Thursday, May 9, 2013

Back into the Myst

When I was growing up I would sequester myself off in the woods during the summer, burying my head in a book as I solved cases with Encyclopedia Brown and the Boxcar Children, wondered if maybe my teacher was an alien, and wished my school was as awesome as Wayside. In the winter time I would crawl into one of my parents' cars, trying to find a secluded and warm spot as I journeyed off to other worlds. And despite my love for the stories and worlds of Louis Sachar, Bruce Coville, Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, Gertrude Chandler Warner, and Madeleine L'Engle, the world of Narnia was my favorite of all.

I don't remember when I first encountered The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, but I do remember how long and hard I searched for that magical wardrobe that would transport me to Narnia. My grandmother's house seemed the most likely place. After all, the Pevensie children found their magical wardrobe in the Old Professor's house. My grandmother's old farm house, with its many staircases and attics seemed just the place. I still remember the disappointment I felt when I pushed past dusty clothes in an upstairs closet only to find an old, but very solid wall.

I think this disappointed is the reason why I fell in love with the video game Myst. I might have never found the door to Narnia but the opening sequence of Myst might have been the next closest thing I could have experienced as a 13 year old kid. I still have the narration from that sequence memorized:

The moment I put my cursor on that book and fell into the story of Myst I was hooked. I spent the next few months exploring the worlds of Myst and trying to solve its mysteries. My favorite place on the island of Myst was the library and it was no surprise to me that most of the time when I returned from yet another world I found myself back in the library.

It was so exciting because unlike most booksThe notable exceptions being the choose your own adventure books, but those were mostly a linear path with short side paths ending in your untimely death. where I was simply a helpless spectator (DON’T TRUST HER EDMUND! THE TURKISH DELIGHTS ARE A LIE!) I was actually driving the story. My actions, my choices (should I trust Sirrus or Achenar?), and my ability to uncover the mystery were the story. I had finally made it to another world and I was playing a part in it. It. Was. Awesome. I remember how proud I felt when I had to explain a puzzle to one of my Dad’s work friends. And when after months of playing I finally realized the treachery of Sirrus and Achenar and freed Atrus? It was such a great feeling.

Many sequels followed as well as book tie-ins, but nothing quite captured that feeling I had the first time I clicked on Atrus’ Myst book, and finally, after all those years of searching, ended up in Narnia.

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