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I want to preface this post by admitting that I am not a video game person, I never really enjoyed or played video games as a kid. So the first I had heard of Myst was in this class and I did not get very far in the game.

Regardless I am not convinced of the uniqueness of navigable space to new media. It may be that “space becomes a media type,” but it is not evident to the user. The experience of Myst was more akin to a story told through pictures. As the player you had to organize the pictures, but it does not strike me as¬†substantially¬†different from completing a more traditional puzzle. The use of the computer game as a medium does enable the puzzle to be put together in multiple ways, a possibility not allowed by cardboard pieces, but does not change the heart of the media.

I do not deny that cyberspace has been illustrated and conceptualized as a navigable space, but I think that extending the metaphor to encompass how a video game character moves through a video game world is taking it too far. It is not too different from a choose your own adventure novel or Patchwork Girl except that the story is told through illustrations rather than through words. It is simply another method of storytelling. The creators of Myst acknowledged that they created a world rather than a game, but then does a fantasy author not also create a world?

Especially with its classification as a form of new media it struck me how closely linked Myst was to traditional media. It was expanded upon in books and TV, which I am assuming were driven by a more linear, narrative driven, less participatory story line. This indicates to me that Myst was not so fundamentally a new media creation that it could not be translated into the classic media model. Similarly taking the definition of navigable space as unique to new media would imply that Myst was not dependent on navigable space if it could be extended to media that are not compatible with navigable space.

Perhaps trivially, I found it interesting that Myst relied so much upon the library and the books on its shelf. It has not moved too far from traditional media if it is still conveying information through words on a page, albeit in this case it was words on the image of a page on a computer screen. All types of media seem to be inextricably linked and dependent on the other to exist.