Video Game Atlas: Myst Island

Once a week Art Attack will offer you a handy little travel guide to the fictional worlds of video games.

Name: Myst Island, Myst Series

Population: Less than 10

Government: None

The problem with traveling through a place like the First Kingdom of the Unfinished Swan is that places which are completely created through magical means rarely have typical borders. This meant I was almost stuck in the beautiful, but abandoned locale. Luckily, the castle held a library and any magical library in a video game will have at least one special book. These linking tomes were the work of the legendary D'ni, and they were pathways to other worlds.

The one I found sent me to Myst Island, which I hadn't visited in some time. It is the home of my old friend Atrus, though he wasn't there when I popped by on this visit. The island is the main hub of a small, but complete world called an Age. These Ages are crafted by the D'ni people through special books written into being by magical prose. It's a deeper work than that of the Kingdom I had just left, though it's all but dying out as the few who still possess the ability have seen others misuse it greatly through greed and a desire for power.

The island resembles something off the Northeastern American coast. It's rocky and lightly forested, and though the water laps around it there is no beach. It's a quiet place, with an understandably unearthly feeling. For all that, it remains an amazing example of the art of the D'ni taken to its full and benevolent limit.

In addition to proud tress, there is abundance of seabirds, fish butterflies, and since my last visit, crops of wildflowers that made me miss Texas in the spring. My first stop after checking the underground living quarters and library for the island's owners was the massive planetarium. It's an interesting building that allows you to view the night sky not only in the present, but on any given date from the year of Christ's birth to the year 9999. It would be a boon to our astronomers, except that it only works in created worlds like Myst. Unless someone proves that our universe was D'ni-crafted we're stuck looking at the heavens in the normal, slow way.

The architecture on the island belongs to no one style or time period. Most of them are used simply as stylized entrances to other areas of the Age. Of particular note is the Jules Verne-esque rocket ship along the southeast coast of the island. It leads to the Selenitic Age, and at the risk of finding myself trapped yet again in an unbounded world I decided to visit it. I admit I really just wanted to hang out in an awesome-looking rocket ship.

The Selenitic Age is mostly barren and crater-strewn. Atrus said that the first time he linked to the world he saw a massive meteor storm that rendered most of area into its broken current state. Nonetheless, beautiful crystal structures dot the area, and a good time can be had by exploring the vast underground maze using the mazerunner contraption.

In many ways the age resembles science fiction visions of the Earth's moon, and that only enhances the idea that visiting Myst is in some way like visiting the mind of H.G. Wells.

In the end, I decided I'd spent a bit too much time in places that were all but uninhabited. Maybe it's time to seek out some people. Solitude is a gift for contemplation, but it breeds strange thoughts. I returned to the Myst library in order to access the linking book to Atrus' home on Earth, Tomahna, and hopefully from there into someplace new. Until we meet again.

Previous Entries in the Video Game Atlas

The First Kingdom of the Unfinished Swan, Unfinished Swan series C-Island, StarTropics series Sanctuary, Borderlands series Monstro Town, Super Mario series Hope, Hitman series series The Velvet Room, Persona (Shin Megami Tensei) series Onett, Earthbound (Mother) series Bionis, Xenoblade Chronicles series Blobolonia, A Boy and His Blob series The Citadel, Mass Effect series Gold Saucer, Final Fantasy series High Hrothgar, Elder Scrolls series The End of Time, Chrono Trigger series Kakariko Village, Legend of Zelda Series Silent Hill, Silent Hill Series Monkey Island, Monkey Island Series Rapture, BioShock Series The Republic of Dave, Fallout series

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner