Last month, I showed you where to find the ages of Myst in real life. Compared to the islands of Riven (the sequel to Myst) that was a piece of cake. Riven is one kooky place, with landscapes and images right out of your strangest dreams, but here’s the closest you can get to its five islands in real life.
General landscapes: Phang Nga Bay, Thailand
Nothing evokes the fractured islands of Riven better than Thailand’s beautiful sea stacks. Can’t you just picture a marble dome up there?
Temple Island: Power Plant IM Cooling Tower, Belgium
Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of massive gold domes in the real world (although there are a few). But the interior of this abandoned cooling tower takes me right back to that creepy, cavernous room that powered Gehn’s fire marble domes.
Jungle Island: California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture
You won’t find any submarines or whark gallows, but Nader Khalili‘s experimental adobe dwellings in the Mojave Desert–with applications ranging from the Moon and Mars to third-world villages and emergency shelters on earth–sure do look a lot like Rivenese homes. Their Rumi Dome also looks like something straight out of a Cyan world.
Book Assembly Island: Whakaari/White Island, New Zealand
This rocky island’s discolored caldera lake is about as close as you could get to Gehn’s book-making headquarters. If only a steampunk-esque laboratory were perched on the rim…
Survey Island: Hammam Meskhoutine, Algeria
These hot springs don’t even have an english Wikipedia page, but the travertine formations are nearly identical to the ones in Survey Island’s geothermal lake. Sans black spikey rocks, of course. And if you’re looking for Gehn’s whark throne room, Okinawa Churami Aquarium in Japan is just missing a few stalagmites.
Prison Island: El Árbol del Tule, Mexico
You won’t find any giant half-trees growing out of the ocean in real life, so kudos to Cyan for their imagination. But the Tree of Tule in Mexico–the world’s second-stoutest–is definitely wide enough to hold Catherine’s prison if anyone would like to spend the rest of their lives chopping it in half.
Next time, I’ll track down the ages of Uru.