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

Monday, May 25, 2015

Enter Ahnonay

Saturday's meeting with iota was extremely successful and she zipped through Er'cana with the help of her extremely insightful kiddies.  That was a real treat for me to watch/listen to.  Last time we left off in the room accessed by that large vehicle.  I hadn't noticed last time that she managed to figure out she had to send the vehicle out in order to explore further into the space underneath.  When I first played the game that had never occurred to me.  So I was excited to see her figure it out, albeit a bit late.
iota in the passageways of the vehicle ports in Er'cana
She didn't catch at first--well until I told her--that there were light switches in these areas.  This doesn't really matter for the puzzles to function, but it's always nice to turn on lights.  My mom used to get annoyed with me because I used to turn on every light in the house when it was half-light outside.  I get very anxious at those times of day and I have no idea why.  Recently I've been trying to be conscious of that so that I can keep my electric bill at a reasonable level ha!  No wonder she used to get mad!  But there are no electric bills in Myst, so I get that meter spinning!

Lo and behold! iota was now able to access the walkways (or as she accidentally called them: "the things that walk" lolz) to get to the building beyond.
Heading closer to the power center.

Entering the windmill room
Once inside, she found the sixth Shell Cloth and the power to the windmill, which, again, I don't think serves much purpose if any(?).
iota finds the sixth Shell Cloth in Er'cana
With so many entrances and exits in this room, she initially missed one, but soon she found her way (again, as a result of my big mouth) to it. The control room was where a lot of the action happened.  Like me, when I first played, it took a century to realize you had to click on the chair in order to manipulate the controls, just like the control room in Teledahn.  One of those facepalm moments!  The controls are pretty intuitive, and the kiddies were definitely helpful.
Baladria watching iota figure out the controls in Er'cana

iota shuts down the spinny things
For some reason, the game was glitchy with her avatar and among moments of continuous spinning and falling through ladders, this happened:
How did she do that?
After some trial and error, iota was able to open the ladders and climb up to the pellet-baking room.  But shh...she doesn't know what that's for yet.  I told her to ignore it for now.  But this room was probably the most entertaining moment for me.  It took a while for her whole crew to learn how to get that elevator to work properly.  They came up with numerous combinations of which machines should be on or off, which involved a lot of ladder climbing.  Finally one of the little tykes had an idea, which turned out to be the correct one: turn them all off!
Taking stock of the pellet room

iota fiddles with the controls in the Er'cana ovens
At last, up we went to the top where we came upon one of the most striking views in the game!
The glaciers/mountains of Er'cana
When iota found the reward clothing, I made her pose for a picture.  She laughed at me later on when I asked again and said it was like a family vacation.
iota finds the Er'cana backpack
It was then that she remembered she forgot to change out of her desert gear and went back to Relto to change her clothes.  Apparently we have a beret now!  Whut?!  And, colorful dresser that she is, she went for the La Femme Nikita look.
iota's new ninja costume...with Minkata boots
So now that she had explored all there is to explore in Er'cana, she decided it would be a good idea to check on the shell hologram.  So we drove back to the beginning of Er'cana to get to the hologram alcove.
Baladria and iota driving back to the beginning of Er'cana
And sure enough, the hologram was complete.  She didn't realize it was a portal, so I had to give her that information haha!  And off she went to the donut place to get her donut wedge.
iota completes Er'cana!
Now, I am trying to remember what that connection between Er'cana and Ahnonay is for...really trying to remember, but failing.  It's been so long since I redid this that it's pretty much new to me also.  But now with Er'cana complete, we come to the final destination: Ahnonay.

Ahnonay is difficult.  Not in the annoying way that Minkata is difficult.  But in the way that Kadish Tolesa is difficult.  It was written by the same guy, after all.  It's difficult in terms of the complexity of its puzzle.  Like Riven, easily the best of the Myst games, the entire Age is one giant puzzle.  And it requires lots of linking, experimentation, back and forth, notes, snack/drink breaks, and frustration.  I don't want her to look up hints, but I will help when she feels mega stuck.  I think, since we journeyed to Ahnonay late her mind was tired by then, so she got stuck early on.  I think next time we play, after thinking about it some, she'll make some great progress.  Or not.  We shall see!  It may take weeks to figure it out, and that's the best!

So, we entered Ahnonay Cathedral, a most spectacular introduction to the Age.
iota enters Ahnonay Cathedral for the first time

iota approaches the Linking Book to Ahnonay
And thence to the Age itself:
iota arrives in Ahnonay for the first time

iota explores Ahnonay 1 in all its beauty
She found the first Shell Cloth easily enough...
iota finds the first Shell Cloth in Ahnonay
But then it got hard.  She wandered back and forth on the island, and when she accidentally fell in the water she discovered she could swim.  She tried to swim to the little building on the little island, but, just like all of us, didn't make it the first time.  Or the second time.  She didn't try again after that, and she didn't need to in the end.  I asked to to tell me her thoughts, what did she see in the Age.  She wasn't being observant enough, in my humble opinion.  (Sorry iota--I know you are reading this haha!)
Baladria watching as iota tries to swim to the island in Ahnonay 1
She mentioned the trees, and the quabs, and the "clock," and made an interesting comment that the buildings in the distance looked like copies of each other at different angles.  I knew she was stuck and I was trying to hint at looking at the "clock" more and trying to figure out what that was for.  She didn't say anything about the blue lights.  Later, I asked her if she noticed anything different about the clock, but she, to my disappointment, said no.  Rats!
iota and Baladria observing the clock in Ahnonay 1
So I had to give a more obvious clue.  I told her to stay where she was and watch the clock as I ran around the island.  That's when she noticed the blue light was following me.  Then, I jumped into the water, and she noticed the light disappeared.  So I asked her what that meant, and she thought the lights represented the trees.  I said, ok, but I'm not a tree.  What else is living?  Then she remembered the quabs and finally realized the lights reflected both us and the quabs.  So I asked her why would it be important for the clock to measure the life on the island and why the blue lights disappear after something goes in the water.  That's when she made the connection that the quabs must all go away.  She set about kicking them off the island.
iota chasing the quabs off the island
I was surprised she hadn't connected those dots sooner.  It was one of the very few things about Ahnonay I was able to solve on my own, but like I wrote above, it was late!  I told her I think the people who made this part of the game was banking on basic human instincts of sadism: kicking off the creatures once you know you can.  She said it had crossed her mind, but she didn't realize it was actually essential in solving the puzzle.  Hehe!  Yep, indeed it is!  Kadish was a weirdo.  

Afterwards, I decided to be over-helpful and I set her up for how the Age works.  I told her to have her sound on so she can hear what happens when the last living creature links out.  I think I told her too late, perhaps, because she didn't hear anything different.  At any rate, we linked back and she got a nice surprise!  Ahnonay 2!
iota and Baladria in Ahnonay 2
Ah...um...oh.  Ok.  Just now as I was writing this Google+ made a motion picture for me.
Baladria photographing iota in Ahnonay 2
The above picture happened because I was trying to capture the blue lightning.  I failed.  She was startled to see that we had linked to a deteriorated form of Ahnonay, and then the cogs really began to turn in her brain.  Questions abounded!  She soon learned the crystal "trees" could shatter, but I had to nudge her again into connecting the demolition of these and the blue lights on the clock.
iota shatters the blue crystal trees of Ahnonay 2
This time, when we linked out, she heard the loud noise that follows the last person out of the Age.  And then, when we came back...
iota in Ahnonay 3
The island was even more deteriorated!  She observed that it was sort of like the Nothing from the Neverending Story.  That's a pretty good analogy, I think.  It works.  As time goes on, perhaps she will update this assessment.

Well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it only gets more difficult from here!  Hahaha!  Or should I say mwahahahaha! >:D  I think next time, we would benefit from taking a moment to assess everything that we observed so far in the Age (and outside of the Age even).  It's going to take a while, but I know that ninja iota can do it!
iota in Ahnonay 3


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