Doh! I forget not all of my Facebook friends know what I’m talking about when I reference “The Cavern.”

Here’s a short precis so you can get caught up:

1993. History is made when two brothers, Rand and Robyn Miller, make the game Myst in their garage in Spokane, WA.

Myst becomes a worldwide phenomenon sparking five sequels: Riven, Myst III: Exile, Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, Myst IV: Revelation and Myst V: End of Ages.

Here’s the part I get involved: Uru. It was one of the very first broadband-age massively multi-player online worlds. It was my first virtual world experience and the sole reason I have the job I do now as a world concept designer.

Uru takes place, for the most part, in a massive underground cavern.

In Uru, I met my friend Janet Burress. What I didn’t know at the time is that she was bound to a motorized wheelchair due to juvenile arthritis. The woman hadn’t walked on her own since she was 14. When I met her she was 51. Because of several members of my family, my cavern Aunt Lee and especially Janet, arthritis is one of my sworn enemies.  It is one of two philanthropies I support, the other being Parkinson’s Research for my Uncle Bill.

I won’t ever stop until arthritis is history.

Long story short is that Janet went in for a procedure on her ankle to relieve some of the pain she was in. A bone chip got loose, got into her bloodstream and went to her brain. On December 28, 2004, I lost one of my very best friends.

The thing about Uru to Janet is that she once said it was the first place she felt like she could run again. It was also the place she took a bullied girl and turned her into a functioning part of the Myst Community, first as a sports reporter for an in-game activities organization, then later on as a podcaster, finally, Janet’s dream for me to become a journalist will have reached fruition in May when I graduate as a Journalism and Media Studies major, my second degree and the one that brings me the most pride as I am a Leadership minor, something I could have never, ever done had Janet not adopted me in an in-game neighborhood in some obscure MMO started 10 years ago.

So, when you hear me say I’ll be “in-Cavern”, you can log in to Mystonline.com and find me running around in-game. It’s free, it’s a blast, and it’s all spatial problem solving with people with IQ’s off the chart.

The kicker is simply this, you don’t have to be a genius to play Myst, you just have to have a good heart, a willingness to learn and realize that perseverance, heart and lots of love will always win the day. Well that and there are a whole lot of folks, including me, that if you say “I need help”, you don’t just get help, you get an army of people who will share time with you and help you learn all about the wonderful worlds of Myst.

Here’s a secret: If you want to get in really good with me, jump head first into the Myst Universe.

One thought on ““Cavern”

  1. Hi:

    I had the good fortune to explore Myst Uru Online back in early 2004 for a few months just before the online version was closed. I had the pleasure of interacting briefly with Pehpsee right that the time that she was facing having to change her name due to the IP conflict with Pepsi. I was the one who suggested she change her name to the more D’ni-like spelling of “Pehpsee” to allow for the same pronunciation, without the trademark obstacle.

    Now I am in the position of being able to contribute a graphic object to Cyan’s new “Obduction” game via their 2013 Kickstarter campaign. I’d like to pay homage to Pehpsee by submitted a request for my Obduction-universe object to be a motorized wheelchair like the one that she used. This ingame wheelchair would be a static object that any player might encounter as they explore the Obduction environments. Do you have any additional information about her wheelchair? I’d love to know the make/mode of her wheelchair and/or photo, color, special tags, vanity plates, stickers, etc. I’d like to make it look as close as possible to hers. I imagine that this will probably be a subtle nod to her ingame and probably not an overt “this is Pehpsee’s wheelchair” reference.

    Thank you very much for any help you can offer,

    Justin Esparza

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