Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Echoes & Ripples (Myst V)

Since I couldn't go to Mysterium, I spent a little time finishing the adventure games I started.. last fall..maybe earlier...

So I finally finished Nancy Drew: Blackmoor Manor and am seriously concentrating on Myst V. Before I just wandered around a few times and said . I just didn't have the time to concentrate on it & didn't want to spoil things by rushing.

One year later, my reaction is still

This time I made a point of collecting all of Yeesha's notes/speeches around the great well first so I could think over what she is saying about herself, and how things went in Uru. She seems to have a clue about what went wrong, and quite a bit of anger and pain. She is a bit less distant and comes off as less proud as she shares these human things, rather than just her destiny and the flaws of the otherwise amazing D'ni, Sounds like she is finally ready to do some more growing of her own, as long as anger and her fresh agnostic doubts don't leave her in despair. Escher seems to represent another point of view, the success-oriented, my- clique first-sort of dude. I think I've met this fella somewhere... I am pleased to see that my choices again matter to the story. I loved being able to finally open that door in Atrus' old prison. I am very happy to toodle around the place of the first Mudpie screenshot. There is some definite closure for me in this installment, opinionated fan that I have always been.

At any rate, I am genuinely interested to see where this story will go now. Not many adventure games openly mention 'the Maker,' especially with respect. Even the earlier Myst games only aimed for general morality (and a couple of the younger employees denied that!). Although Cyan's work was understandably influenced by the Christian upbringing of the main designers, the Creator didn't get much press in their games. (Their novels were another matter.) Its amazing to see how strongly Yeesha speaks of morality now! Now...which way will this story go? Which way will the designers go? I can't help but wonder if the anti-Christian cracks made inside the community, and the open New Age/Shamanistic faith represented at the end of Ubisoft's Myst 4 are responsible for Yeesha's asking whether the Maker or 'the roll' is responsible for her destiny. Echoes...echoing..

I may as well concentrate on Myst V now. Its been hard not to reflect on the Myst people lately anyway. Not only have I had the Mysterium planning, but I keep running into things that remind me of it all over! Just as I wondered again if any of the good seed I've tried to sow was worth anything, I chanced on this song on the radio "Some people will change." Wow. Talk about encouraging word that was right on time! Another day we passed VA vehicles with plates on it saying "Kristen," "Teena," and "Mih" - which surprised me as I figured that screenname was unique) until I was informed that its an old joke, 50's vintage or earlier, very like saying one's 'real' initals are E.H.S. I figure such coincidences are a reminder to me to keep praying.

And I keep seeing ads for "the Descent," a horror movie which does not interest me...except that the ad itself is rather reminiscent of Spyder's realMyst trailer of 5 years ago, and the plotline apparantly includes dangerous beast/people who live several miles below the ground in the Appalachian mountains. I haven't heard that area used in a fictional fantasy setting since Terry Brook's Landover series {Magic Kingdom For Sale -Sold}. I have always known Appalachia as a gentle place.

So, curious, I looked up details online and found that no less than 3 movies were made for release for summer 2005 on the same theme. 2 full budget films with relatively unknown directors and one Indy effort. Both major movies have a similar plotline though they were officially in a different set of caves. "The Cavern" was the third (Indy) one and hardly anybody heard about it because it was unspeakably awful. It had a total budget of 150,000 dollars, at least some of it was spent renting a drill to make their camara shake a lot.. I'm serious. The most amusing review said something about a petition drive for a 'zero star' rating just so they could properly mark that dog. It seems as though at least 2 of the 3 movies were pretty much rush jobs, they would have been working on them at least close to the time the first Uru beta was ending. Could all be coincidence, of course. Just a general reflected ripple from the greater interest in spelunking in recent years... and possibly suggested by the interest in a cavern-based game. One site tells me that there hasn't been horror films based on caving since the 80's when Zork was a big deal.

Anyway, it turns out that the best done of the three, "The Descent," was released about everywhere but America last summer, ostensibly so they wouldn't be directly competing with "The Cave" in the US. However, "The Cave" seems to have been released everywhere, so this only affected America. The decision to release "The Descent" this summer in the US seems to have been made this spring, coincidentally, this was about the same time it became known that Uru may have a second chance at life.

Now, none of these movies resembles the family-friendly Myst/Uru franchise much at all, except for the use of deep caves, spelunkers, and beast-cave-people ('bahro') But in Myst, the bahro may be ugly, but they are actually rather nice, even noble humanoids. Yeesha tells us much about them in the last few Cyan games.

If Uru were aimed at the horror crowd, the movies might even help stir more interest in the game. It has had very little publicity. As it is, I think the different prospective audiences may make the similarities mostly of academic interest.

Just the same it all reminds me of a time some years ago (96?97?) when several 'similar' games sat on the shelf with Myst (Tropica l islands on the cover, Myth-something in the name, and one awful parody)... Imitation is the sincerest flattery, right? Except none of the other titles I saw on the shelf that day were family fare. Even most of the adventure games back then incorporated pg+ themes. You could be forgiven for not knowing that Myst was the sparkling, clean little island amidst all those cross-currents. My husband and I commented on it out loud and discovered that the worried middle-aged guy standing next to us had been asked to bring home Myst and had picked up the wrong game. (He was actually holding another game box with a tropical island featured prominently on it). He was upset that what he'd found didnt seem to be appropriate for his family. A salesman was trying to help but didn't seem to recognize which title the customer wanted from the description... until we spoke up. (While we explained which was which to the fella, two other people who didnt seem to be listening bought copies of Myst as well. So..three more copies of Myst were sold that day, and a sales clerk was educated. I've always wondered how many more people got confused.

Echoes of ripples ...making reflections.. fresh patterns in the ever-flowing stream...

The wise can learn from their own voice returned.

but will they?

will I?

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