Not into NCAA March Madness? Time to rediscover a classic old game!
Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 12:58PM
Michael Amstein

Riven Coverart

Never having been very much into basketball, March Madness just does not do anything for me. I would not know the first thing about trying to pick my way through a bracket pool, and would rather not spend the next several weeks glued to my TV or streaming games to my iPhone. Alas with some extra time on my hands - why not get fully emerged into a great graphic adventure game.

I suppose I can thank my brother Peter for getting me hooked on great adventure games. I distinctly remember back in junior high when he brought home his first Apple Iic computer. One of the most amazing things you could do with it was dial up the Mountain Bell main frame with a 300 baud modem and play Zork! The game was something HUGE (at the time) like 300-400k and with the Apple's 64k - you needed a mainframe space to support it. I would spend hours on the text based adventure game, drawing maps and solving the puzzles. Still a classic today - you can plait in HTML on this website.

Cyan Worlds took up the baton with Myst and its trilogy, including one of the best games ever produced, Uru. I have never been much into first person shooters. There where a couple that where fun, Wolfenstein and its follow up Return to Castle Wolfenstein. I remember when my kids were little they would sit on my lap at the desk and my wife would look sideways at me while I killed Nazi's. "Nice parenting influence there dad," she would say. The current generations of first person shooters just doesn't thrill me.

Enter Riven:

One of the Myst series produced in 1997, this adventure is completely immersive and had some of the most stunning graphics produced at the time. 15 years later, they still stand up well and the game is still as intriguing as ever. One of my favorite things about Riven and the entire series as a whole, is the inability to die. No one is trying to kill you and there is no requirement to get good at some cryptic series of keyboard combinations in rapid succession just to advance in the game - rather just a simple, strait forward interface while you explore strange lands, solve puzzles and waste time - Careful -  if you start, a week or two of your life will be gone before you know it (fair warning).

Because the game is so old, it is now available for download from Steam for just $5.99. If you have a Mac running Lion, you will also need to download this piece of free software from some enthusiasts who created an engine to run it on OS X.

So turn the lights out, turn the speakers up and sit back for a great adventure. I just started it again myself. …. I'll see you sometime in April!

Screen shots below.

Riven 03Riven prisonRivenScreen Shot 2012 03 17 at 11 24 36 AMScreen Shot 2012 03 17 at 11 29 46 AM

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