This “working” replica of the book that opened the famed adventure classic Myst is nothing short of amazing.
Stand by to behold the coolest thing you’ll see all day: A “real” Myst linking book created by a dedicated and talented fan by the name of Mike Ando. Others have built similar books for display, but this one is special for a number of reasons. It doesn’t just display a rolling trailer, it actually contains playable versions of Myst Masterpiece Edition, realMyst, Riven DVD Edition, Riven Elementary, Myst III: Exile, Myst IV: Revelation, Uru: Ages Beyond Myst and The Path of the Shell expansion, Myst V: End of Ages, plus – that’s not all! – The Manhole Masterpiece Edition and Crowthistle. And if that’s not cool enough, it’s all packed inside the book that was actually used as a model for the first Myst linking book, a 135-year-old edition of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine.
Ando said he discovered which book served as the prop during a visit to Cyan Worlds in 2006, but the process of getting his hands on his own copy was somewhat more complicated than just going down to the local bookshop. “Local bookbinding companies rounded up the unsold copies, then bound them together every six months, using whatever cheap binding material they had left over. As far as my research uncovered, it looks like there was at least three binding companies who used a combined total of 14 different material sets/binding techniques,” he explained. “You can tell some differences by low-resolution eBay photos but many things can only be discerned by closely measuring & inspecting a book. I ended up just buying every single book that matched everywhere I could find. For five years straight.”
He gutted the book and built the device using the smallest components he could find, aiming for the lowest-possible power consumption in order to minimize heat. The CPU is a 1.6 GHz Intel Z530P, storage comes by way of a 32GB CF card, a three-cell lithium ion battery provides up to two hours of gameplay on a charge and everything is displayed on a five-inch LED running at 640×480 with a touch-screen overlay serving as the primary input. Ando ballparked the “raw material cost” of the book at around $3000 and said it took six years of on-and-off hunting to come up with suitable components, with “mid-hundreds of hours” invested in actually making it.
It’s gorgeous work, and now that it’s complete Ando said it will be given a place on his “Shelf of Awesome,” likely between his meteroites and set of titanium cutlery. “I collect anything that sounds awesome, from radioactive isotopes to a mechanical pocketwatch from Greenwich Observatory,” he said. “Everyone needs a hobby.”