One of the projects I used to love doing as a Head Teacher was to work with a writing group from Primary 6 or 7 using the computer programme Myst. The children really enjoyed the problem solving within the game and working together as a team to solve the clues. We would stop and write descriptive paragraphs and at the end we invited the parents in to our Myst room. We made or own Myst film and the children displayed their finished stories and also the parents had a chance to play the game themselves. It was a brilliant celebration of their work. For those of you who don’t know Myst here is a short description to set the scene:-
‘The stranger stumbles across an unusual book titled “Myst” He reads the book and discovers a detailed description of an island world. Placing his hand on the last page, the Stranger is whisked away to the world described, and is left with no choice but to explore
Myst, the island world described in the book, contains a library where two additional books can be found, coloured red and blue. These books are traps which hold Sirrus and Achenar, the sons of Atrus, who lives on Myst island with his wife Catherine. Atrus uses an ancient practice to write special “linking books”, which transport people to the worlds, or “Ages”, that the books describe. From the panels of their books, Sirrus and Achenar tell the Stranger that Atrus is dead, each claiming that the other brother murdered him, and plead for the Stranger to help them escape. However, the books are missing several pages, so the sons’ messages are at first unclear, and riddled with static.
As the Stranger continues to explore the island, more books are discovered hidden behind complex mechanisms and puzzles. There are four books in total, each linking to a different Age. The Stranger must visit each Age, find the red and blue pages hidden there, and then return to Myst Island. These pages can then be placed in the corresponding books. As the Stranger adds more pages to these books, the brothers can speak more and more clearly. Throughout this process, each brother maintains that the other brother cannot be trusted. After collecting four pages, the brothers can talk clearly enough to tell the Stranger where the fifth page is hidden. If the Stranger gives either brother their fifth page, they will be free. The Stranger is left with a choice to help Sirrus, Achenar, or neither.’
The rest of the story you will have to discover for yourself! To show you the results here is a sample of one child’s finished story
“Myst is a land like no other. It is a land where the gigantic trees, sunken boats, frozen cogs and even innocent book filled libraries hold so many secrets. Many cycles ago a legendary adventurer Atrus began to settle down. He found Myst when he was exploring the ancient land once inhabited by the mysterious tree dwellers. He soon realised the mysterious islands potential. Atrus sprang like a rocket out of retirement. He created a new legacy by using Myst to make linking books, which whisk you away to special “checkpoints”
Atrus’s two sons, Sirus and Achnar , were a fantastic help to their father. However they were ambushed with mundane jobs which riled them into extracting their revenge….
Fire. Flames .Burning. Books were being incinerated by the second. Atrus’s only option was to flee to the only safe place, D’ni, with his sons trapped in a clever trick.
Recently a new hero has ventured into Myst. Greeted by a mysterious message saying “Welcome to Myst. Enjoy it’s surreal beauty and discover its many secrets. Secrets indeed…
Half curious, half anxious he ventured forth into a rectangular room. At first it seemed to be an innocent family living room. Upon further inspection it turned out to be wood lined library. As he crept to the docks he noticed something. A section of the wall appeared to concave. Does he dare touch it? His hand slid out, closer, closer until it hit the door .
It shot open with incredible speed. BONK. THUNK. He had fallen down what appeared to purple glossy stairs. There was a large cauldron in front of him.
After divulging the true purpose of the room (a cartographer) our protagonist walked up a stone studded path. He paused to study a solid marble building which was grey as the smoke from a forest fire. At first he did not notice the walnut wooden door with a large golden disk in the centre. Again he slid forward and knocked on the metallic plate. Again it slid open, albeit a bit slower.
It was rather cosy inside, almost like a home where most people would be sitting free of worry, despite only being a room as big as classroom with only a dentist chair pointing upwards. Then our hero walked forth with a strange sort of bravery. As he was strolling along he noticed a building with a large ornate door. He slid in, knowing again how to open it, and only saw several book shelves, two paintings and a pair of red and blue books.
After exiting the exotic library he found a long path flanked by tall stone white pillars with strange symbols engraved on them. In the middle of the path was a snow white bird bath. At loud thump came from the river to the north. Whispering…. Quickly he realised what was happening.
Despite expecting to be gobbled by the raging infernos of hell, he only found an ornate, hand crafted boat. It swam half-sunken in a rippling pool.
He continued his exploration of the island. Suddenly he spotted a Mysterious clock tower in the distance. Then he stumbled upon an old power station. WRRRRR. The room lit up with power as he began flip switches.
He began to jog back to the library. As he jumped into the room he walked up to one of the paintings. His hand ran over it. SWWWOOOH. A door had appeared from nowhere. A terrible screech filled the room. Only one thing mattered now. The noise had to stop. It continued like a car grinding along the wall.
As soon it had started, it stopped. He recovered, but still shaky, and ventured forth through the hole in the wall. At the end of the hall there was circular tube. As he approached, a glowing yellow light, as radiant the sun, grew brighter. Hesitantly he stepped in side the tube. A shutter slammed down in the gap. The capsule was sent sky-ward with force of a bullet. Praying, praying every thing was okay.
Ping! The 3ft by 3ft, yellow, glowing capsule stopped with a bonk. The metallic shutter shot open once again. Whispering. Growing stronger all the time. As he clambered out of his elevator he noticed a large round pipe with a golden plaque encrusted near the valve.
The sign read “Tower Rotation”. As he finally realised he was in what seemed to be a safe haven from….what? An eternal enemy, raging down the war path? Was it the monstrous beast that burned the books?
He clambered up a steel ladder flecked with rust. He stumbled on to a high platform. As walked around he saw a large crack in the wall. He peered out to see a 90ft tree…So now it begins…. Whispers. So close, yet just out of reach.’