Real Myst

Where and when did you first play this game?

Dustin H. got Myst in 1993 after we got one of the first CD-ROMs for our PCs.   CD-Roms at the time were still very rare, and there were few games on CD-Rom which took advantage of the format to it’s full potential.   Myst and 7th Guest were two available games at the time which were designed with the CD-ROM in mind, but Myst, unlike 7th Guest wasn’t a major pain in the ass to set up on MS-DOS.

Myst was a more interesting to me because of my graphic adventure interests.  Myst was a more advanced, adult, graphic adventure game, but certain the type of game I loved to play.  Myst original came out on Macintosh and PC in 1993, and it was later ported on to about every other gaming system!   In fact, Myst is one of the best selling video games ever!

How many times have you played this game? Have you replayed the game since you first played it?

I haven’t played through much of the game since 1993.  Myst has been on about every single game system I’ve ever heard of, but I have always avoided the game because I never had much success with the game.  I did pick up a copy of the RealMyst for the iPad when I got my iPad Mini last year.  I’ve been playing the game with more success, and I’ve been really impressed how well this version of the game made it fun again to play in real time.

What is it about this game that you loved?

This game was a huge advancement in the video game technology of the time.  It was the first time a I remember a game being exclusively released on a CD-ROM because of the size and complexity of the game.  It used fully rendered images, again another first as I recall, and it also include live action video as part of the story narrative.

The graphics of the game were very impressive even in the 8-bit color of the 1990s on the MS-DOS system.  The interactive environment and the interwoven video in the game really made the game stand-out.  It wasn’t the kind of game where you had to fear for your life because there would be a monster hiding behind every corner, but a more adult game.  You needed a pen and paper to take notes as you’d find some clues in one place in the game, which be relevant later in the same section of the game. 

The music and sound effects are amazing for the time, which are a benefit of the CD-ROM.   You have actually some very impressive, moody and creep music to match up with the game play.  The CD quality music and sound effects, added to the beautifully rendered images and the quality of the game play.  For example, you can hear the wind blowing, water running, and squeaky gears or leavers when you moved them.

What is the best (or worst) moment in this game? Or what about this game made it memorable?

I had a great time playing Myst, but I know the most frustrating thing about this game is you had to really think about the puzzles.  This was before the age of the Internet, there are NO, or very few hints, within the game to push you forward.  For example, if you’re stuck on a particular puzzle, you’re really on your own, at least within the game, to figure them out.

The good thing about Myst was the game design.  Thankfully, the game designers took the time to understand how NOT to trap a player into a section of the game.  Myst is basically a beautiful graphic adventure like Secret of Monkey Island, but without all the witty dialog.

You start on Myst Island and work your way around to other places, the game calls Ages.  When you arrive in another Age, you’re bound to the knowledge and items you can find within that Age.  For example, let’s say you missed or forgot to do something in the previous or another Age, you’ll not be completely screwed and have to start the game all over again.  The game designers make sure you’re able to advance through the Age without requiring you do one thing after another.

I always think of this as you have to complete “A”, which allows you do “B”, which allows you do “C”.  In Myst can do A-C and B later, and that’s a good non-linear game play structure, which came with more advance game designs.  A game example of A-B-C would be Maniac Mansion.  If you didn’t complete something in the proper sequence you might die or not able to complete the game.

Moving around in the game is a series of pre-rendered images, so as you move 90 or 180 degrees, you can literally see this very choppy transition from place to place, and honestly it’s a small complaint.  In the end it would have been more annoying if you want to turn around and had to click through image after image just to turn around.  In RealMyst, a real time version of the game, you do get a more fluid transition, since it’s not a pre-rendered version like the 90s version.

Is there a special story about this game? Maybe an event in your life or some thing memorable you associate with this game?

Dustin played Myst as a team, even though I don’t remember us getting all the way through the game.  It would be a weekend tradition to go out to a local convenience store and pick up Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, come back over to my place and play Myst, or other games, in to the wee hours of the night.  We never really made it very far into the game, but it was a good time with my best friend.

Another special memory regarding the Myst series, is the third game in the series Myst Exile.  I had never complete played Myst, so I didn’t get into Myst 2:  Riven or Myst 3:  Exile, but my partner Steve did play the games at one point.  The games of course became more involved and lovely over the years, but the third game actually had an original title track, “You’re in Exile from Me“.  Check it out, because Steve used to love torturing me with that game song by playing it over and over, and it’s not a bad song, just silly.  😛


One thought on “Myst

  1. I love Myst! It has great puzzles (though I though Riven had better puzzles). Exile was my favorite overall. “You’re an exile from me…”

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