Riven Elementary Restored
What’s that? Today’s Riven: the Sequel to Myst‘s 25th Anniversary? And because the whole game is based around the number 25, that makes it an extra special anniversary?? Time for me to release something extra special then!
Time for me to release a fully restored version of Riven Elementary.
What’s Riven Elementary?
Riven Elementary was a basic maths game inspired by the Wahrk counting number toy in the schoolroom in Riven (more information on it at the Guild of Archivists). The player has to work out what the D’ni symbols for the numbers 1-10 are by observing what happens when you play with the toy. Riven Elementary takes this a step further, and the player has to work out not only the D’ni symbols for numbers using the Wahrk toy but also the D’ni symbols for addition/subtraction/multiplication/division based on which questions they get right & wrong. It was originally released on the 26th of August 1998, 10 months after Riven’s original CD release and coinciding with Riven’s DVD release. A contest was also part of the original release of Riven Elementary – you could only submit your details if you won a perfect game, and there were two winners a week earning a free CD copy of Riven.
The game itself was made by Jig Interactive using Macromedia Director and designed to play in-browser using Macromedia Shockwave Player, the precursor to Adobe Shockwave. The original version went offline around 20 years ago, but fragments of it lived on in some mirrors. Before now, if you were dedicated it was possible to re-create most of the game to have a functional-but-not-with-original-graphics version you could get running with an old version of a web browser that still supported plug-ins (like I had it running on my Myst book). But what I’m releasing here is a restored version using not only all the original graphics, but in a form that’s easily playable on modern computers.
Wait, is this canon?
The all-authoritative RAWA has said many times that the mathematical operand symbols in Riven Elementary are officially not canon. But hey, they’re also the only mathematical symbols we’ve got, official/canon or not. So people have been hungry for them anyway.
How did you get this running again?
Huge thanks goes out to @tomysshadow for most of the effort! They managed to track down the old Jig Interactive employee, Gabe Jensen, who originally programmed the game (he’s now a children’s book author; you can check him out at gabejensenbooks.com). He still had the original source files, which filled all the gaps missing from the versions you could recreate from the Internet Archive. @tomysshadow also leveraged their experience dealing with old Shockwave files to create a projector for the ancient game so it could be played on modern Windows systems without needing an old web browser with the Shockwave plugin installed.
What’s the system requirements?
Riven Elementary was originally designed to run on Internet Explorer 4-era of Web Browsers with the Macromedia Shockwave Player plug-in installed. Thankfully the world has since moved on from such dark, rudimentary times. What I’m releasing has been tested & confirmed to run on Windows 10 and Windows 11, and it’ll probably run on earlier releases of Windows too. Sorry MacOS users; Apple’s long-term war against backwards compatibility and Adobe Director’s discontinuation in 2017 mean no easy export to a modern native .app for Shockwave files. Those who know how on MacOS/Linux may have some luck with Crossover, WINE, a virtual machine, or similar emulation/virtualisation environment; if you do, let me know in the comments! Other system requirements like RAM or CPU speed mattered back in the day, but today they’re so low a calculator app may be more demanding so they’re not worth mentioning.
Ok, let me at it!
Just download the zip file, extract everything somewhere, run rivenelem.exe, and you’re away!
Some anti-virus providers may not like this game, likely just because it’s old Shockwave content. I’ve scanned these files thoroughly through the likes of VirusTotal and others, but to make sure nothing’s been tampered with here’s a description of the archive’s contents plus their SHA-1 hashes:
- Riven_elementary_restored.zip – the whole archive
SHA-1 hash: 0d026a3632e2e41e7235372a5822e585cd6edc36
- rivenelem.exe – the Projector to play the game. This is what you want to run
SHA-1 hash: 19bbe067c7ef3eae964c10bc8951e76d61b4e64f
- rivenelemcheat.exe – a Projector with “cheat” mode enabled, in case you need a little help
SHA-1 hash: cf718dc85e69d20fffb83c53cd2b35272dac53cb
- rivenelem.dcr – the original Macromedia Shockwave file, used by the Projectors
SHA-1 hash: a37395cad4bc9de20fef6f1eeafa8b89c7a62af2
- dswMedia folder – images used by the game, originally pre-loaded during the intro screens