Covid-19 & Mysterium 2021

Shorah everyone.

We hope you are all safe and healthy. We have some very important news about our 2021 convention, so please take a moment to read through this post.

The short version – We will NOT be holding an in-person convention this summer. Instead, we will be holding another online event on the same weekend. Refunds will be available to everyone who has pre-registered.

We know this announcement may be frustrating to many of you, but we feel it is the best course of action we have right now. Please read on for the details in a handy Q&A format:

Why aren’t you holding an in-person con?

The Covid-19 pandemic is still too out of control right now, and we simply can’t be sure what the situation will look like in July. It’s possible everyone will be vaccinated and everything will be safe; it’s also possible that vaccine delays will happen, or a more dangerous variant will appear.

There are also legal and logistical concerns surrounding a distanced con with mandatory vaccines that are still under an Emergency Use Authorization. We are a tiny volunteer-run organization with limited resources, and July is very soon. We would rather let governments and larger organizations learn how to safely hold these sorts of gatherings over the next year, rather than try to be one of the first cons out of the gate.

Why not wait another month or two to decide?

Logistically, we have to start planning for an online event. That takes time and looks different from on-site planning, so we had to make the switch at some point.

Legally, we have a contractual deadline from our hotel. If we don’t cancel now, we will owe them more money.

Why not just let the people who feel safe attending do so anyway?

Everyone has their own personal level of acceptable risk. However, the FMG Board (which oversees Mysterium) has a responsibility to do what we feel is best to protect the safety of our attendees and the people they will come in contact with (hotel staff, airline workers, food workers, etc). Given that, and the reasons we listed previously, we feel that the risks are too high to hold an official in-person event right now.

I already registered. Will I get a refund?

Yes, you will get a full refund. You will receive an email once the refund has been processed (check your spam or promotions folders!). If you don’t hear from us by the end of next week, please reach out!

What about t-shirts and other swag?

We will be selling and shipping t-shirts again this year. If you got one with your registration, it will be refunded and you will be able to re-buy it through our web store at the same price.

You can find our web store with shirt sales here.

As far as other swag – we don’t know yet.

Should I cancel my hotel room?

No, you don’t have to cancel your room reservation. The hotel should do that in a few weeks. If somehow it looks like they aren’t going to do so, we will let you know with plenty of time to cancel.

What about transportation that I booked?

Please check with your carrier for details on cancellations.

Have you considered postponing the con until later this year?

We are investigating that option, but we have no useful news about that.

How is Mysterium doing financially? Is this going to bankrupt the convention?

Overall, we’re doing pretty well. Obviously, between refunds and hotel fees, we’re going to take a hit to our funds by moving to an online convention, but thanks to sales and very generous donations from last year we should be fine.

Can I host a panel/event or otherwise help out with the online Mysterium?

Yes! We’re not ready to take in your ideas just yet, but please check back soon. 

How/where will online Mysterium be hosted?

We don’t have all the details yet, but we will likely base it on what we did last year (Zoom+Discord+Twitch/Youtube). There have been many advances in online convention hosting, though, so we’ll look into other options.

How much will the online convention cost?

As with last year, the online convention will be free! It is likely that t-shirt sales can cover our costs, and we want to make sure the convention is accessible to as many people as possible.

That’s it for the Q&A for now. Before we wrap up, we want to give a shout out to all of the volunteers on the Mysterium staff who have put in a lot of work these last two years in the hopes of running an in-person con. They have some cool stuff planned, and we hope you get to come see it at our next in-person event.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to reach out by email, discord, or social media. We hope to have more information soon. In the meantime, please stay safe and get your vaccine when you can!

-Falling Man Group Board of Directors

Soundtracks Re-release

Greetings everyone!

We have less than a week before Mysterium begins, and we have a few reminders and a big announcement.

Reminders

If you haven’t yet, be sure to register for Mysterium. You will not be able to access the social discussion groups on Zoom unless you do. We also recommend downloading Zoom and running a test call if you plan to join the discussions.

Also, we are still accepting last-minute What Would Atrus Build? submissions through tomorrow.

And don’t forget to check out the Myst Documentary’s Kickstarter!

Soundtracks

Jack Wall, composer of the Myst III and IV soundtracks and one of our many special guests, let us in on an exciting piece of news yesterday. Jack, in collaboration with Tim Larkin and Cyan, has re-released the soundtracks from Myst III, Myst IV, Uru, and Myst V through his record label.

They are available for purchase digitally from iTunes, Amazon, and Google, and can be streamed on various services worldwide. Search for them under the following names:

  • Myst III: Exile (Original Game Soundtrack)
  • Myst IV: Revelation (Original Game Soundtrack)
  • Uru: Ages Beyond Myst (Original Game Soundtrack)
  • Myst V: End of Ages (Original Game Soundtrack)

A fan asked about re-releasing the albums at Mysterium last year, which helped to get that ball rolling.

We’ll have more Mysterium news for you in a day or two. Until then, happy listening!

-The Mysterium Committee

Stephan Martiniere, Myst Doc Kickstarter, & WWAB

Greetings friends

We have just under four weeks to go until Mysterium, so it’s time we tell you about another of our special guests – Stephan Martiniere!

Stephan Martiniere

Myst fans may remember him as the Visual Art Director for the URU/Myst Online games and Myst V, but Stephan has an extensive list of credits across all types of media. From games to movies to book covers to theme parks, he’s done it all. We are enormously excited to welcome him to Mysterium this year, and we think you will all enjoy hearing from him.

You can learn more about Stephan, and all of our guests, on our Special Guests page – and if those aren’t exciting enough for you, stay tuned because we have plenty more to come.

Myst Doc Kickstarter

If you’ve attended Mysterium in recent years, you will remember seeing Philip Shane recording us all and talking about the upcoming Myst Documentary. Well, come tomorrow you will be able to back the Myst Doc on Kickstarter! Head over to the Kickstarter page to sign up for a notification when the campaign goes live.

While you wait, you can also check out an exclusive interview with Philip, Rand, and Robyn over on VentureBeat, here.

What Would Atrus Build

A long-standing favorite of Mysterium attendees, What Would Atrus Build asks participants to “finish” a project that Atrus left in pieces on his desk. We haven’t held this event for several years, but we think this year’s online format lends itself to a slightly modified version: We give you the prompt, and you present your creation in a pre-recorded video.

Make it as simple or complicated as you want. Don’t have the right junk or construction skills to actually build your idea? No problem! We welcome sketches, 3D models, or any other way you can think of to express your creativity.

You can learn all about our WWAB contest on the submissions page.

Call For Discussion Topics

Mysterium is known not just for its great panels and events, but also for its welcoming and casual social atmosphere. You’re just as likely to overhear new friends discussing the finer points of D’ni lore, as you are to hear them talking about unrelated TV shows or computer programming. Someone once described Mysterium as “the fun parts of large cons, but all weekend”. How do we translate that to the online format, though?

Our solution: Social rooms on Zoom. Everyone who is pre-registered (for free!) will receive an email in a few weeks with information about when and how to join these social rooms. Before that, though, we need some topics! We’re looking for a wide range here, so don’t limit yourself to just Myst-specific topics. We’re already planning a time for a ‘crafting circle’ hangout, and another for ‘mental health and coping skills’.

You can use this form to submit your social topic ideas. Feel free to submit as many as you want! Topics should be submitted by July 26th.

Reminders

Remember that Open Mic Night submissions are due in about a week (July 20), and there’s still time to grab a t-shirt and help a couple great causes. Also, if you originally registered for our on-site 2020 convention and have not received an email about refunds and roll-overs, please get in touch with us.

We’ll have more soon.

– The Mysterium Committee

Open Mic Submissions

Shorah Everyone

We have another quick update for you.

Open Mic Night

Last year we held our first Open Mic Night, an evolution of our Mysterium Showtunes event in 2018. It continues to be a popular, and fun, event, so we want to bring it to our virtual Mysterium. Instead of live performances, we’ll be taking submissions of your song parodies, poetry, skits, and anything else you can come up with. We’ll string them together and show them during the virtual Mysterium.

We hope a lot of you choose to participate, and we look forward to seeing your awesome creations. Remember, this is all about having fun. You don’t have to be the best singer or writer – just look at the goofballs on the Mysterium committee performing last year!

You can get all of the details about Open Mic Night submissions here.

Other Submissions

Don’t forget that we still have submissions open for events, activity book pages, and our Pass the Book Challenge. You can find all the details for those on our submissions page.

Registration Roll-Over

We said in our last blog post that we’d email anyone who already registered for Mysterium 2020. We promise we didn’t forget, and we expect those emails to go out in the next day or so. Keep an eye on your inbox!

Myst Documentary

Our friends over at the Myst Documentary have launched a new interactive website. Philip Shane, who is making the documentary, will once again be presenting at Mysterium this summer. Until then, though, we encourage you to check out the new site and sign up for their mailing list.

That’s all we have for you this week. Stay tuned for some exciting announcements next week, including registration, extra special guests, and more!

The Mysterium Committee

(PS – Don’t forget to order a T-shirt and support some great organizations all at once!)

Mysterium Updates and Taking Action

Hello everyone

It’s hard to write a blog post about a gaming convention right now. On the one hand, we want to get you information about the convention in a timely manner. On the other hand, we can’t ignore what is happening in the world around us, as people of color and others around the country – and the world – protest police brutality and a long history of systemic injustice. We want to make it very clear that everyone involved in planning Mysterium supports the Black Lives Matter protests, and that there will never be space for racism or bigotry within the Mysterium community.

We plan to put our money where our mouths are at the end of this post, but first we want to give you an update on the rescheduled Mysterium 2021 convention:

Mysterium 2021

For the first time ever, we’re giving you over 13 months to plan for Mysterium! The dates of the rescheduled Mysterium 2021 are July 16-18, at the same hotel (Westin Alexandria Old Town in Alexandria, VA) and same room rate ($100/night). See our updated Location page for more details.

Hotel Bookings

The hotel will be cancelling your 2020 booking in the next couple weeks, so you should not need to do anything. If this hasn’t occurred by July 1, we will contact the hotel and update you with plenty of time before the cancellation date. We will post the link to book 2021 hotel rooms at our rate after our virtual Mysterium 2020 convention is over.

Registration

If you have already purchased a registration for Mysterium 2020, you will have the option of rolling it over to 2021, or requesting a refund. If you choose to roll over your registration, you will not be responsible for any price increases between now and the event. We will contact you soon with more details, using the email address you provided when you registered. For those of you who have not yet purchased a ticket, we will open Mysterium 2021 registration later this year.

Mysterium 2020

We have several interesting events planned for our virtual Mysterium, and we want to remind you that you can submit your own virtual event ideas here.

Calling All Costumers

One event we’re excited about is what we’re calling the Pass The Book Challenge, based on the popular Pass The Brush Challenge videos that have been circulating recently. If you have any Myst, Obduction, or other Cyan related costumes, this is your time to shine! All you have to do is record a pair of videos of yourself before and after putting on the costume, and we’ll edit them together into a fun video to be played during Mysterium!

Don’t stress about this. It’s not about having the most complex or intricate costume, it’s about having fun and showing off your creativity.

You can read all the details here!

T-Shirt Updates and Profit Donations

We have made some minor updates to the dates on the T-Shirt logos, and we have opened a new web store where you can order them! You can get all the info about our shirts and store on our Shirts Page. If you already bought a shirt with your registration, we will be in touch with you over email soon to discuss your options.

Now, we said at the start of this post that we’d be putting our money where our mouths are, and it’s time to do just that. We will be donating $2 from every shirt sold through the end of August to Campaign Zero and to Gameheads.

  • Campaign Zero is focused on research about police violence, how different policies affect it, and pushing for legislation to enact those policies and to help stop the violence entirely.
  • Gameheads is an organization focused on helping to prepare low income youth and youth of color to enter and thrive in the technology and video game industries. It’s certainly a different choice from Campaign Zero, but it felt appropriate coming from a convention about a video game series.

The donations will be evenly split between the two organizations. We’d love to give even more money, but realistically we only make $8-10 per shirt sold (depending on how many we sell), and the money we get from shirt sales is a significant part of how we fund the convention. If you would like to make your own donations, here are some other organizations to look at:

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund

The Black Visions Collective

The ACLU

Color Of Change

You local bail fund (find it on this and other lists)

We will have more for you soon. Until then, we hope you all stay safe and healthy.

-The Mysterium Committee