Dec 11, 2007
Hard to believe it now, but back when multimedia and CD-ROM were buzzwords of a new age of entertainment, Myst was a revolutionary PC game. These days, the 1994 design is really showing its age, but there’s definitely still a certain mysterious charm about it. Nobody made games like this before, and apart from its many sequels, few have attempted anything similar since.
There’s no back story, or any kind of explanation or instructions. After opening a magical book, you find yourself transported to a deserted island packed with weird machinery and strange architecture. As you poke around the place, pulling switches and exploring buildings, you uncover clues about people trapped in some sort of parallel dimension, and you take it upon yourself to set them free. The whole thing can be completed in under an hour, if you know what you’re doing, but it’s more likely to take several days on your first attempt.
As good as this one big puzzle is, it’s let down by the limitations of CD-ROM. It’s just a series of static pictures, which makes navigation a bit of a nightmare if you’re used to today’s games. Also, the heavy compression used to fit it all into a DS cart means the image quality is awful, and it’s hard to see what’s going on in the tiny, grainy pictures. If you want to experience the world of Myst as it was meant to be, it makes a lot more sense if you’re sitting at a desk, looking at a crisp PC monitor.