Gamescape: Myst, the Stoneship Age


Standing alone in the middle of an ocean that has no end is a rock. This rock is too small to be an island, to rocky to be the tip of a sunken volcano, this monument stands as the tip of a mountain, shattering the calm glass of the waters around it. This is not simply a rock in an endless ocean. On its sides lie two halves of a small ship, split as if it has crashed into the rock–an impossible feat, considering the remarkable lack of any other landmarks in this world. A lighthouse sits just beyond the broken ship, connected with a makeshift walkway of wooden planks.

Upon closer inspection, the mountaintop reveals a perfectly carved doorway, and stairs that lead far into pitch black. Five feet down, these steps can only be followed by feel, as all light is lost–it is impossible to know how deep the stairs lead. At the bottom stand two bedrooms, a common sight in these lost Ages of Myst: the bedrooms of the men who once used these Ages as their own. As different as the brothers they belong to, these rooms possess an almost horrifying quality. Like the rest of the Age, they are empty, abandoned for what could have been years.


One room is clean, yet absurdly furnished in gaudy silks and fine furniture, as some imagine the bedroom of a successful pirate might look like. Everything here is clean and new, bright and colorful–though the contents of the drawers in these cabinets tell a different story. Among maps of strange continents and islands of unknown origin lie unlabeled bottles of unknown liquids, syringes, pills. A secret, darker life, hidden beneath a lavish mask.


The owner of the second room has not bothered to hide his dark side. This place is filthy, a bed stained by what no one would want to know, knives and chemical bottles strewn about. Dominating the room is a light fixture made from the ribcage of what observers would hope is an animal of some sort, though with the contents of the rest of the room no one could be sure.

Another staircase leads into the belly of the seemingly wrecked ship, to a third area that does not seem to belong to the men who have left their mark so dramatically within the mountain. The electricity is not as strong down here, and only a pale glimmer of light from a small lamp illuminates the space. Pieces of delicate machinery, decorated in a nautical theme, live in this almost neutral and untouched space. Through the windows underneath the ship all that can be seen is the empty blue of the endless sea, one even devoid of fish.

As the other ages of Myst, this Age made of stone and what once was a ship holds signs of a world that was once inhabited–but is no longer. Curling around the mountain like a snake is a wooden path, which almost takes an eternity to climb. Standing at the top is a single telescope, staring out into nothing–nothing at all. There is a lighthouse, a hollowed out mountaintop, a once-occupied ship, but no purpose, no function. The lighthouse holds no light, the ship no crew, the telescope no view. The Stoneship is alone.



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