A real Myst book
October 30, 2012 4:35 AM   Subscribe

"This is a project I've been working on for six years - a replica linking book from the video game Myst."

The linking book is "made out of a copy of the same book Cyan originally scanned as a texture reference. Inside the book is a full desktop computer, completely self-contained without any external wires or hardware. In the above photo, the embedded screen isn't just showing a still photo or a video: it's running a full copy of realMyst PC edition. Onboard is a copy of all the Myst games. It's fast enough it plays all of them smoothly (even End of Ages at ~30fps). You play the games by touching the touch-screen."

"Also included are some additional props - a blank white page and a blank blue page. These were sourced from additional copies of the exact same book Cyan used as a texture reference, meaning they're as "proper" as you can get. With the book's red interior lining, this makes a complete set of the three page colours used in Myst. They are their original hues & have not been dyed, so the blue is slightly more turquoise & the red is slightly more brown than they appear in the game. You can't be too picky with original 135-year-old paper hues."

Here's a video preview of the book and a presentation on the book with slides. Besides all the Myst games, the computer's software includes The Manhole Masterpiece and Crowthistle, with bonuses including a copy of the Book of Atrus e-book.

"When you first turn on the book a video automatically plays featuring Atrus writing at his desk, then he looks up at you & mouths the words 'who the devil are you?'."
posted by Leucistic Cuttlefish (26 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
It's missing Mylk.
posted by plinth at 5:21 AM on October 30, 2012

That is so cool. I love the dramatic reveal in the first link's video too. WINDOWS XP.

I always thought a good fancy dress costume would be to get a little speaker to play the linking sound effect, carry a book around, then look around in wonder every time you enter a room. BRRROOOWMWMMMMMWOMWOM.
posted by lucidium at 5:23 AM on October 30, 2012

So it's like an upscale version of the pong games, special hardware for playing just one thing?

Myst would play really well on a touchscreen.
posted by subdee at 5:25 AM on October 30, 2012

Myst would play really well on a touchscreen.

You can get realMyst and Riven for iOS, and they're great.
posted by mhoye at 5:34 AM on October 30, 2012 [4 favorites]

Wait, the Manhole was related to Myst? Mind blown! I never got far in Myst but my brother and I spent hours upon hours with the Manhole as younglings. We are still known to turn to each other and said "He saiiiid 'My name is Mr. Turtle!'"
posted by yellowbinder at 5:50 AM on October 30, 2012

They did Spelunx too, and Cosmic Osmo. I spent a lot of hours on Spelunx. Blew my mind when I found out about the mezzanine.
posted by echo target at 5:56 AM on October 30, 2012

This is neat - I saw it making the rounds yesterday. My wife and I played Myst and Riven together for hours back when they came out, working through the puzzles and so on. We always thought the best place for a game like that was the couch. The controls were simple enough, and it would have looked pretty good on a big screen, plus surround sound, etc.
posted by jquinby at 6:06 AM on October 30, 2012

$15,000? Yeah no. Oh wait it also runs Half-Life 2 at 30 FPS. SOLD
posted by Brocktoon at 7:16 AM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

My parents played this game when I was probably between the ages of 5 and 6 and it Freaked Me Out. It was solitary and creepy and things kept feeling like they were going to jump out at you and the waves and the boat and the person in the book and EEK.
posted by ChuraChura at 8:38 AM on October 30, 2012

Is the Myst port for iOS good? It breaks my heart how hard it is to play this game on a Mac these days.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 9:09 AM on October 30, 2012

This is cool and all, but my first thought was "OK, now do Penny's book from Inspector Gadget".
posted by ckape at 10:10 AM on October 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

Ok, I'm in class so can't watch the film. What book was the original link book based on? What book was scarified to make this?
posted by Canageek at 10:46 AM on October 30, 2012

http://www.magazinecontents.com/tables-of-content/complete-list/harpers-dec1876may1877.htm was sacrificed. The general price on ebay appears to be $50. The workmanship is shit, but whatever makes you happy. I wouldn't pay $500 for it.
posted by jscott at 10:48 AM on October 30, 2012

I never pictured a linking book displaying the windows startup screen. That's a universe I would not want to port into.
posted by ook at 10:55 AM on October 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Ok, I'm in class so can't watch the film. What book was the original link book based on? What book was scarified to make this?

He apparently used the exact same book used as a texture in the Myst game:

The book in question is Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume LIV, Issue 312, December 1876 to May 1877 (roughly an equivalent of antique Reader's Digest)... 135 years old & still in this condition. Finding the book's exact edition is difficult - my research revealed what looks like at least 14 different bindings of the same book.

Unlike Cyan's well-worn copy, this one is almost pristine. The cover has been beautifully restored & the cracked hinge has been repaired. Custom embossing dies were made for the individual MYST letters, then the embossing was filled with 24-carat gold paint.

(Yes I essentially destroyed this book to convert it into a Myst linking book, but I like to think that it's cooler now. At least 20% cooler.)

posted by jquinby at 11:07 AM on October 30, 2012

That's pretty cool, but I wish the touchscreen was bigger. And 6 years? It would be kind of discouraging to finish building it and then realize you could just buy an iPad Mini & a copy of Myst, and have a bigger screen in a lighter book, with so much less effort.
posted by danny the boy at 11:12 AM on October 30, 2012

I don't think the point is to play Myst with it, but to have a cool replica of an object from within the game itself.
posted by KHAAAN! at 11:14 AM on October 30, 2012

Yeah I meant, instead of shoving a desktop pc into the book, shove the iPad Mini into the book.
posted by danny the boy at 11:46 AM on October 30, 2012

I use tweezers to boot up my iPad all the time! No stress, $15,000, SOLD
posted by Brocktoon at 12:20 PM on October 30, 2012

I played Riven for the first time on my iPhone. My only complaint is that I got hand cramps because it was so addictive. So yeah - it was great! Still have to do a lot of clicking but that's how those games are.
posted by Cygnet at 1:17 PM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Someone actually DID make a Myst linking book with an iPod Touch (vid 2). It's purely a prop, not meant to be a portable computer. It plays ripped videos from the Myst games of the first "link" rather than the Myst games themselves. Or rickrolls you, depending.

According to the maker, "It's a sketchbook I bought from Barnes and Noble. The covers were printed on thick paper and glued on." Not one for the fancy bookshelf, but still awesome.
posted by Leucistic Cuttlefish at 1:28 PM on October 30, 2012

Riumplus posted about his linking book on reddit is answering questions there.

When asked "Did you consider using an old iPod touch running Myst from the App Store?" he answered:
That would work with Myst and Riven, but the current iOS copies are lower-resolution than the original PC copies. Plus this runs all the other games (including the latest 3D ones like Uru & Myst V).
Also, an iPod has a screen that's too small and the aspect ratio is too narrow. Yes I'm picky but a 5" 4:3 screen looks much better :p"
The difficulty of an endeavor like this is in the soul of the endeavor. Sure, it would be EASY to include an iPad touch, but then not as much your creation, with your own specifications and your own standards. It doesn't have the same sense of permanency when you hold it in your hands, knowing that this was your dream, pieced together in concept and craft, and by golly, you did it. This person worked on this project for an hour a day for six years, and produced something beautiful and unique. Naysayers gonna neigh, but I'm already looking up how to do this myself.
posted by Leucistic Cuttlefish at 1:44 PM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is lovely.
posted by homunculus at 5:23 PM on October 30, 2012

So the book was over 130 years old, and he destroyed it? It's cool, but... oh man. Personally I'd have been just as impressed if he'd made a really good replica.
posted by avidreader at 5:29 PM on October 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

almost as boring as the game. cool idea though
posted by mattoxic at 6:20 PM on October 30, 2012

avidreader: That is my thought, and why I asked. :(
posted by Canageek at 9:13 PM on October 30, 2012

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