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Video Game: Riven
Fully titled Riven: The Sequel to Myst, a 1997 PC-Mac game that is the sequel to the world-famous PC-Mac game Myst. The story of Riven continues exactly where Myst left off.

In the previous game, a man named Atrus is part of a splintered civilization called the "D'ni" (pronounced "Duh-NEE"), who have the ability to create portals to alternate realities within special books, simply by writing the description of the reality in the book. Atrus was trapped in a stone hall prison by his two twisted and evil sons, who in turn trapped themselves in separate ages (the name for these alternate realities) by accident. However, an unknown character only known later as "The Stranger" (that's you!) appeared on Atrus' home age of Myst. The Stranger pieced together the clues of what happened on the island of Myst, and rescued Atrus by freeing him from his stone prison.

But now Atrus's wife Catherine has been trapped on the age of Riven by their sons. What's worse is that the Age was created and is ruled over by Atrus' twisted and deluded father Gehn, who sees himself as a god, and who has now imprisoned Catherine.

At the beginning of the game, you meet Atrus again who sends you to the age of Riven with the goal to capture Gehn in a book that was specifically designed for this task, and to rescue Catherine.

This game provides examples of:

  • A God Am I - Most people who write linking books believe the Ages to which they link already exist, and they are simply providing a way to access them. Gehn, however, believes that the act of writing a linking book actually creates that Age out of whole cloth. Therefore, since he wrote Riven, he believes himself to be its god.
  • All There in the Manual - A lot of the backstory and character motivation is explained in The Book of Atrus, which is never fully explained in the game.
  • Arc Number: 5. Too many examples to list, but most notably the title (Riven has five letters, the full title has five words, the game comes on 5 discs, and the V is made prominent)
  • The End of the World as We Know It: When you get a special hatch combination, access to a steam-powered activation lever, and lower a telescope too much, you can trigger this. However, there is only ONE correct time when you're supposed to do it.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The backstory has Gehn truly grieving the loss of his wife.
  • I Have No Son: 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! <Shoots Atrus>
  • Ignored Epiphany: Gehn is obsessed with thinking the number 5 is the key to making linking books... even though all the physical evidence and Gehn's own research points to six as the true number. And if that isn't enough, the D'ni numbering system is base 25, but Gehn didn't know that much about the D'ni.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: A given, considering the original came on multiple disks, which the player had to swap mid-game whenever travelling to a different island. Or, in one case, the other half of the same island. This is obviously averted in the DVD-ROM, Steam and releases.
  • Nintendo Hard: It's generally regarded to be the hardest in the series, with many clues to the few puzzles scattered across the game world, and integrated into it, rather than signposted as clues.
  • Saving The World With Art: Or rather 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. Subverted when Riven falls apart anyway, but he keeps it intact long enough for its people to escape.
  • Scenery Porn: Duh. But compared to the original Myst this game was gorgeous.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: There's a bit of dysfunction between Atrus and his father...
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alternative title(s): Riven
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