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Fans say Riven release lives up to hype


Sequel to best-selling Myst

October 31, 1997
Web posted at: 11:30 a.m. EST (1630 GMT)

ATLANTA (CNN) -- Of all computer games, Myst is the all-time, number-one hit. Released back in 1993, it still sits at the top of computer game sales charts today, its popularity strong despite the lack of blood and gore typical of other popular games. Friday its widely anticipated sequel, Riven, went on sale.

And according to reviewers, the brothers who designed it succeeded not only in making a seamless transition between the two, but in improving on the original design.

From garage company to industry standard

Brothers Robyn and Rand Miller, the two architects of the Myst universe, started their fledgling company Cyan Software in the garage of their Spokane, Washington, home.

vxtreme CNN's Brian Nelson takes on us on a tour of this hot new game.

Myst's publishing was the watershed event that helped CD-ROM technology attract hesitant consumers. Three million Myst sales later, the Millers work out of the basement of an office building designed to reflect the look and feel of the game.

Before Riven even had a name, Rand told CNN, the brothers wanted it to "be a natural flow from Myst into the sequel."

"Although it's improved, although it's going to be fantastic, I think people are going to feel at home again, the same feel they got from Myst," he said.

Myst look, feel recaptured

Previews of the sequel show that the Miller brothers have indeed recaptured Myst's look and feel, but with much more detail, including textured landscapes, graphics, and sound.

Moreover, Riven, unlike Myst, is not a deserted land. It is populated by people who speak a language unknown to you. There are also strange aquatic creatures, insects and birds.

The added details help make Riven much more than just a game. Instead, it is a journey through an engineered reality with secrets to discover, a story line to uncover and puzzles to decipher.

Hefty computer demands

They also help make Riven much more than a one-CD game. In fact, it takes five CDs, which have to be switched out frequently during play. (Despite this, previewers say the game was still completely absorbing.)

And if you haven't upgraded your computer lately, you won't be able to play. IBM-compatible users will need Windows 95 and a 4X CD-ROM drive, and at least 100 Mhz Pentium, 16 MB of RAM, and 75 MB of hard disk space.

Mac users must have an equivalent CD-ROM drive, with Mac/OS System 7.5 or higher, a 90 Mhz Power PC or faster, 9 MB of free RAM, and at least 65 MB of hard disk space.

Cyan plowed its profits from Myst and three best-selling spin-off novels into Riven's development; Cyan needs to sell at least 1 million copies to recoup the $7 million investment. The Millers hope to sell 3 million.

Makers: No more sequels

So what is the future of Myst universe? The brothers Miller say Riven is the end.

"I think it would be a detriment to always, for the rest of our lives, be creating Myst-like projects," said Robyn. "We're going to change, evolve and grow, just like any person does in any manner."

Myst is certainly a hard act to follow, but of all the good computer games coming out this fall, the people who have already tried out Riven say it is one of the best.

Correspondents Steve Baxter and Brian Nelson contributed to this report.

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