Tim Larkin

SPOKANE, Wash. — Not that you would have missed me, but I'm back from a little vacation with my wife, which included Spokane, Wash., for a little convention called Mysterium.

For three days, we mingled and attended events with fans of the computer games "Myst," "Riven," "Uru" and others. These games take place in fantastic worlds created by Rand Miller and his company, Cyan. In fact, there is so much to these worlds that, much like the Klingons in "Star Trek," the "Myst" worlds have their own culture and language.

People from all over the world made their way to the Ramada Inn in north Spokane. Many of them have kept in contact with each other through online "Myst" message boards.

There were people from all over, including Brazil, Germany, Australia, California, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Kentucky and Utah. By Utah, I don't mean just us.

We met twins Doug and Matt Johnson from West Bountiful. They go by the online names of Klaamas and [email protected], respectively. Such a small world. (Doug is going into linguistics at the University of Utah because of his fascination of the "Myst" language, known as D'ni.)

And the music in these games is something else.

Tim Larkin, the man responsible for the soundscapes on the last few "Myst" games, said "Uru" was his favorite to score.

The music of "Uru" is very much a dramatic soundtrack that evokes moods for the cavernous culture of the "Myst" worlds. "I had the luxury of time on that one," Larkin said of "Uru." "I was able to spend more time creating the music than I did on 'Myst V.' I ran the gamut with musical styles and even tapped into the dobro."

Another musical highlight of Mysterium came from a band called Cobalt Core.

The three-man outfit — consisting of singer Jeremy Lee, programmer/sampler/electronic manipulator Rob Snyder and guitarist Bob Macko — made the drive from Chicago to present one song during a night of fan presentations.

The haunting "Ode to the Myst" (which can be heard on the band's Web site www.cobaltcore.com) caught the aura of the "Myst" history (Mystory?) and captivated all who were in the room.

After the song, Lee said with a smile that performing was a little nerve-racking. "I'm used to playing in dark places where you can't see the audience. Here, all the lights were on and I could see everyone's eyes watching us, expecting us to do something."

However, Lee's butterflies were all for naught — the audience gave a rousing ovation that could have penetrated into the deepest caverns of the D'ni world.

Next year is the eighth annual Mysterium. And you can bet we'll be there.

E-mail: [email protected]