Cybernaut 

Back into the Myst

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While being thoroughly underwhelmed by my Second Life experience, or at least my half-assed method of doing it on the cheap, I’m getting ready to take the virtual plunge once again. Hopefully with a better looking avatar.

Last week the good people at Turner Broadcasting and Cyan Worlds at last went live with Myst Online: Uru Live, which promises all the same kind of beauty, mystery and puzzle-driven action of the Myst games.

(Full disclosure: I never owned the first Myst, but played it on a friend’s computer and never made it to the finish. I attempted the first sequel after hours at a previous job, but gave up when I realized I didn’t have the time to give the game the focus it needs. Still, I had to admit that the games were pretty cool.)

The new Myst game will be free at first, although like Second Life you’ll need to cough up a few bucks after a certain point — once you’re hooked that is.

This is going to be huge — some say bigger than Second Life — as it crosses virtually all virtual boundaries. It’s easy to use and the format will appeal to young and old, men and women alike. Also, it’s non-violent, it’s intellectually challenging, and it appears at this point to be endless — the creators have promised that there will always be new adventures and new puzzles to solve. If previous Myst games are any indication, the game should also be beautiful to look at, and perfectly scored with mysterious, trance-inducing music. It will also be well written. While it’s rare that the writing in a video game stands out — Resident Evil 4, God of War, and Fable are among the rare exceptions — Myst has always been a little like a combination mystery-fantasy-sci-fi novel brought to life.

The online version will work much like the PC game, essentially with you using your keyboard to navigate and your mouse to interact with things. The real challenge will be the puzzles, and finding the patterns in your discoveries that let you progress through this virtual world.

The PC version is ready for download, and the Mac version will be out in a few weeks at www.gametap.com/home/myst/ .

Canada a piracy paradise

When it comes to protecting digital copyright, Canada’s official response has been a lot more laid back than most countries’. One judge even went as far as to compare the swapping of digital music and files to the act of photocopying pages out of a book in the library, showing a relative lack of understanding about the seriousness of the issue.

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