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Myst the game becomes Myst: the book, a full-on ‘digital’ novel

Remember Myst? If not, good for you. It’s one of the most tiresome games ever made. An full-motion-video (FMV) crapfest released in the early 90s, Myst was and is an obscure as hell puzzle game. It featured a book in-game that would act as the guide and hub for all adventuring. And from digital to physical, that book is now Myst itself. Video time.

Steven Norris: Gearburn Editor
Steven Norris is a born writer, living in Tamboerskloof, Cape Town and educated in the ways of graphic design but destined to follow in the footsteps of... More

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Right. So it’s a neat trick. Cut out a hole in a Harpers Magazine, a publication that dates back to the 18th century, and plonk in a tiny computer with an even tinier flat screen. Instant kudos.

In a nutshell though, you can play Myst with this book. It’s a mouse-only title, therefore ideal for the touchscreen environment. It’s just not the most practical way, both financially or physically to get your Myst on. The creator of the book, Mike Ando spent a fortune, therefore this is a one-time-only deal for Myst fans.

The computer is nothing special, but then again Myst used to run on a 486 PC. That’s a 50Mhz CPU for you younglings. The retro-fitted PC runs Windows XP, has a 1.6Ghz Atom CPU, a 5-inch touchscreen and roughly two hours of battery life. Clearly the parts were ripped from a netbook, minus the wee touchscreen. The book is loaded with Myst plus its myriad sequels.

Finally, price. The book, plus the computer costs a whopping US$15 625. That’s right, but in all fairness, it’s a century-old piece of literature, ripped open for our amusement. Craziness costs money.


  • RIUM+

    Hey there! I made this book :)

    The computer didn’t come from a netbook, I actually sourced individual components because a netbook is literally twice the size of this thing. It’s very difficult to build an entire x86 computer in a space that’s twelve centimetres wide and 3cm high, especially one that has to run cool enough that it won’t overheat (there’s no active cooling in this book). There’s very few components on the market that even fit a space like that, and even fewer that run Myst – this is essentially the absolute top of the line components in that form factor. None of its parts are in a standard computer (even the CPU is a more-expensive, lower-power variant that Intel only sells to embedded developers). Even still, it’s not a complete slouch – it plays even the later-released 3D Myst games beautifully & it’ll run Half-Life 2 at 30fps+.

    Its exotic hardware makes its components quite a bit more expensive but the main thing is the time involved. There’s literally many hundreds of hours involved in this book, and if it takes me 40 hours to find just the right component that ends up costing $29.95 then the time is way more costly than the components. Given minimum wage & the time involved, that’s actually close to my estimated costing. I’m not really looking to sell it as such, the price is just there to stop people who say “I want it, I’ll buy it from you, how much, I’ll give you $200, be thankful, that’s way more than this is worth” (which has seriously happened, many times). But hey, if someone’s willing to pay for it then sure it’s theirs :p

  • http://www.facebook.com/tripledunny Steven Norris

    Passion projects are the best aren’t they? thanks for providing us with such an interesting concept to write about. Perhaps the next project should be a 3-inch tablet? :) You could corner an unknown market. If we were you, we’d keep that book safe forever. Or until you’ve completed all the Myst games, which would take close to forever without a walkthrough. Congratulations again, this is a fine achievement.