Friday, October 19, 2012

from the mysts of time

In yesterday's sales pitch for Apple (dear Apple: call me! My killer marketing can boost your sales! Please pay me in App Store gift cards) I neglected to mention something. You can buy the complete games of Myst and Riven for $4.99 each! Myst and its sequels were the only computer games that fulfilled both qualifications of a. working on my parents' Mac, as back in the day there were next to no "cool" games that ran on a Mac - my options were Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, the maze that came along with the educational Leonardo da Vinci CD-ROM, chess, and Eric's Solitaire Sampler - and b. not requiring any sort of quick response, i.e. any game involving fighting of any kind (see: 220 hours to finish The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. I've hardly started Skyward Sword and it's been almost a year).

It's a feat of how far computers have come that my parents' iMac crashed every five minutes playing Riven but my iPod manages it just fine. The original was even on 5 separate CDs that you had to  change all the time. Despite being over 15 years old, the games hold up remarkably well and they're still beautiful and complex and fun. But playing Riven reminds me of when I first started playing it, which is horribly embarrassing, but isn't that the point of a blog?

I think it was my 14-year-old Christmas. Riven was relatively new, and my sister and I had both finished Myst. We were both dying for Riven, but it was really expensive (probably $40 or something) and we weren't allowed to buy ourselves anything before Christmas. We had no guarantees that we would get it for Christmas either - my dad believes that presents should be "what you always wanted but never thought to ask for," which makes all gift-giving occasions extremely complicated, and Santa lists were pointless. Even making a list of "stuff I really don't want but kind of hints at the thing I do want" didn't work. I don't know about my sister, but I was in the Slough of Despond.

But lo and behold, on the festal morning there was a square package addressed to both Meribeth and me, and it turned out to be the long-awaited game. (Side note: why on earth were computer games packaged in such ridiculously large boxes?) Somehow Meribeth won the right to play it first, which was total nonsense because younger sister bias etc, and I lost it. Full-on meltdown. Now that I witness Lucy's toddler tantrums over things I have a proper scale to compare myself to, and it was THE SAME. I was honestly just like a three-year-old, crying and sobbing and FREAKING ANGRY that she got to play it FIRST and it was NOT FAIR and I NEEEEEEDED IT. I remember my parents being horrified. (Parents: do you remember this?) Seriously, I had to wait all of three hours to play a game that took me at least six months to finish, and that signaled the apocalypse. Nothing else under the tree mattered. It was materialism at its worst; I was Dudley Dursley; and I am so freaking embarrassed about it. But obviously not embarrassed enough to keep this story to myself.

So now you know. I'm sure you think less of me. Coming up: the year I named myself after a tv character, took on as many of her attributes as I possibly could, and wouldn't respond to Annemarie. Even at school. (Oh my gosh, I am the world's biggest loser.)


  1. Anonymous9:38 AM

    Actually we don't remember it at all. Maybe after over a decade of tantrums we were immune? :-)
    You do write amusingly when you make fun of yourself. We just had a good laugh. Mom

  2. You are hilarious and I love you.

  3. For the millionth time, I have NO IDEA how we are friends... But I respect + honour your nerdishness :)

  4. I sparkly heart love these last two posts. Please write like this all the time and every day so I can pretend I will not live so very far away. (Ok, it's not so very far, but far enough.)