To help focus my analysis and illustration, I will use the narrative phenomenon of Myst as the main object of study. Myst is a seminal example of a cross media narrative experience. The story grand of Myst occurs across three different mediums: hypermedia, traditional novels and comics. With this study I intend to look at the strengths, weaknesses, differences and similarities of these three mediums. To do this, I will examine each medium involved in the story grand of Myst. And each medium will have objects of study that are thematically related to the mediums involved. In other words, since text is a singular medium, there will only be one object of study, the Myst trilogy discussed textually. But comics incorporate two mediums (text and graphics) and there will be two objects of study, the Myst comic book and Myst V webcomic as well as Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. And the explosion of mediums within hypermedia will be explored through the various Myst CD-ROMs and also Richard Garriott’s Ultima OnLine gaming experience as well as Kveta Pacovska’s MitterNachtSpiel and many more as the study concludes. Granted these categories of media do blur and I will use this as I analyze these mediums throughout this study.
Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comic book series and Origin’s Ultima OnLine gaming community designed by Richard Garriott and Kveta Pacovska’s MitterNachtSpiel help me to better engage the issues of stories in different mediums. Unlike Myst, Ultima OnLine is a constructive hypermedia story experience. Myst is an exploratory hypermedia with definite endings, Ultima OnLine is a never-ending hypermedia story developed by Garriott and the software company Origin and furthered by each and every participant who joins in the experience. Pacovska’s CD-ROM, MitterNachtSpiel is a lovely rhizomatic experience of interwoven sights and sounds.
The narratives of Myst, Sandman, Ultima OnLine and MitterNachtSpiel serve not only as objects of study, but as inspiration as well. Learning from these narratives and incorporating them within my own will help me to tell how we can utilize multiple media, theories and stories to better express our own. These chosen objects of study will in a large part shape this study. Other objects would more than likely lead to a different study altogether, but I have carefully chosen objects that will offer up the most to my examination.