[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/myst-ti.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[-[[TechnologyMarchesOn Imagine yourself back in 1993,]] and seeing a game like this for the very first time...-] ]]

->''"I realized the moment I fell into the fissure that the book would not be destroyed as I had planned. It continued falling into that starry expanse, of which I had only a fleeting glimpse. I have tried to speculate where it might have landed, but I must admit such conjecture is futile; still, questions about [[PlayerCharacter whose hands might one day hold my Myst book]] are unsettling to me. I know my apprehensions might never be allayed, and so I close, realizing that [[ArcWords perhaps the ending has not yet been written]]."''
-->--'''Atrus''', writing in his journal at the end of ''Myst: The Book of Atrus''

Most games have a premise, dictating an objective which the player achieves through gameplay. Some games, however, have discovering the premise and the objective as [[LateToTheTragedy part of the gameplay]].

Myst was a puzzle-heavy first-person {{adventure game}} which [[FollowTheLeader sparked off a new sub-genre]]. Developed by the brothers Rand and Robyn Miller in 1993, the game became an unexpected hit, mainly due to its eerie, haunting atmosphere and, for the time, outstanding graphics.[[note]]The passage of time has masked this somewhat, but Myst's graphics were ''revolutionary''. Look at the page picture. Now consider that the rest of the computer game world was still doing 16-bit.[[/note]] It was swiftly followed by a host of imitators, most of which are decidedly inferior to the original.

''Myst'' is famous for its mind-bending logic puzzles and lack of character interaction - most of the games feature only a handful of {{NPC}}s and very little dialogue. Unsurprisingly, adventure fans are heavily divided over the merits of the game, with most players [[LoveItOrHateIt falling firmly into the 'love' or 'hate' camps]]. It has even been accused of [[GenreKiller helping to hasten the 'death' of adventure games]], even though many gamers were introduced to the genre by ''Myst'' and its sequels.

The late Creator/DouglasAdams, upon playing Myst, cheerfully declared the game to be a 'BeautifulVoid' due to the lack of other characters or life of any kind. (He also created ''StarshipTitanic'', which was a game with a very similar premise [-[[RecycledINSPACE IN SPACE]]-], with snarky robots.)

It is also worth noting that characterization of 'The Player' (Sometimes called [[FanNickname 'The Stranger']]) is achieved after an interesting fashion in that the few NPC's that play a primary role, Atrus and his family, treat the main character with familiarity that develops as the series progresses. This leads to the player's becoming something akin to their family friend, and subtly integrating the player themself as a character into the world of the game by avoiding dictating the nature of the protagonist.

The Myst games deal with the D'ni civilization, a race of people (not humans) that lived in a cavern under the Earth until their civilization fell a few centuries ago. The D'ni had the ability to write about locations they imagined in special books that could then physically transport a person to the places they described. Atrus, the main non-player character in the games, is one of the last survivors of the D'ni (though he's three-quarters human).

See also "Literature/TlonUqbarOrbisTertius".

!!!The Myst series has six games:
* ''Myst'': The player is transported to a strange, deserted island by reading a magical book. Once there, he/she discovers two brothers trapped inside similar books, each of whom blames the other for the murder of their father Atrus and the destruction of his library. With the help of various notes, journals and recorded messages left by Atrus and his sons, the player must piece together what happened and decide who to free. According to WordOfGod, Myst is set in the early 19th century.\\
\\
''Myst'' has also been [[VideoGameRemake remade]] several times:
** ''Myst: Masterpiece Edition'' is a {{remaster}}ing of the original with unchanged gameplay.
** Versions have been released for the NintendoDS, {{PSP}}, Nintendo3DS, and iPhone.
** ''realMyst'' allows players to wander through a fully realized 3D version of the game.
** And for the 20th anniversary, we have ''realMyst: Masterpiece Edition'', which updates ''realMyst'' with even more graphical improvements.
* ''[[VideoGame/{{Riven}} Riven: The Sequel to Myst]]'': Atrus, after being freed by the player in the previous game, sends the player to Riven (an Age reached by linking book), where Atrus's father Gehn is holding Atrus's wife Catherine captive. The player must free Catherine, trap Gehn, and find a way to signal Atrus. In the end, the player is returned home (which is presumably on Earth). Considered by many Myst fans to be the best game in the franchise, and also the most difficult.
* ''Myst III: Exile'': Several years after the events of Riven, the player visits Atrus in the latter's new home Tomahna (which is in the desert of New Mexico). While there, a man called Saavedro steals a book linking to the Age of Releeshahn (which Atrus was writing as a new home for the D'ni survivors) to get revenge for the evil acts perpetrated against Saavedro by Atrus's sons Sirrus and Achenar. The player must follow Saavedro and get the book back, while finding out about what drives Saavedro.
* ''Myst IV: Revelation'': Around ten years after Exile, Sirrus and Achenar return to kidnap Atrus's daughter Yeesha (around 10 years old in this game). The player visits the prison Ages in which Sirrus and Achenar were trapped, as well as a third Age called Serenia, to discover their plans and to try to free Yeesha.
* ''Uru: Ages Beyond Myst'': Set in the present day (2003, the game's release date), Uru is a spin-off of the Myst series. In the 1980's, a group of people discovered the D'ni cavern, and formed the D'ni Restoration Council. The player (who is obviously not the same character as the previous games, since it's 200 years later) is drawn to go to the desert and follows a journey set out by Yeesha that leads the player to find out much about the history and downfall of the D'ni, and about creatures called the Bahro that were enslaved by the D'ni. Uru also includes a massively multiplayer online component, which has been launched, canceled, relaunched, canceled again, and relaunched ''again'' throughout its history. After Uru Live was canceled (for the first time), two expansion packs were released with the planned future content for Uru Live. The first, ''To D'ni'', allows the player to explore the D'ni cavern and deals with the fate of the DRC. The second, ''Path of the Shell'', is about a prophecy concerning someone called the Grower (who would bring D'ni back to life) and a D'ni guild master named Kadish who claimed to be the Grower. It currently exists, [[FreewareGames for free]] but with no promises of future content updates, in the form of ''[[http://mystonline.com/en/ Myst Online: Uru Live]]''. As of 2010 it's [[http://www.openuru.org/ open source.]]
* ''Myst V: End of Ages'': The final Myst game is also set in the present day and is more a sequel to Uru than Myst. The game doesn't state who the player is, but according to WordOfGod it's Dr. Watson from the DRC (from Uru). The player is set a quest to release a Tablet, that controls/enslaves the Bahro. Both Yeesha and a D'ni survivor called Esher have attempted this quest but failed, and both will aid the player in their own way.

There are also several tie-in novels, authored by the Miller brothers themselves[[note]]Well... it should be noted that while the by lines say Rand (and Robyn, for the first one) Miller ''with'' David Winegrove, it would be more accurate to say that the novels were written by David Winegrove under the Millers' supervision. The fact that by the third book Cyan was too busy with Riven to really reign Winegrove in is something of a sore spot among the fans[[/note]]. ''Myst: The Book of Atrus'' tells the story of Atrus's early life with his grandmother Anna and his father Gehn. ''Myst: The Book of Ti'ana'' tells the story of the downfall of the D'ni (so this takes place before the Book of Atrus). ''Myst: The Book of D'ni'' tells of Atrus's attempts to find D'ni survivors and rebuild the D'ni civilization. And finally, ''Myst: The Book of Marrim'', which seems to be permanently mired in DevelopmentHell, though a preview chapter was released with the European Special Edition of Myst V. A fan-produced webcomic adaptation of ''The Book of Atrus'' is in progress [[http://mystcomic.smackjeeves.com/comics/ here]].

An independently produced (but still approved by the Miller brothers) FilmOfTheBook (the ''Book of Ti'ana'' to be precise) was announced. The scriptwriters kept a daily-updated blog about their progress, with some rather odd digressions about their personal lives in connection with the project. Since the website is blank, [[DevelopmentHell the future of the project is uncertain]].

The creators of ''Myst'' are also currently making a SpiritualSuccessor called ''{{VideoGame/Obduction}}''.

----
!!Tropes appearing across the series:

* AchievementsInIgnorance: Yeesha can do a lot of things when writing Ages that were previously thought impossible (even above and beyond what her mother does-see below). It turns out that a lot of things that were previously thought to be hard-and-fast natural laws surrounding the process of writing linking books were just ancient traditions which had been around so long they assumed they must be laws. By being raised and taught in an environment where those weren't drummed into her head, Yeesha is able to accomplish things that everything her forefathers knew told them should cause her worlds to self-destruct.
* AdaptationExpansion: In ''realMyst'', a new Age is added to the original game, and several areas of the island and previous Ages can be visited that weren't formerly accessible.
* AffablyEvil: [[spoiler:The Terahnee in general]].
* AffectionateParody: PYST, by the late Peter Bergman of the FiresignTheatre. (Bergman sadly passed away in 2012.)
* AfterTheEnd: For the D'ni.
* AllThereInTheManual:
** Unless you had read ''The Book of D'ni'', you might be surprised at how there is suddenly a new D'ni civilization.
** ''The Book of Atrus'' ends with a scene that recaps the page quote, explaining the context of the first game's voice-over and accompanying visuals.
* AlternativeNumberSystem: The D'ni have a base 25 system, in keeping with the games' general tendency to use powers of five as {{Arc Number}}s.
* AnachronismStew: The games take place in the early 1800s. The D'ni have technology which can transport them to other worlds and record messages with holographic video. (They even had this in the '''1700s''', as Gehn's old technology demonstrates.) They had built surveillance cameras, circuit boards, maglev cars, and giant, rotating buildings and structures centuries before Earth would conceive such technology. Yet they still used candles for light and relied on books.
* AndIMustScream: The protagonist suffers this fate in two of the "bad" endings to the first game; i.e. if you bring the last page to [[spoiler: either brother.]]
** [[spoiler: Gehn]] suffers the same fate in ''Riven'' if you do things right.
** Sirrus and Achenar were imprisoned in Spire and Haven respectively, completely alone, for over 20 years. Which is fair enough, as they'd done exactly the same thing to Saavedro ForTheEvulz.
* AndManGrewProud: The D'ni as a whole seemed to have a problem with this. The process of Age Writing does not actually create worlds (see the RewritingReality entry), but many of its practitioners seemed to forget this after a while. It seems you can't swing a stick in D'ni history without hitting a King or other important figure who became drunk on his own skill and committed horrid atrocities to the inhabitants of one or more Ages. Gehn is a great example, thinking himself a god, and Sirrus and Achenar both seem to have fallen into this trap as well. Even Yeesha admits there was a time she felt the same.
--> '''Yeesha:''' It was the same with the D'ni. The same cycle. Light opens the darkness. It takes, it uses, and it keeps. The D'ni found power in these books. These books you use to travel. They were a gift from the Maker. These Ages that you travel, too, were their Ages. Remarkable places giving life and taking life. This shadow came over them, this shadow of light. For it was in their enlightenment that they considered themselves better, better than the least. And we were sad for them.
* ArcNumber:
** 5 in ''Riven'' and in the [[AllThereInTheManual backstory]]. 5 is an important number to the D'ni culture. Because Gehn was a D'ni with delusions of grandeur (and sadistic tendencies), he brought the 5 motif to Riven with him. Five plays a major developmental part, in numbers and linguistics. Each number from 0 to 24 involves five symbols (0 is blank). To get numbers after 4, one rotates the first symbol 90 degrees ('1' rotated is '5', '2' rotated is '10', et cetera), then adds it to the unrotated symbol from 0 to 4 to get the full digit. After that, the '25s' place is one to the left. The phonemes work practically the same way... The original release also came on five discs.
** It turns out 25 is actually the number holding the most cultural significance to the D'ni, as their number system is in Base 25 as opposed to our Base 10. Additionally, 25^2 is 625, the number connected to the Grower. The reason Gehn used the number 5 so powerfully around the islands of Riven is because Gehn misremembered this culturally significant number as 5 and not 25 (he was fairly young when the D'ni civilization collapsed), so he wrote everything in the link to Riven around the number 5.
* ArcWords: "The ending has not yet been written."
* ArtifactTitle: After the first game, the number of times that Myst Island is seen or referenced can be written out in one D'ni numeral [[note]]24 or lower[[/note]].
** For Riven, Myst is only mentioned on its game box, in the subtitle "The Sequel to Myst". This subtitle does not appear in the game itself.
** Myst Island makes an appearance in '''Myst V''', in [[spoiler:one of the bad endings]].
* ArtisticLicensePhysics:
** To demonstrate the Bahro's mastery of time, the night version of Minkata features a visibly spinning ''Galaxy''! To put it into perspective, our own Milky Way takes 250 '''million''' years to rotate ''once''!
** Most of what Yeesha does, having learnt from the aforementioned Bahro.
* AscendedFanboy: Brad Dourif plays Saavedro in Myst 3. He was a big Myst fan at the time.
* BeautifulVoid: TropeNamer.
* BeneathTheEarth: The D'ni, in rare comfort, too. (But not without class issues)
* BigScrewedUpFamily
* BittersweetEnding: All the games to a greater or lesser extent. Assuming the best endings:
** In the original ''Myst'', Atrus is freed in the end, albeit in the knowledge that most of his books have been destroyed and his sons have turned to evil. He mentions that [[SequelHook an even greater foe awaits]].
** In ''Riven'', [[spoiler: Gehn is trapped and the people of the Age freed in Tay, the Stranger goes home, and Atrus and Catherine are reunited. But the Age of Riven itself dies, along with all of its animals, and it seems unlikely at that point that the Stranger and Atrus' family will meet again]].
** If the player chooses to [[spoiler: [[VideogameCrueltyPotential leave Saavedro stranded after retrieving the Releeshahn book from him]]]], ''Myst III: Exile'' can also [[WhatTheHellPlayer fall under this]]. Even if you get the best possible ending instead, Saavedro has still lost twenty years of his life, including his daughters' entire childhoods, and is quite possibly incurably insane. To say nothing of the fact that he's become a psychopath, easily capable of snapping and killing someone with little provocation. What kind of rehabilitation does he have ahead of him? Makes the homecoming pretty darn bittersweet right there...
** In ''Revelation'', Yeesha is safe, but [[spoiler: Achenar dies in a RedemptionEqualsDeath moment]].
* CallBack: Three of the Ages in the original ''Myst'' have separate rooms that Sirrus and Achenar have inhabited at some point, where their pages are. Not so in the Selenitic Age. Sirrus' page is in the middle of crystalline ''spires'', while Achenar's is in the little spot of vegetation left - a ''haven''. Then comes ''Myst IV.'' [[spoiler:[[FridgeBrilliance Three guesses what their prison ages are named, and why.]]]]
* CanonDiscontinuity: the comic book, ''Myst: The Book of Black Ships''. Cyan's main gripe was that ''Dark Horse'' mixed up Sirrus's and Achenar's names. When the publisher refused to correct this in the remaining issues, Cyan had the series cancelled.
* CastAsAMask: Inverted and has some [[GenderBender gender bending]] thrown in with [[spoiler:Sirrus]] in ''Revelation''
* ChessMotifs: Yes Sirrus, Atrus made a [[IncrediblyLamePun Légal move]].
* ClosedCircle
* CrapsaccharineWorld: Terahnee
* CrapsackWorld: Teledahn qualifies as it was used as [[spoiler:a secret base for slave trafficking]], as does Noloben, where Esher [[spoiler:performed gruesome experiments on the Bahro]].
* DefectorFromDecadence: The entire D'ni civilization was founded with this intention.
* DramaticLandfallShot: The opening shot of the first game is an early example. Also Mechanical, Stoneship, J'nanin, Edanna, Haven, Teledahn... A good number of the Ages are islands, so they get to use this a ''lot''. Justified by the fact that an age's descriptive book is already an enormous volume of several thousand pages, so describing an entire planet's features would make a book far too large to handle.
* [[DrJerk Dr. Jerk]]: Jarl .
* {{Drunk on the Dark Side}}
* EarthDrift: Inverted.
* EndlessDaytime: A staple of the series. In ''URU'', Teledahn's sun moves horizontally across the sky, never dipping beneath the horizon as it circles.
** ''[[UpdatedRerelease realMYST]]'' mostly averted this trope thanks to updated technology, although the real-time for Channelwood, [[http://stoneship.org/pub/myst/games/myst/screenshots/channelwood/not_in/night.jpg while planned,]] was scrapped, for whatever reason.
** Also averted in Eder Gira in ''URU'', which has a day/night cycle of about six hours.
* EverythingsBetterWithSpinning: In ''URU'', the rotating fortresses of Gahreesen are designed to prevent mass linking, in order to disable an invading force.
** Gehn's firemarble domes spin as an external security measure, unlocked by timing its color symbol with a viewer.
** There's even one ridiculous point in Exile where, after solving a waterwheel puzzle in the Voltaic Age, the gear that meshes with it makes you spin around on top in one screen.
* FaceHeelTurn: [[spoiler:Veovis.]]
* FantasticFlora: Loads of kinds in Edanna.
* FantasyCounterpartAppliance: The firemarbles are used more or less like lightbulbs, but seem to work very differently.
* FeaturelessProtagonist: All games, except for ''URU''.
* (soon to be, [[DevelopmentHell maybe]]) {{Film of the Book}}
* {{Follow the Leader}}
* {{Gadgeteer Genius}}es: The D'ni. Aside from the Art, they're also notable for their remarkable engineering skills.
* GenreKiller: Of the inventory management PointAndClick.
* GodIsInept: Poorly written Age-books result in this.
* GoBackToTheSource: In every game including "URU", at the end of the game the player returns to one of the first scenes.
** In Myst, [[spoiler:Myst Island (and you have to visit the dock Marker Switch again)]].
** In Riven, [[spoiler:the Fissure on Temple Island]].
** In Exile, [[spoiler:Tomahna]].
** In URU, [[spoiler:The Cleft]].
** In Myst V, [[spoiler:K'veer]].
* GuideDangIt: A huge chunk of any game in this series becomes this relatively quickly. Made a bit more tolerable by the narrative tone that the official guides take, serving as the voice of the protagonist as he writes a journal of the occurrences.
** Want to know the one of the worst cases of this in the first game? [[spoiler: Being Tone Deaf and attempting the Organ Rocketship puzzle to get to the Selenic Age]]
** The animal puzzle in Riven. Even if you've figured out the two or three layers of puzzle that spans the entire game map to know which animals you're looking for [[spoiler:(one of which Gehn broke and you have to figure out via other means)]], the primitive cave pictograms on the stones where you ultimately enter them in don't depict them all that well.
** The puzzles in ''Uru: Path of the Shell'' revolve around waiting for long periods of time, 14 minutes for almost all of them to be precise. The only hint to this is Bible-style references written on the walls, referenced in books in Relto which force you to count each individual line, which require you to know D'ni math to figure out what 625 units of their time is in normal minutes.
* HeelFaceTurn: [[spoiler: Veovis, ro'Eh ro'Dan, Achenar.]] Perhaps Shomat, as well.
* HeelFaithTurn: If Shomat did, in fact, do a HeelFaceTurn, this is how.
* HomeworldEvacuation: Another non-Earth example: The D'ni originated on a world called Garternay, which became uninhabitable when its sun began growing dim. Their ancestors fled into a succession of other worlds via their linking books, and have since lost all contact with their abandoned homeworld.
* HumanAliens: Well, the D'ni aren't space aliens, but they don't originate from this universe. Several of the D'ni-written worlds include effectively human--or rather, D'ni-- inhabitants, though the D'ni largely didn't consider them equals to themselves. (And yes, Earth ''is'' an Age, with its own descriptive book and everything.) If the civilizations on Riven (though its people now reside on Tay), Narayan, and Serenia have taught us anything, it's that ''most'' civilizations in this series are HumanAliens.
* IDidWhatIHadToDo: There are a few. Gehn in Riven, [[spoiler:Esher]] in Myst V, [[spoiler:Sirrus]] in Myst IV.
* IdenticalGrandson: In the original ''Myst'', both Atrus and his son Achenar were played by creator Rand Miller (his [[RealLifeRelative real-life]] brother Robyn played Sirrus).
* InsurmountableWaistHeightFence: Especially in Uru[[note]]Dilandau3000's LetsPlay of the game [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQfHkX_8gVI comments on this]] and in fact refers to us[[/note]] to block off unfinished areas, but examples of places that seem like they should be accessible but are not abound throughout the entire series. A notable exception is in Riven, where you can simply crawl under a locked gate.
* IslandOfMystery: It's not called 'Myst' for nothing.
* [[ItsUpToYou It's Up To You]]: ''Five'' times so far in the original series alone. This really begins to stretch credibility in later games. In ''Myst IV'', Atrus can't participate because he's [[ContrivedCoincidence conveniently stranded]] in some kind of electrical storm. You only find this out if you repair his imager, which is not necessary for beating the game.
* ItsAWonderfulFailure
** Myst: Go to D'ni without the white page (a type of {{Unwinnable}} situation), or bring all of the pages to either brother so you get trapped in the book yourself.
** Riven: Forget to rescue Catherine (cue DownerEnding), open the fissure before trapping Gehn (Gehn escapes and kills you and Atrus), trap yourself in the prison book (if you do it in the Rebel Age, they burn the book), etc. All of these are outlined below, under ''Riven''.
** Exile: Return to Tomahna without the book to Releeshahn. Or, return to Tomahna, bringing Saavedro with you... The endgame of Exile is a very detailed, involved puzzle that comes with myriad ways to screw up; each one nets you a message related to how your mistake translates to "[[YetAnotherStupidDeath You lose, dumbass]]". All but two involve getting your sorry ass killed.
* {{Killed off for Real}}: [[spoiler: Sirrus and Achenar.]][[spoiler: Sirrus' body is an EasterEgg you can find if you look at the metal tube once you enter his hideout. You see Sirrus sleeping in the tube.]] Even then, [[spoiler: Sirrus isn't dead - [[FateWorseThanDeath only his mind is]], as solving the memory lock he holds on Yeesha essentially destroys his soul, [[AndIMustScream rendering Sirrus a vegetable forever]]]].
* {{Irony}}: D'ni, the age where Atrus was trapped in the first game, is actually [[spoiler:Earth, the very place the player is trying to return to.]]
* LaResistance: [[spoiler:The Moiety in Riven.]]
* {{Last of His Kind}}:
** Atrus and his children appear to be the last of the D'ni race. [[spoiler:This turns out not to be the case.]]
** Saavedro thinks himself to be the last of the Narayani race due to a rather nasty civil war that occurred on his home Age. [[spoiler:This is also not the case.]]
* LargeHam:
** Sirrus and Achenar both, as portrayed by the Miller brothers. Also Sirrus in ''Revelation''.
** Brad Dourif's Saavedro, likewise. That makes Gehn one of the few exceptions among villains.
* LaserGuidedKarma: After callously trapping Saavedro on J'nanin where he would remain trapped for over 20 years, in their greed to loot the "''supposed''" treasures of Spire and Haven, [[note]](There actually IS treasure in Haven, but Achenar, who was trapped in that Age, doesn't have the same interest in it that Sirrus does.)[[/note]] Sirrus and Achenar accidentally get trapped in the Prison Ages for over 20 years.
* LateToTheTragedy: Every single game in the entire series runs on this trope.
* {{Leitmotif}}: Almost every game in the series gives individual themes to certain characters. Probably the best known are the two distinct pizzicato-strings-and-dulcimer riffs in the original game that mark the various residences of Sirrus and Achenar (which recur briefly in ''Revelation''), the use of the oboe in ''Riven'' to represent Gehn, and Saavedro's theme from ''Exile''.
* LiteraryAgentHypothesis: Used to explain not only the existence of the ''Uru'' series, but to account for all the {{Ret Con}}s in the Myst games. One might even say that ''Uru'' is all one big RetCon.
* LockAndKeyPuzzle: Most major puzzles, and a few minor ones, essentially boil down to an elaborate combination lock. The puzzle has so many possible states that guessing is simply out of the question. The only way to solve it is to wander around solving minor puzzles that will eventually reveal what the right combination is.
** ''Myst''
*** The fireplace plate has 2^48 (over 280 '''trillion''') possible combinations. [[spoiler: Even if you find, by happenstance, the book with the patterns in it, there are still hundreds of patterns to search through.]]
** ''Riven''
*** The fire marble press requires you to place up six colored marbles into a 25x25 grid. The number of combinations sits in the range of '''quadrillions'''. Technically, any entry with a specific marble and any other marble in their correct positions will grant access to the final stretch of the game, but that hardly makes a brute-force approach any more practical.
*** There are 3125 possible codes to unlock the hatch beneath the fissure periscope. The combination is randomized when you begin a new game.
*** There are 53,130 possible codes to unlock the book domes. This combination is also randomized.
*** There are 243 possible codes to unlock Catherine's prison. [[RuleOfThree This combination is also randomized.]]
** ''Exile''
*** There are 65,536 possible codes to bring the Lesson Age books down.
** ''Revelation''
*** There are 46,656 possible codes to unlock the door [[spoiler: beneath the old Memory Chamber.]] This code is randomized.
* MagicAIsMagicA: See the RewritingReality discussion below. [[spoiler: Holds true for everyone except Yeesha.]]
* MeaningfulName: Gahreesan (Garrison); in the books, [[spoiler: Tehrahnee (Tyranny)]].
* MethuselahSyndrome: The Ronay can live more than three centuries; King Lanaren lived to be 396.
* MobileMaze: from ''The Book of D'ni''
* MotherNatureFatherScience: Atrus and Catherine to a degree. Their daughter Yeesha says so herself in her journal in End Of Ages: "Together they came, father knowing and mother feeling."
* MultipleEndings: All of the games give you a choice. Choose wisely. Some of the times you do have a choice aren't entirely obvious.
** In the first ''Myst'', all but one possible ending involve the player [[AndIMustScream trapped in a linking book with no means of escape]].
** The ending in Exile requires you to [[spoiler:''undo'' one of the puzzles you just solved]] in order to achieve your basic victory condition. To get the ''best'' ending, you then have to [[spoiler:undo a ''different'' puzzle before resetting the first]], and forgetting something at any point gets you an immediate failure. Furthermore, forgetting ''one thing'' but remembering everything else locks you into the best ending - that would be [[spoiler:picking up the Tomahna book in the Narayan outpost instead of opening it like every single other linking book in the game]]. You have no choice but to [[spoiler:let Saavedro go after that, if you want to get to the book without him killing you]].
* TheMultiverse
* MundaneUtility: The D'ni have some incredibly advanced technology, the cornerstone of which is their ability to connect to other universes, specifying any type of universe they want with any contents they want, and travel to them at will. They use this ability as a ''municipal mass transit system'', among other things.
* NintendoHard: With all due respect, anyone who was actually able to beat that 'baubles that make animal noises/standing stones in the secret chamber' puzzle from ''Riven'' without turning to a walkthrough deserves a fucking medal.
* NostalgiaLevel: Atrus' study in ''Myst IV: Revelation'', the Myst library, and K'veer in ''Path of the Shell''. The Cleft might count, although it had only ever appeared in novels before. [[spoiler: ''Also, the ruins of the original Myst in the bad ending of Myst V. It's worth getting the bad ending just to see it.'' ]]
* NotEvilJustMisunderstood - Saavedro
* {{Novelization}}
* {{Offing the Offspring}}: In {{Backstory}} and story-story, including villainous and ShootTheDog versions.
* OmnicidalManiac: [[spoiler:Veovis and A'Gaeris.]]
* TheOtherDarrin:
** Katran was played by Sheila Goold and voiced by Rengin Altay in ''Riven''. She was played by Maria Galante in ''Exile''.
** At least Goold and Galante SOMEWHAT resemble each other when in wardrobe and make-up. The actors who played Sirrus and Achenar in ''Revelation'' look and sound NOTHING like the Miller Brothers other than basic body types. What makes the situation more interesting is that Rand Miller returns to play Atrus.
* PortalPicture
* PoweredByAForsakenChild: ''Everything'' in Terahnee.
* PunnyName: Say "Terahnee" out loud a couple times... Many D'ni words are merely English words with a strong accent. Gahreesen, for instance, is a garrison.
* RecurringCharacter: Atrus, portrayed by series co-creator Rand Miller, is the only character to appear in every game. Even though Cyan did not make Myst III and IV, Miller agreed to appear in the games for the fans.
* RedemptionEqualsDeath:
** [[spoiler:Veovis, Achenar, ro'Eh ro'Dan.]]
** ''Myst IV: Revelation'' almost beats you over the head with this trope. The effectiveness of the message is tempered by how well you remember [[BigScrewedUpFamily the events of]] [[ManipulativeBastard Myst]] [[{{Greed}} and]] [[KickTheDog Exile]].
** Averted in ''Exile'', however, in which not only does the player reconcile with Saavedro and allow him a happy ending, but in a bad ending where you drive Saavedro to suicide Atrus yells at you about it. Of course, Saavedro's most serious crimes were arson (no one was hurt,) theft, and plotting bad things-- and he did so for understandable reasons-- so the game killing him to redeem him would have seemed pretty disproportional.
* RetCon:
** The transformation of 'Trap Books' into 'Prison Ages'.
** The placement of the Cleft. The novels heavily imply the Cleft to be located in the Middle East, while Uru moves it to New Mexico.
** According to WordOfGod (Richard A. Watson, the end-all authority on all things D'ni), the Cleft was ''always'' in New Mexico; the novels [[LiteraryAgentHypothesis deliberately got it wrong to throw off curious seekers]]. He also states that trap books as shown in ''Myst'' and ''Riven'' don't exist; the brothers were always trapped in prison Ages (as shown in ''Myst IV''), and that the trap books were simply a simplification made by Cyan for gameplay purposes. It should be noted that he wrote about this as early as 1998, so it wasn't something that was changed for ''Myst IV''.
* RealityWarper: the Bahro, and to an extent [[spoiler: Yeesha.]]
* RedOniBlueOni: Sirrus (Blue Oni) and Achenar (Red Oni), though the Books they're trapped in have the opposite colors. Interestingly, [[spoiler:the worlds within the books]] once again have the opposite colors from their covers.
* ReptilesAreAbhorrent: The Bahro fear the snakes of Noloben.
* RewritingReality: The explanation for how the Art (of linking to other universes) works. With the proper ink, paper, and language, of course. What do you think this is, magic or something?
* SaveToken: Your camera in ''End Of Ages'', which saves the game every time you take a picture.
* SceneryPorn: Sufficient, said many critics at the time, to solely justify the first game's record-smashing sales. You can probably buy the first three sequels with that excuse, too. Specific examples:
** The Garden Ages, the Kadish Gallery and Ahnonay in ''Uru''.
** Taken to the extent that your reward for completing a stage of particular games - individual islands in ''Riven'', complete Ages in ''Exile'' and ''Revelation'' - is a ride around the area you just finished in what might easily be called SceneryPorn FanService. (Amateria in particular makes no pretensions of being anything ''other'' than [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyQxuk5Jkqc Ending Ride]].)
* SchizoTech: See AnachronismStew above.
* SchmuckBait:
** The Trap Books. Not counting the Linking Book you touched to start the whole adventure, of course...
** ''Riven'' presents some interesting [[ZigZaggedTrope twists]] on the trope. There are at least two major pieces of SchmuckBait in the game, and by the time you've found them, you should have figured out why they're dangerous. And yet, in order to win the game, you must use them anyway.
* SlaveRace: The Bahro [[spoiler:until you free them.]]
* SmugSnake: [[spoiler:Sirrus]]
* SolveTheSoupCans: The [[JustifiedTrope justification]] comes in the form of paranoid characters throwing deliberately contrived obstacles in each other's paths.
* SongsInTheKeyOfLock: Fits right in with the above.
* SpaceAmish: the D'ni, at least compared with the Terahnee.
* SteamPunk:
** Big machines rife with pipes, gears, and valves often serve as primary puzzle elements in ages, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xclfcdMQvu0 especially Riven]]. Atrus especially seemed able to crank out huge volumes of wacky machinery using nineteenth-century parts and a little SufficientlyAdvancedTechnology.
** The upper part of the central tower in J'nanin appears to be fixed in place with ''bed-sized screws''.
* TakeAThirdOption: Each of the game presents you with two obvious choices, when to get the best ending you have to find a third. [[spoiler: However, in ''Revelation'', the second choice is actually correct]]. See the trope page for more information.
* ThemedCursor: Your hand.
* ThirdTimesTheCharm: This could be unintentional, but as numbers are important to the D'ni, maybe it's no coincidence that Atrus has three children. He feels a lot of guilt and pain over the fact that the first two end up evil, so he goes out of his way to make sure he doesn't make the same mistakes with his daughter. She ends up good, though troubled, and plays an important role in the future of D'ni.
* TownWithADarkSecret: [[spoiler:Terahnee]] is a ''country'' with a dark secret. [[spoiler:Atrus and company find this out almost too late.]]
* TreeTopTown
** ''Myst'': The upper levels of the Channelwood Age.
** ''Riven'': The village in the Moiety Age, situated in the middle of a giant tree.
** ''Exile'': The Age of Narayan.
** ''Uru'': Arguably the Age of Teledahn, though with giant mushrooms instead of trees.
* {{Unobtainium}}: Nara, deretheni, firemarbles, powermarbles, etc.
* UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans: [[spoiler:Terahnee]] in ''Book of D'ni''.
* VideogameCaringPotential
* VillainousBreakdown:
** [[spoiler:"No, you fool! My performance was perfect!"]]
** [[spoiler:You ... IDIOT! Moronic lump of filth! You are nothing! Puh! AHHHHHH! I needed the power! I needed it! D'ni needed ME! You threw it away to this witch and her legion of scum, the demon slaves! You have released the slaves as masters! You've turned the small to great! Curse the Maker ...]]
* WhamEpisode:
** The death of Willow "Wheely" Engberg in Uru Live, i.e. the slaughter of a teenaged girl, was roleplayed out over chat.
** When the player behind the character Pepsi in Uru Live died in real life, it came as quite a shock. Years later, in the D'ni Games (a fan-created Olympics-styled event) of Until Uru, the Pepsi Memorial Marathon was named in honor of her.
* WithGreatPowerComesGreatPerks[=/=]ComesGreatResponsibility: The Terahnee and D'ni ways, respectively.
* WordOfGod: Possibly the most frustrating instance in any fandom ever, as Myst's [[WordOfGod Word Of RAWA]] '''specifically contradicts onscreen canon'''. Of-course onscreen canon often [[RetCon contradicts itself too.]]
** ShrugOfGod: RAWA also frequently point out that if fans disagree with anything he say they are [[FanonDiscontinuity free to disregard it]].
* WorldOfChaos: Some of the worlds created in-universe, rather than the universe itself. One of the underlying principles of the FunctionalMagic is that perfectly habitable worlds can be very, very different from each other; it's just that some of them have:
** Wooden ships that are sticking out of the side of an island (Stoneship, ''Myst'').
** Aquatic microbes that avoid heat and take the water with them (Riven)
** Trees that grow inside-out (Edanna, ''Exile'')
** A magical spirit world (Serenia, ''Revelation'')
** Giant mushrooms large enough to house comfortable apartments (Teledahn, ''URU'')
** Freakishly tall and thin mesas (Todelmer, ''End Of Ages'')
** Taking this to its logical extent is Torus (Book of D'ni), which is perfectly habitable despite that everything Atrus knows about the Art says it shouldn't be - a two-sided disc, one light and one dark, the latter of which contains kitten-like flowers, air-swimming fish, and dividing snakes; Rain falls on the light side into a giant lake centered on a whirlpool through which pours through to the dark side, where it arcs up in an enormous fountain and evaporates before circling the perimeter and precipitating again. Katran seems to have a special talent for "breaking the rules", as it were.
* WorldTree: The Great Tree of Possibility is a motif revered by the D'ni, and appears in many places where the mystic circles of that society held sway. The World Tree also appears in several games:
** In ''Riven'', that Age was once dominated by a great tree, which the people worshipped, but Gehn's faulty writing caused it to die and he cut it down. When Catherine wrote a new Age for the Moiety, it was dominated by a similar tree.
** In ''Exile'', Edanna is a giant tree in which an entire ecosystem thrives, written such by Atrus to demonstrate the interconnectedness of all life.
** In ''URU'', there's the Great Tree Pub which is built around a very ancient tree in the city of D'ni.
* ZipMode: TropeNamer and a handy way to get from one end of an Age to another.

!!Tropes found in ''Myst'' and its {{Updated Rerelease}}s
* {{Foreshadowing}}: The Channelwood journal reveals that Atrus is very uncomfortable with himself or others being revered as gods. Riven reveals why.
* GameBreakingBug
** There is a bug in the Mechanical Age that can prevent you from rotating the fortress, requiring [[GuideDangIt the use of a game guide]] to find the solution to the age's last puzzle.
** The brightness of the images in Myst is set for the Mac screen gamma of 1.8. On the PC, with a gamma of 2.2 (and with monitors of the time often being even darker), a key switch in the Channelwood age is invisible in the shadows. You can deduce that there's something special about that location from the in-game maps, but you won't be able to see it. The Stoneship age has a similar problem with the doors to the compass room being too dark to see, but this time, there's no map.
* LighthousePoint: In the Stoneship Age.
* MinecartMadness: The Mazerunner in the Selenitic Age.
* MissionControlIsOffItsMeds: Sirrus and Achenar. ''Especially'' Achenar.
* SequelHook: The good ending contains several blatant ones for ''Riven''.
* SequenceBreaking: Unlike later games in the series, there's no random code blocking your way to the ending- once you know what to do you can bypass all the ages and jump straight to victory. The record for a SpeedRun of this game is less than two minutes.
* ShoutOut: The never-seen Osmoian Age, mentioned in the Channelwood journal, is a nod to Cyan's earlier game ''VideoGame/CosmicOsmo'', which was set in the Osmoian solar system.
* SoundCodedForYourConvenience: The Mazerunner in the Selenitic Age uses sounds to guide you along the correct path. Unfortunately, unless you've already been to [[spoiler:the Mechanical Age]], you'll have to figure out for yourself what the sounds actually mean. [[spoiler:In the Mechanical age, the same sounds are used to indicate which direction the fortress is rotated, and stand for the same cardinal directions.]]
* TakeAThirdOption: [[spoiler:Do you trust the brother without the more obviously 'mad' and 'evil' attributes, or assume it's some sort of misleading trick and trust that one? The answer is to trust neither.]]

!!Tropes found in ''Riven''
* AlienGeometries: The Star Fissure. Gehn mentions in one of his journals that he doesn't understand how a cleft in a rock leads to a field of stars. [[spoiler: When the player enters the Fissure in the finale of the game (or for one of the bad endings) it is revealed from the other side as a crack in a swirling black cloud, floating in the middle of a starry expanse.]]
%% Is it really, though? Since the Star Fissure is what connects all worlds, I'm under the impression that the crack is merely a portal to the Starry Expanse. And the notion of visible portals preclude the possibility of alien geometries.
* ArtisticLicensePhysics: [[spoiler: After smashing the plate of glass in the iron plating covering the Star Fissure, the vacuum pressure of space manages to bend and suck in all of the metal surrounding it…but leaves the player and all other characters around the Fissure standing upright with only some wind blowing their clothes around.]]
* EverythingsBetterWithSpinning: The rotating room.
* FissionMailed: If you [[spoiler:enter the trap book when Gehn asks you to]], the screen goes black. And stays black for the better part of a minute before something happens. The development team apparently wanted to make it longer, but the testers thought their computers had crashed.
* IHaveNoSon: In the bad ending where you signal Atrus before trapping Gehn.
-->'''Atrus:''' Father.
-->'''Gehn:''' I am no longer your father because you are no longer my son! [[spoiler:]]
* ItsAWonderfulFailure / MultipleEndings: Many. Some involve {{NonStandardGameOver}}s.
** Opening the Star Fissure before going to Tay: [[spoiler: falling into the fissure with an immediate NonStandardGameOver.]]
** Opening the Star Fissure after going to Tay but before trapping Gehn: [[spoiler: Atrus shows up but is shot (along with the player) by Gehn.]]
** Opening the Star Fissure after trapping Gehn but before rescuing Catherine: [[spoiler: Atrus shows up but is dismayed to be without Catherine. His closing monologue mourns her loss.]]
** Refusing to use the prison book when offered by Gehn three times: [[spoiler: Gehn shoots the player out of distrust.]]
** Using the prison book on Riven: [[spoiler: Gehn uses one of his minions to free the player from the book, then shoots them, monologuing while the player bleeds to death.]]
** Using the prison book on Riven or Age 233 after Gehn is trapped in it: [[spoiler: Gehn is released, thanking the player before closing the book for good.]]
** [[TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything Using the prison book on Tay after Gehn is trapped in it:]] [[spoiler: The same speech, but Gehn is now holding his rifle, intent on killing off the rebels in their home age.]]
* PressXToDie: Using the Trap Book from your inventory at any point in ''Riven'' nets you a bad ending. [[spoiler:There is one point where you do have to use it, but then it's being offered to you by Gehn and isn't in your possession.]]
* SavingTheWorldWithArt: Or rather, with ''the'' Art. The world of Riven is unstable and Atrus staves off its collapse by frantically writing small changes into its book in hope of stabilizing it. [[spoiler: Subverted when Riven falls apart anyway, but he keeps it intact long enough for its people to escape.]]
* QuicksandBox: The other games are divided into discrete, self-contained ages which can be completed independently of each other. ''Riven'' is almost completely comprised of a single, gigantic age, and it can be frustratingly easy to lose track of everything you have or haven't done yet.
* TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything: Some of the details in the game can really go unnoticed. For example, on Village Island, knocking on the one accessible village door [[ArcNumber five times]] will rouse a response (albeit a frightened one) from the house's occupant.


!!Tropes found in ''Exile''
* AlphabetSoupCans: Atrus installed them into Amateria and Voltaic, and Wrote them into Edanna. Justified in the fact that all 3 of the ages were (in-universe) meant to be learning experiences, first for Atrus' sons, then for Atrus himself (whom the player [[AllUpToYou so conveniently]] goes in place of).
* ConvectionSchmonvection: In Voltaic, there is a room that you can fill up with lava. As long as you drain the room before entering, you can waltz inside without waiting for the room to cool down first. You can also stand on a platform suspended just inches above the lava, and suffer no ill effects. Then again, we know the Art ''loves'' to intentionally screw with reality as we know it.
* FollowThePlottedLine: The lack of any obvious goal in Edanna, combined with its confusing layout, brings this trope into play. As a result, you find yourself simply solving all the puzzles that present themselves to you, without ever knowing why. In case you're curious, what you're trying to do is [[spoiler:free the Grossamary bird from the giant flytrap, then call it from a cage in the swamp to have it come pick you up and take you to the location of the symbol]].
* PressXToDie: Using the Tomahna Linking Book anywhere that Saavedro can physically reach it at the end of ''Exile'' will not end well for you, or anyone else.
* RidiculouslyCuteCritter: Saavedro subsisted on little squirrel-like creatures called Squees. No relation to {{Squee}}, a trope with [[NamesTheSame the same name]].
* TagLine: ''The Perfect Place to Plan Revenge''
* VideoGame3DLeap: [[DownplayedTrope Sort of.]] You still click from screen to screen, as you did in the original Myst and Riven, but each "screen" is now a cycloramic (cyclorama=360 degree panorama) view that allows you to look freely in all directions.
** BigNo
* WhatTheHellPlayer: If you decide to [[spoiler:leave Saavedro trapped]] at the end of the game, Atrus calls you out on it in the epilogue. The official hint guide also gets in on it.
--> Q: "I [[spoiler:trapped Saavedro and he gave me the book]]. Can I go now?"
--> A: "Sure. After all, [[spoiler:Saavedro hasn't suffered yet. Twenty years is nothing, really.]] Think how much fun it would be to [[spoiler:leave this tormented fellow stranded with the knowledge that his civilization (and perhaps family) thrives just out of reach...]] It might be interesting, in a clinical sort of way, to see how he reacts. You heartless cad."

!!Tropes found in ''Revelation''
* {{Chronoscope}}: The necklace.
* FollowThePlottedLine: Most encounters in Serenia are triggered by unrelated actions, allowing you to stumble around wondering whether you're supposed to solve a puzzle or receive more exposition. [[spoiler:Anya will greet you as soon as you enter the temple complex, but Yannin will only appear beside the damaged Harvester ''after'' you enter the memory chamber, and after that Caradell will appear by the dock after you remove the winged snake from the water wheel. Only after Caradell sends you to the Hall of Spirits will the other three protectors receive you there.]] That makes it possible (though unlikely, by accident) to get to the ending early (see OffTheRails).
* HubWorld: Atrus' estate in New Mexico, dubbed "Tomahna".
* JungleJapes: Haven, although a bit more realistic than most portrayals since there are no vines to swing from.
* LostWoods: The first part of Serenia, and your introduction to the Age. However, it's given a twist: the Lost Woods are more like Lost Stones.
* NostalgiaLevel: [[spoiler: Atrus' study and Courtyard on Tomahna, taken directly from Exile. It's only accessible after you leave Serenia once.]]
* OffTheRails: It is possible to bypass the first dream sequence on Serenia completely. The minimal game only requires solving Spire [[spoiler:(to get the random color code)]], solving the irrigation puzzle [[spoiler:(to get into the old memory chamber)]] and then entering the final encounter there. The encounter will play out as if you had gone through the dream sequence, averting TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything.
* UndergroundLevel: Spire, for the most part. [[spoiler: Until you see the sun under the clouds.]]


!!Tropes found in ''URU''
* EverythingsBetterWithSpinning: The fortresses in Gahreesen. {{Justified}} as it turns the only usable stable link to the garrison (with a linking book anyway) into an effective chokepoint.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: A message from a DRC member reveals that a D'ni survivor with knowledge about the Bahro has been discovered in a house in an age called Noloben - this becomes very relevant in Myst V.
* FungusHumongous: The age of Teledahn.
* [[MadeOfIron Made Of Nara]]: Your avatar can fall four stories without panic-linking and not be harmed.
* NoAntagonist: You spend your time in this game exploring the lost D'ni civilization. There is no threat to deal with here. The only wrongs that need righting happened long ago.
* OutOfOrder: This game was released BEFORE ''Myst IV.'' Oops.
* RecursiveCanon: ''Uru Live'' accepts the LiteraryAgentHypothesis in regard to the early games in the ''Myst'' series.
* SocializationBonus: Several puzzles (Eder Tsogal, Eder Delin, Ahnonay, and the pellets in Er'cana) were originally designed to require multiple players to complete. They were redesigned to be possible to complete solo once ''Uru Live'' fell through the first time. The pellet puzzle got the worst treatment. In the two-player version, [[spoiler:one player would drop a light-emitting pellet down to an unlit lower chamber. Another player would wait in the unlit chamber, and snap photos of the hidden images on the walls once the chamber was illuminated by the first player]]. But in the one-player redesign, [[spoiler:the links to the chambers are mysteriously set 14 minutes apart from each other. You have to drop a light pellet in, then go to the lower chamber and wait ''14 whole minutes of real time'' for the pellet to fall and give you 15 seconds of illumination]]. And to think, none of these avatars consider bringing along a flashlight...
* TimeTravel: Ahnonay. How does one linking book manage to take you to three different eras, when all books up to this point could only ever take you to one? Well, [[spoiler:[[SubvertedTrope it doesn't.]] You eventually discover that the "age" is actually a bunch of three very convincing sets (and one unfinished one) contained in giant spheres connected to an even larger rotating mechanism.]]
* {{Uncanceled}}: The multi-player component was canceled before it came out of beta, but brought back to life a few years later by [=GameTap=] as ''Myst Online''. Then, after little over a year, it was canceled again. Then plans were announced for a version of the game using fan-made content... which was canceled. Cyan then decided to release the whole thing as open-source, and to just let the fans deal with it. After that, it was uncanceled yet again, and the service is currently free to play.
* ViolationOfCommonSense: To reach a certain location in URU Live, you have to leap off an island in a drop which must be well over a hundred feet.

!!Tropes found in ''End of Ages''
* FungusHumongous: Direbo
* MissionControlIsOffItsMeds: [[spoiler:Esher]].
* SymbolDrawingInterface: The Bahro slates.
* TreacherousAdvisor: [[spoiler:Esher is one.]]
* [[YouLookFamiliar You Sound Familiar]]: Esher is voiced by David Ogden Stiers, who previously appeared as [[RichIdiotWithNoDayJob Jeff Zandi]] in ''Uru''.
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