I realized the moment I fell into the fissure that the Book would not be destroyed as I had planned. It continued falling into that starry expanse, of which I had only a fleeting glimpse. I have tried to speculate where it might have landed, but I must admit that such conjecture is futile. Still, questions about whose hands might one day hold my Myst book are unsettling to me. I know my apprehensions might never be allayed, and so I close, realizing that perhaps the ending has not yet been written. -- Atrus

Sunday, April 6, 2014

On the Go

Well, I didn't get to play as much Riven as I had hoped, neither on the plane nor in my free time, such as it was, during the conference.  One reason was there was not much time, but also I discovered I had left my phone charger at home.  Luckily a friend lent me her charger before she left so I could have a full battery.

I don't think it needs much saying that the Riven app is amazing!  Let's see if I can add screenshots...

Hmm...looks like the Blogger app won't let me.  You know, the YouTube app wouldn't me log in to my primary YouTube account, which is different from this one.  Actually, no I CAN log in but I can't comment with it.  Clearly phone apps are not as useful as they could be.  I guess I will have to continue my Riven exploration when I have access to my computer so I can load all my screenshots there.  So much for that.

But!  One thing I wanted to comment on is how much more accessible the phone version of the game is to a broader audience.  One of my colleagues was intrigued by what I was playing and I let her have a try.  I had her start with Myst.  She got only so far as sitting in the dentist chair in the observatory before she decided she didn't know what to do and gave my phone back to me.  While that seems like it cannot be considered a success, in fact it is.  Why?  If you can put it on a phone, a touchscreen phone, making it easy to cart around a fiddle about with in the go, people are far more open to trying it out.  

I mean, you see how easily entertained folks can be playing that one game with the colored balls (what is that, btw?).  They're much more inclined to try something old-school that looks video game quality on their phone than they are on modern computers.  Myst on phone today holds the same awe as Myst on computer did 20 years ago.

Or at least it can do.

While the game itself hasn't changed, the platform has and thus it has a newness -- not nostalgia, but newness.  Old becomes new with changing technologies.  As a result, attitudes change and now a new generation of game players has been added.

This is all conjecture as I have no clue how sales have gone nor what demographics have been reached, but it seems like this could be the case.

Myst has been given a more "public play".  Whereas before we all wandered around in the confines of our dark computer rooms, now we are playing in the midst of crowds, quietly spreading the word.  People peek over shoulders after all.

Its inexpensive cost is also incentive for a varied audience to purchase it in order that they might pass time on the subway or in the waiting line at the DMV (because we all know how long that takes!).

In a way, of course, the depth of the environment is lost a little, but when playing the game with your earphones on, the creepy music surrounds you and makes up for what is lost in public space.

My colleague did say that she would mention the game to her significant other who would likely appreciate it.  I'd definitely call that a success, wouldn't you?


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