The ramblings of a bearded crazy person

The 12 Games of Christmas – Day 5 – Riven


I first wandered the Age of Riven fourteen years ago. And the beauty of this place is just as captivating in 2011 as it was in 1997. Riven is not your average fantasy land. It feels like a real place. Everything is very well thought out, and you feel like this place could perhaps exist somewhere.

The story, scenery, and gameplay mesh seamlessly. Everything feels like it belongs there, and none of them feel like they were tacked on as afterthoughts. (Unlike certain other games I could mention…)

The story is one of the richest and deepest to ever appear in a game. If you love backstories, you will love Riven. Heck, they even created an entire language. Tolkien would be proud.

And finally, the soundtrack is superb. I have bought a physical CD of the soundtracks for exactly two games. Myst and Riven. Rather than just having music for the sake of music, the soundtrack sounds like it belongs. It doesn’t overpower you, but it’s there. It gives an ambiance that, yet again, adds much to the richness of the gameworld.

Robyn Miller – Temple

You can buy Riven from a number of places. However, only getting Riven and nothing else means you’re missing out on a LOT of story. You also need to play the first Myst game, (duh) and read the trilogy of books. I don’t consider Myst III, IV, and V to be canonical. After the completion of Riven, the creators said the story was over. And really, it ends with a perfect sense of closure. But then other guys showed up and made more games. Games which totally break continuity with the first two, changing fundamental elements, and having Ages that definitely wouldn’t have been approved by the Guild of Maintainers. (I’m looking at YOU, Myst IV…) As for Uru… Well, Uru can be quasi-canonical. It makes sense, was made by the original creators, and contains a lot of D’ni history. Which was a lot of fun to read.

So! Where to buy. Myst and Riven (and Uru) are available on Good Old Games. The pack is also available on Steam.

As for the books, individually, they are out of print. The Myst Reader, a paperback omnibus that combines all of them, is available on Amazon. However, these books are much better suited as individual hardcovers. Trust me on this. And while they may be out of print, you can find lots of used (and maybe even some new) hardcovers from third-party sellers.

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