Ah Myst. The inescapable game. Ported to everything including your piano, lamp, and garage door, If you haven’t played this on one device or the other, HOW?! If you haven’t, Myst is this week’s game, and this is why you should play it.
On the first post of GOTW I said that the only 2 criteria for a game being the GOTW was that it either had to be interesting or really good. Myst isn’t all that great as a game. It’s more of a milestone and piece of history than a really good game.
Admittedly, it does have some real nice things in it. One of the things that this game hits the nail on the head, is tone and atmosphere, and in this game, they go hand in hand. Myst tries to make you isolated, alone, confused, and a little awed, all of which it does. Even in the beginning of the game, you’re just warped to an island, and given no instructions or people to talk to whatsoever. The nature of the island, what and where it is, is literally shrouded in myst. So you have to make your way around several different worlds alone and with no guidance. There are remnants of where people used to live and be, but no one is there. The music also helps reinforce this idea.
But past that, things are either mediocre or leaning towards bad. The puzzle design, for one, isn’t all that great. I managed to figure out what to do in the majority of the game, but there were some parts that I had no idea what to do. In other times, too much information was given, and you were left to sort through what was helpful and what was not. Needless to say, this is not the most ideal way to go about puzzle design.
That’s the biggest complaint I have with this game, but there are some other things I nitpicked as well. Often times, due to the nature of navigation, it was hard to pinpoint where you were in the age. It was also very easy to lose your bearings. When you wanted to turn, the hand had this sweet spot where it would point to the left or the right, but sometimes it wasn’t next to the edge of the screen. There were parts where you had to had to approach certain locations in certain directions, leading to a lot of clicking back and forth, trying to get where you wanted to go.
But all that stuff can be overlooked in the right context and mindset. When this game first came out for the PC in 1993, it was mind-blowingly awesome. The graphics, the sound, “DAD COME OVER HERE LOOK AT THIS GAME!” 6 million copies were sold of Vanilla Myst alone, not to mention Myst Masterpiece Edition, realMyst, etc. It was a bombshell in the PC gaming world. It was a momentous time, and a momentous game.
Even if what I said above turns you off, you should still play it. Pick it up on GOG for $6. Wait till night comes, put on a pair of headphones, and let yourself be pulled into the fantastic atmosphere of Myst. And if it’s been 19 years since you’ve played this game, relive years long past.
5 coughs/9 lion’s dens