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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

Real Myst book is a thing of stunning beauty

About The Author

CNET Editor

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

(Myst book image © 2012 Mike Ando. Used with permission of Mike Ando. All rights reserved.)

Not only is this real-life Myst linking book gorgeous, it also operates as a fully functional console for playing the Myst games.

Now this is a labour of love. Six years ago, Brisbane, Queensland, hobbyist Mike Ando, aka RIUM+, set about making a real-life linking book from Cyan's point-and-click adventure game Myst — one that would actually be able to play the games. Nowadays, you'd probably be able to shove an iPod Touch or something in there, but Ando wanted to do it properly.

First of all, he found the book Cyan used as a model for the original linking book — a 135-year-old antique Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume LIV, Issue 312, December 1876 to May 1877. At this point, lovers of antiquarian books should probably close this tab and go read about kittens.

(Myst book image © 2012 Mike Ando. Used with permission of Mike Ando. All rights reserved.)

Then, he gutted it. And filled it with a full desktop computer, hand-assembled with the smallest components Ando could find, in order to fit the computer into the restricted space:

  • The screen is a 640x480 5.0-inch LED-backlit display. This provides 1:1 native pixel mapping on the original versions of Myst, Riven and Exile. There's a matching 4-wire resistive glass touchscreen overlaid on top as the main input method, which updates at 160 samples/second, with a touch resolution of 2048x2048

  • The power supply is a 3-cell lithium-ion battery capable of outputting 60A of current (but the book uses nowhere near that much). The power supply converts its voltage to the 12V and 5V required by the computer. Power consumption is around 12 watts and the battery life is around 1.5 to 2 hours

  • The CPU is an Intel Z530P, running at 1.6GHz; and the GPU is an Intel GMA500 chipset, capable of running DirectX 9.0C graphics. The system has 1GB of RAM (less RAM equals less power consumption and heat)

  • The system is entirely passively cooled, and waste heat conducts out through the book. The CPU and GPU hover at 48 degrees Celsius. The only way to deal with heat in this book is to just avoid creating it in the first place, so all the components are ultra-low power

  • The operating system (Windows XP) and all software is loaded directly from a 32GB CompactFlash card that reads at 22MB/second

  • Included software is Myst Masterpiece Edition, realMyst, Riven DVD edition, Riven Elementary, Myst III: Exile DVD edition, Myst IV: Revelation, Uru: Ages Beyond Myst and The Path of the Shell, Myst V: End of Ages, The Manhole Masterpiece Edition and Crowthistle. Bonuses are a copy of the Book of Atrus ebook, plus shortcut copies of some extracted Myst Island flyby videos/linking panel images. Also, when you first turn on the book, a video automatically plays, featuring Atrus writing at his desk, then he looks up at you and mouths the words "who the devil are you?"

Holy guacamole. Especially considering that Ando has no formal electronics training whatsoever.

(Myst book image © 2012 Mike Ando. Used with permission of Mike Ando. All rights reserved.)

And for the finishing touches? The leather cover has been fully restored and repaired, and the title was stamped with custom dyes and then filled in with 24-carat gold.

Our minds have been blown.

Ando has listed the book for sale at $15,625; and, given the work and detail he's put into it, we think it would be worth every single penny.

See more pictures at Ando's website here, and see the book in action in the video below.

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MatthewP6 posted a comment   

Hi Michelle, the alternative to an iPod Touch, and still doing it properly, could be with a Raspberry Pi :)

Still, the idea and execution is so cool. Myst was about the only pc game I ever bought - so reading this brings a sense of nostalgia. I'll have to reload the Myst app onto the iPad and give it a go again!

Thanks for the post, Michelle.

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