#234 Myst

Posted: 20th July 2019 by Jeroen in Games
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800th played so far

Genre: Adventure/Puzzle
Platform: Various
Year of Release: 1993
Developer: Cyan
Publisher: Broderbund

Game 800! To celebrate that achievement (and it really is one to me, somehow the before-last 100 milestone matters a lot) I’m playing game that I’ve been interested in for a long time, for similar reasons as The 7th Guest, but haven’t made time to play yet. I’ve seen some of the lore and know a bit of the world, but the solutions are far away, so I’ll need to see how that works out.

Will it hold up? I’m going to assume it will.

Our Thoughts

To a point, Myst still holds up. Sure, graphically it’s not as modern as modern games are, but considering the age it still looks pretty good. Unlike Ridge Racer last time, released in the same year, this uses prerendered graphics and the original consisted more of movies from one place to the other. I played one of the later remakes, but it still worked well enough.

One of the things that can really set a game apart is how succesful it is in its environmental storytelling. System Shock did some of that early on and Looking Glass Studios continued from there, while modern games like Gone Home made a genre out of that, but Myst does something similar here. As the worlds are written by a character in the story, as you find out more of as you go on, they already reflect some of that personality, and with both of the sons livining in the different eras, the way the rooms are laid out tell syou all you need to know about their personalities. It’s quite impressive in a way that I’m not sure is always recognised.

The worlds are small – smaller than I expected I suppose – but are neat to explore. They obviously somewhat constrain your options, which makes finding the puzzles and sorting out their interactions easier. The puzzles are sometimes difficult enough though – there are some where I got myself some hints and one, a music puzzle, felt impossible to do by someone who doesn’t have the musical knowledge, while also having an interface that makes it unnecessarily difficult. When they work though, there’s always that nice extra reward of being able to progress to a new bit of the world, which is worth it on its own.

Final Thoughts

Has Myst aged? Up to a point, but I’d argue it matters little. It’s smaller than you might make these days, but its compact nature helps more than it hinders. It’s unfortunate some puzzles feel too awkward, in my case locking access to a world, but at least the plot is flexible enough to let you get away with missing one.