[[quoteright:256:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/riven_coverart_3950.png]]
Fully titled ''[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Riven: The Sequel to Myst]]'', a 1997 PC-Mac game that is the sequel to the world-famous PC-Mac game ''VideoGame/{{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 [[AnotherDimension Ages]] by accident. However, an unknown character only known later as "[[PlayerCharacter The Stranger]]" 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.

A fan-made UpdatedRerelease is in the works to recreate the game in a fully 3D engine. It's called [[http://www.starryexpanse.com/ The Starry Expanse Project]]. Unlike many large-scale fan works, this one has the blessing of the original creators, so it has a better than average chance of eventually being released.
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!!This game provides examples of:

* AGodAmI: 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. The stained glass spyholes in the pentagonal "Gate Room" make this painfully clear.
* 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.]]
** On piece of evidence that Gehn wrote a link to an unstable age is a continuity error on Survey Island. The golden elevator installed here travels a considerable distance up/down, but on each floor, you are always about 10 - meters above sea level. This anomaly alone may be a large portion of the instability on Riven. (Then again, water levels aren't necessarily ''level'' on Riven...)
* AllThereInTheManual - A lot of the backstory and character motivation is explained in the prequel novel ''The Book of Atrus'', which is never fully explained in the game. The novel also acts a prequel to ''Myst'', in that it ends with [[spoiler: Atrus jumping into the Star Fissure with the Myst book and linking himself to safety -- the last entry in his journal ends with the very same monologue that opens ''Myst''.]]
* AndIMustScream: [[spoiler: Gehn]] suffers this fate if you do things right.
* ArcNumber: 5. Too many examples to list, but most notably the title (Riven has five letters, the full title has five words, the game in its original format came on 5 discs, and the V is made prominent.) Its use is prominent because Gehn believed 5 was the important number in D'ni civilization. It wasn't. (See Ignored Epiphany below.)
* ArtifactTitle: Myst is only mentioned on its game box, in the subtitle "The Sequel to Myst". This subtitle does not appear in the game itself.
* 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.]] May be FridgeBrilliance if you remember how sloppy Gehn is at authoring descriptive books that create a door to an age.
* BittersweetEnding: [[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]].
* ChekhovsGun: The telescope is one of the very first things you encounter. [[spoiler: Near the end of the game, you figure out how to open the latch underneath it and remove the safeties to break the glass between Riven and the Star Fissure, allowing you to escape from Riven and beat the game.]]
* DeathGlare: Gehn does this when he becomes annoyed or outraged by you. Make some specific choices in the game and he [[http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/screenshot_2015_08_05_07_58_232.png stares you down]] and will promptly [[spoiler:shoot you with his musket]], leading to a [[MultipleEndings bad ending]]. Gehn does not tolerate being pranked away from his geology on age 233.
-->"Alright then, once, more...The only path open to you now is through this book, take it[--!--]"
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: When you get a special hatch combination, access to a steam-powered activation lever, and the ability to lower a telescope too much, you can trigger this. [[spoiler:However, there is only ''one'' correct time when you're supposed to do it.]]
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: [[spoiler:The backstory in ''Myst: The Book of Atrus'' has Gehn truly grieving the loss of his wife.]]
* EverythingsBetterWithSpinning: The pentagonal rotating room.
** Gehn's fire marble domes spin as an external security measure, unlocked by timing its color symbol with a viewer.
* 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.
* GoBackToTheSource: [[spoiler: The Fissure on Temple Island]].
* GuideDangIt: Riven in general is seen as much harder (and, in some cases, more obtuse) than Myst, so there are several spots in the game that could qualify. The most well-known, however, is the notorious "Waffle Iron" puzzle, where the player must correctly place five coloured marbles on a [=25x25=] grid, with very little indication as to what the marbles or the grid represent. And yes, the colour of the marbles ''does'' matter, yielding a total of 93,850,000,000,000 (that's ninety-three ''trillion'' eight-hundred-fifty billion) combinations, according to the behind-the-scenes coffee-table-book "from Myst to Riven: the Creations and Inspirations".
** You also need to listen to various animals throughout the game and remember what noises they make. Two sea-dwelling animals are particularly annoying because if you approach them too quickly, they run without making the noise you need to hear. In order to hear them properly, you have to wait until their animation finishes before moving forward.
* IDidWhatIHadToDo: Gehn.
* 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:*shoots Atrus*]]
* IgnoredEpiphany: Gehn is obsessed with thinking the [[ArcNumber 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.
* 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 unknown fate, trapped in Riven.]]
** Refusing to use the prison book when offered by Gehn three times: [[spoiler: Gehn shoots the player out of distrust/frustration from wasting his time for doing research.]]
** Using the prison book on Riven: [[spoiler: Gehn uses one of his minions to free the player from the book (he wants to test it to see if it is a trap), then shoots them, nonchalantly monologuing about your "brilliant idea to trap your''self'' in the book", while the poison from the dart kills them.]]
*** Having your first meeting with Gehn without possessing the prison book, then recovering it, only to trap yourself in it on Riven. Similar to the ending above, but with new dialog.
-->[[spoiler: "'''Gehn:''' I see you found the book. [[SarcasmMode Thank you for returning it to me]]. It seems ''however'' circumstances have changed. *Gehn shoots you*."]]
** Using the prison book on Riven or Age 233 after Gehn is trapped in it: [[spoiler: Gehn is released, stunned at your stupidity, gloatingly 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.]]
* LateArrivalSpoiler: Did you play this game before reading ''Book of Atrus''? Guess what: You've got the ending spoiled.
* LaResistance: [[spoiler: The Moiety.]]
* {{Leitmotif}}: Gehn's appears primarily as a figure on the oboe and is teased throughout the entirety of the game (starting, believe it or not, with Cyan's VanityPlate at the very beginning). The full song isn't heard until the player meets Gehn.
** In fact, it's implied that the motif originates with Gehn himself -- there's an oboe-like wind instrument in his private quarters, and a music player in his lab with a recording of him playing it.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfLoading: A given, considering the original came on multiple [=CDs=], 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 [[{{Website/GOGDotCom}} GoG.com]] releases. Another trick is to copy the contents of the 5 CD's into the Riven installation directory (if your version is this edition), and alter the configuration file to tell the game to read the files there.
* LockAndKeyPuzzle:
** The fire marble press requires you to place up to 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.
*** Knowing a few more of the criteria does narrow the number of possible combinations down from quadrillions to a "mere" 93 trillion and 850 billion possibilities.
** 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.]]
* NintendoHard: 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.
* NothingIsScarier: Searching through Gehn's study, mainly if you're a first time player expecting Gehn to walk in on you at any second.
* PlayingGertrude: Rand Miller as Atrus. To sound older, he attempted to affect a weary sounding voice in ''Myst'' and ''Riven''. He reverted to his more natural voice for ''Exile'' and ''Revelation''.
* 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 it isn't in your possession.]]
* 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.
* SavingTheWorldWithArt: 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. [[spoiler: Subverted when Riven falls apart anyway, but he keeps it intact long enough for its people to escape.]]
* SceneryPorn: Duh. But unlike the original Myst this game still looks ''gorgeous''.
** SceneryGorn: It's an incredibly beautiful and detailed game, depicting a world that is literally falling apart and stripped of almost all of its natural resources, leaving nothing but a bunch of jagged rocks.
* SchmuckBait: ''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.
* 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.
* TooDumbToLive: In one of the the bad endings caused by a blatant act of stupidity, [[spoiler: you used the prison book with Gehn trapped in it, and set him free, taking his place in the book. Gehn wonders why exactly you released him (when you had him at your mercy), and gloatingly congratulates you for your act of self sacrifice.]]
* TreeTopTown: The village in the Moiety Age, situated in the middle of a giant tree, as seen on the cover art. [[spoiler:(There used to be a similar tree on Riven, but Gehn had it cut down.)]]
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential: There are a few opportunities to be a dick, but you are [[VideoGameCrueltyPunishment punished for one instance.]]
** If you lower the Star Fissure telescope to breach Riven's reality, before capturing Gehn, but after regaining the prison book, you can signal Atrus early. [[SarcasmMode Congratulations]], you got Gehn's attention, causing him appear and [[spoiler:[[OffingTheOffspring shoot Atrus dead.]] He takes his linking book and you [[VideoGameCrueltyPunishment get shot too.]]]]
** You can do the same as above, capturing Gehn but ignoring Cathrine's rescue. How does it feel to condemn Atrus to [[spoiler:the futile task of keeping Riven stable, with his wife trapped in Riven?]]
** You can guess the combination code to the star fissure, or load an earlier save to input the code, before regaining your prison book. [[spoiler:Then you automatically jump into the fissure and chicken out of your mission.]]
* WellDoneSonGuy: There's a ''bit'' of dysfunction between Atrus and his father...
* WordsDoNotMakeTheMagic: Gehn tries to use the D'ni art of writing linking books without really understanding the full effects of the phrases that he uses to write them, resulting in links to unstable worlds. This causes the ever-looming threat of Riven falling apart during the player's attempt to rescue Catherine, as well as the conflict in the novel ''Myst: The Book of Atrus''.
* WorldTree: The Riven 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.
* YetAnotherStupidDeath: There are multiple ways to proverbially PressXToDie. For example, use the trap book right after regaining it, and [[spoiler: a pair of Moiety people get ready to burn the book, possibly discussing your stupidity for trapping yourself in it]].