Gamescape: Myst, The Selenitic Age

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If one were asked to describe the Selenitic Age of Myst in the simplest way possible, they would only have to mention that it is a world of sound…accessed by a spaceship. And that is exactly what it is. Sound is such an integral part of this world that to even access it, a puzzle involving a harpsichord must be solved…within a spaceship.

The world itself is completely void of human life, like many worlds before it. However, this world shows no signs of being inhabited by anyone other than the man who built the many structures and walkways that extend throughout the world. Like many others, the Selenitic Age takes place on an island in what appears to be an endless ocean…but the world is strange, the most alien yet. There are no clouds in the sky, no fish in the sea–only a sickeningly blue sky for as far as the eye can see. The land is torn; where gentle hills once stood now stand sharp crevasses, massive craters, dangerous spires of crystal.

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The island itself, torn as it is, contains several distinct areas that, if further explored, seem as different as these different Ages of Myst. The barren, rocky pathways that circle lakes formed in recent craters; the near silence of a flat, sandy beach with nothing but a broken clock. A man-made series of metal walkways, corroded from the waters they pass over, threads through a petrified forest of bizarre alien crystals that shine teal and pink, their spires stretching from the still, clear water like trees from the ground. And off in the distance, some distance from this strange pseudo-forest, lies a grove of true trees, their sudden shock of living green startling in this otherwise dead landscape.

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Scattered throughout this strange landscape are strange towers that appear to have equipment on them reminiscent of that on a radio tower–no doubt these were constructed to make some use of the unusual sounds that naturally occur in this Age. And there are many of these sounds, everywhere. These towers, their purpose unknown, amplify the sound created in the different areas of the island: the music that changes from one place to the next. A whistle here, a mechanical groan there, the hiss of wind flowing through a forest of trees, a single drop of water, repeated endlessly.

In a world devoid of life, there is an eerie sense of inhabitation. While no living creatures may live here, aside from the trees that somehow have survived the catastrophic events that scarred the rest of the island, there is still life in the music of the land. Constantly changing, evolving with the wind, the temperature, the time, it is the sounds created by this land that call it home. Not strictly music in the human definitions, the sound of this place has no name that is a better fit. The sights of this Selenitic Age would never be complete without the land’s living music–it is just as much a soundscape as it is a landscape.

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