. Tim's tracks speak not of emotions or actions, but of a place. Music to describe a location, to convey a sense of natural versus man-made, wet and dry, hot or cold. These sounds give a sense of where you ARE.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpIf1nFpa7E (Uru - Tim Larkin - Convergence)

Convergence goes a long way to describe the openness of the Gahreesen jungle after having spent a fair amount of time in claustrophobic stone hallways. The track is full of sounds that allude to nature and open space, a far cry from the cold grey walls that you just escaped from.

Now, the question is... what kind of music can we expect from the Myst movie? Probably something more in-line with Jack Wall, but here's hoping there's room for the feelings and sense of place that Robyn and Tim have provided for us.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:59 am 
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Free Bird wrote:
Rudolfson wrote:
It is truly awesome, and well worth a thought before before assigning an uneducated guess as to who deserves praise over the other.

You talkin' to me? If so, I'm not guessing about anything, unless you claim I shouldn't hold the game's credits to be true.
Rudolfson wrote:
One more thing. Robyn, the sound fx and music in myst is wonderful. But on the making of myst movie you proudly demonstrate that wrench, and I must admit, that was the only fx i didn't get :)

That was Chris Brandkamp (who, as you apparently failed to notice, doesn't look anything like Sirrus). ;)

Okay okay!
Sorry for letting emotion steer my pen, and about the wrench, oops! I remembered it wrong then, after all it was over 15 years since I saw it. Blame it on the nerdgastic hangover.
And Vidkid, the music is good in 3,4 I just say that the way it is done in myst is brilliant. with soundtrack that is belonging to an area, and those small changes that happens when you've succeeded in manipulering something. I would have Liked that in 3,4.
But as has been notes above. There are as many experiences and preferences that there are players. I bow to that.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:13 pm 
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Free Bird wrote:
You see, I've said this before, probably also on public forums (although I can't be bothered to look up any quotes), but to me you're the true genius behind Myst. That's not to say Rand is not a genius (of course he is) or that the others weren't important, but you are the genius. It's like the Jagger/Richards song writing partnership. Keith Richards is a genius, but Mick Jagger is the genius. I mean, the guy wrote Brown Sugar and the lyrics to Street Fighting Man. Need I say more?


1) Mick Jagger would have been nothing without Keith Richards and Keith Richards would have been nothing without Mick. Arg. So there!

2) There was no genius behind Myst. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rand and I came up with the concepts for Myst together. We both had slightly different strengths, but the concepts in Myst were an absolute collaboration. We came up with the ideas together. Most importantly, Myst and Riven were team efforts that involved a large amount of incredibly talented people. For products like these, there is no such thing as genius. There was only a philosophy... that we will not compromise on design or implementation of design... because people will be spending hard earned money on this thing... so we have to work our asses off and give them the best we can reasonably give them. Not perfection but something good. Teams of people, at many levels, made this happen.

Free Bird wrote:
What are your thoughts about the changes in the way books (prison books in particular) work, between Myst and Riven? In Myst, the books (some books at least) act like videophones. In Riven, they just display an animation of what the Age looks like. You can't see Gehn inside his prison book after you've trapped him, whereas you could see Sirrus and Achenar in Myst. Several explanations have been given in the past, but I'd like to hear it directly from you.
When you were designing Myst, was it set in the "present day" (i.e. late twentieth century) or in the early nineteenth century? Did this ever change during your time at Cyan? Myst obviously needs to be set in the present if you are you, but the idea that it actually happened centuries ago surfaced pretty early on.
What's up with Atrus' letter on the Myst box? I mean the "My only hope is that I can find the answer before it's too la" one.


About your first question... regarding videophone prisons. When we made Myst, we definitely thought of the prisons books as prisons and not ages. So there was a certain magic with an idea like that... and it was kind of dark. I personally always imagined, especially when I was editing the little movies, that Atrus and Sirrus were trapped in some distant timeless void. Waiting but not waiting. What kind of father would do that to his sons? ;-)

In Riven, Gehn didn't live in this kind of prison... he lived on an actual age (I forget it's number). And then later in Riven, when you trap him, ideally you would have seen him in the trap book. Honestly, I don't know why you don't see him... I don't remember. There were inconsistencies that found there way into Riven because we had to make our release date. Maybe it was just one of those things we originally never shot... wanted to go and back and re-shoot, but it was too late at that point.

As to your next point, Myst wasn't set in any time period. The idea was this: Atrus falls through the fissure, the book continues falling and, somehow, someway, you end up with it. Maybe you find it sitting on your kitchen table one morning, as if you alone are "called" on this adventure. Maybe it's lying on the curb of a dark alley. Really, how you find it is left to your imagination. You open the book and... it all begins. But the Myst world itself is somewhere else, sometime else. And the events written about in the Book of Atrus, specifically D'ni, were never intended to be here on earth. They took place on another Age.

"My only hope is that I can find the answer before it's too la...." This was an absurd artistic license taken by a marketing guy at Broderbund. Overall, Broderbund was a key player in the success of Myst. Their founder, Doug Carlston, saw Myst island in its infancy and instantly understood that it was something different.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:59 pm 
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Some questions i'm sure many are wondering.

To Robyn:
How have you been? What have you been up to lately? Any new projects? What brought you to this forum? Being a key figure to the games that kept me sane through collage I just wanted to thank you. Also, are you thinking of a come back tour with Cyan?

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:56 pm 
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robynmiller wrote:
1) Mick Jagger would have been nothing without Keith Richards and Keith Richards would have been nothing without Mick. Arg. So there!

2) There was no genius behind Myst. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rand and I came up with the concepts for Myst together. We both had slightly different strengths, but the concepts in Myst were an absolute collaboration. We came up with the ideas together. Most importantly, Myst and Riven were team efforts that involved a large amount of incredibly talented people. For products like these, there is no such thing as genius. There was only a philosophy... that we will not compromise on design or implementation of design... because people will be spending hard earned money on this thing... so we have to work our asses off and give them the best we can reasonably give them. Not perfection but something good. Teams of people, at many levels, made this happen.

I think we're actually on the same page (another bad pun, sorry!), but just phrase it differently. Obviously no sane person would call themselves a genius... And in turn, I never meant to take anything away from anyone's contributions. I like to think of Rand as the storyteller and of you as the "executive" artist (if that term even makes any sense). Mostly. Approximately. And with due respect for everyone else's work.
robynmiller wrote:
About your first question... regarding videophone prisons. When we made Myst, we definitely thought of the prisons books as prisons and not ages. So there was a certain magic with an idea like that... and it was kind of dark. I personally always imagined, especially when I was editing the little movies, that Atrus and Sirrus were trapped in some distant timeless void. Waiting but not waiting. What kind of father would do that to his sons? ;-)

Yeah, it seems kind of cruel... But then again, to the best of my understanding, Atrus never meant for Sirrus and Achenar to be trapped by the books.
robynmiller wrote:
In Riven, Gehn didn't live in this kind of prison... he lived on an actual age (I forget it's number). And then later in Riven, when you trap him, ideally you would have seen him in the trap book. Honestly, I don't know why you don't see him... I don't remember. There were inconsistencies that found there way into Riven because we had to make our release date. Maybe it was just one of those things we originally never shot... wanted to go and back and re-shoot, but it was too late at that point.

Well, one reason I can think of is that, if you can see Gehn, Gehn could've seen you after you used the book (he makes you use it first). And if he could see that you were in some kind of prison instead of K'veer he'd obviously think twice about linking through. But that's really more of a story-driven necessity with the way the game was set up. There might've been other ways to go about this that I didn't think of.
robynmiller wrote:
As to your next point, Myst wasn't set in any time period. The idea was this: Atrus falls through the fissure, the book continues falling and, somehow, someway, you end up with it. Maybe you find it sitting on your kitchen table one morning, as if you alone are "called" on this adventure. Maybe it's lying on the curb of a dark alley. Really, how you find it is left to your imagination. You open the book and... it all begins. But the Myst world itself is somewhere else, sometime else. And the events written about in the Book of Atrus, specifically D'ni, were never intended to be here on earth. They took place on another Age.

This is certainly the first time I've heard that D'ni wasn't originally intended to be on Earth, but it does make a lot of sense. It always felt to me like that was retconned as well, even though RAWA came up with excellent explanations when I emailed him about it a long, long time ago...
But, to be honest, this wasn't something that really concerned me all that much. It seemed like an acceptable retcon to me at the time and it still does. However, it's still nice to hear the true story behind it. :D
robynmiller wrote:
"My only hope is that I can find the answer before it's too la...." This was an absurd artistic license taken by a marketing guy at Broderbund. Overall, Broderbund was a key player in the success of Myst. Their founder, Doug Carlston, saw Myst island in its infancy and instantly understood that it was something different.

Yeah, that's pretty much what I hoped you'd say. Phew! :)

Thank you for answering, Robyn! I'll just take a back seat for now instead of immediately bothering you with even more questions. ;)


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 Post subject: Age 37
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:58 pm 
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Who says there can only be one stranger?

Anyone remember Age 37, where Atrus met Salar and Koena? After Gehn messed with the book, Atrus went back and Koena didn't remember him. So what about Salar? Did Atrus ever meet her? Yes and no. Yes, on the previous Age 37 he'd visited, he had. On this Age 37 they never did make each other's acquaintance.

Let me paint you a picture. Atrus, Katran, and Gehn are on Riven together. Tensions are running high. Katran is totally in love with Gehn, but his son Atrus is cute, too. But she has to choose only one of them. Even if Rivenese culture might allow her to have two husbands, D'ni culture probably doesn't. The prudes. Also, there's a big crack opening up in the ground for some reason. Choosing youth over beauty, Katran links out, leaving father and son to duke it out. Instead Atrus cannon-balls into the fissure and links away. Right then it dawns on him that his Myst book wouldn't be destroyed like he thought it would be, but that it would keep on falling into that weird star-filled expanse he only saw for a second.

So there's the book. Falling. Into space. Space that's underground. But the space underground is bigger than the space it occupies. If you tunnel in from the side of the cliff is the fissure there? What if you dug up to the surface from under the fissure? Who knows. But that's not important right now. What is, is that this isn't any ordinary underground star field. This one takes you to another world.

Which world, though? All Katran did was revise the Riven book to add daisies to her cousin's front lawn. The fissure had to define its own existence. Where should it take things? Myst? D'ni? Gemedet? How about Hoth, Bajor, Abydos, or the Mushroom Kingdom? Fortunately for us, according to some strange quantum theory, anything that can happen will happen. So the Myst book goes everywhere. According to my copy of Myst, it showed up in Kansas. According to yours, it showed up wherever you live.

We find out in Uru that alternate universes aren't as far apart as we think. So someone's journal says something about someone else finding the Myst book. That's funny, I thought I found the Myst book. Didn't you, too? Well we can't all have found it, can we? Well, sure! Why not?

That's my thought, anyway.


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 Post subject: Re: Age 37
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:46 pm 
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lonelyto25 wrote:
Which world, though? All Katran did was revise the Riven book to add daisies to her cousin's front lawn. The fissure had to define its own existence. Where should it take things? Myst? D'ni? Gemedet? How about Hoth, Bajor, Abydos, or the Mushroom Kingdom? Fortunately for us, according to some strange quantum theory, anything that can happen will happen.


YES! realSuper Mario: MYSTerious Island 3D IS real! And apparently Star Trek: A MYSTerious Journey is too! :D

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:49 pm 
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RAWA wrote:
I don't deny that I was over-thinking it - like I said, I hammered Rand with every question I could think of


And now we do the same to you! Is karma, I say!

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:13 pm 
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What an awesome gathering of great people!!! ... :D

Hey, lonely!!! And I love your way of interpreting and understanding the D'niverse,
the Tree of infinite Possibilities, your conception of causal relation or simply put the
basic effects and principles of the underlying quantum physics and networks and
thereof emerging alternate universes and realities and worlds ...

The sky's the limit, everything is possible, imaginable, achievable ... exactly as it
was initially intended ... haha ... :P

Welcome home, dearest Robyn ... it is so wonderful to have you here ... :D

I could also ask, where have you been in all those years, but I suppose you stopped
by here just in time ... Your genuineness, your truthfulness and frankness is fascinating,
refreshing and inspiring ... :)

You're taking us back to the roots, gifting and providing us with the original spirit
which still lingers and prevails in every pixel, in every nook and cranny, still casting
and energizing the Call and thus attracting thousands of fellow explorers around the
world down to the present day ...

Thank you, Robyn and also our precious RAWA for the great and interesting revelations
and lovely insights, for your openness and your sweetness ... This thread is like a dream...
Just see how many great people and fellow explorers and friends are coming together here ...
... just feeling and sensing it from the heart ... Thanks all for heeding the Call and showing up ... :D

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:53 pm 
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RAWA wrote:
To sum up: I'm sorry for my part in bumming you out about all this. If I could go back and change it so that everybody wins, I would. I'm not exactly sure how, but I'd try somehow. Further evidence I never get access to a time machine.


Rich, you didn't bum me out! Sorry to infer that! Alert: all Myst fans know this... not only is Rich is killer amazing, and also dedicated to Myst. He is also little elfish looking. Once or twice I really suspected elfish blood. Maybe I still do... (admit it Rich).

So all in all I'm talking about the general direction of the Myst canon. And of course none of this is some great political issue, no one is loosing a job or going to war over this, so there's really no reason for any of us to be very upset or anything. But I always thought of Myst and Riven as art, not product. It's okay to going back and change the formula for Pepsi or Cascade detergent, but even the creators don't really have the right to change and redefine an original work. At least I don't think they do. Because it's already entered the public's consciousness.

So that's what it's really about... changing the original work into something it was never meant to be. And will it be changed even more? Even an elf can see that we don't want any more changes to that work. :-)

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