Myst scared the wits out of me as a child—hey, it was hard to appreciate the serene beauty of an abandoned island that looks like René Magritte's private resort—but it also captured the ancient power of books and the wonderous worlds they weave for the imagination. That's why I'm terribly conflicted over Myst enthusiast Mike Ando's creation of a full-fledged linking book complete with an encased, working computer playing the entirety of the legendary adventure franchise on a display iconically embedded within its pages. Oh, well—another jump through the looking glass won't hurt.
Ando's personal website (opens in new tab) details the technical wizardry behind transforming a 135-year-old Harper's Magazine tome into the weathered Myst book and linking portal, including symbolic touches such as burnt page edges and an embossed "Myst" on the front cover. "Yes, I essentially destroyed this book to convert it into a Myst linking book, but I like to think that it's cooler now," Ando writes. "At least 20 percent cooler."
Ando claims the book's 1.6GHz CPU, 1GB RAM, and Intel GMA500 graphics accelerator runs Half-Life 2 at 30 FPS. Heat conducts throughout the book's frame as part of a passive cooling system, and the included batteries last for two hours—which, for what's probably the world's first book-top, is pretty impressive.
Awaiting an adventurer's hand is Myst: Masterpiece Edition, realMyst, Riven, Myst III: Exile, Myst IV: Revelation, Uru: Ages Beyond Myst & The Path of the Shell expansion, Myst V: End of Ages, The Manhole: Masterpiece Edition, and Crowthistle. Extra bonuses include "a copy of the Book of Atrus e-book plus shortcut copies of some extracted Myst Island flyby videos/linking panel images."
"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, and I must admit however, 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, Myst intro