The Appeal of Myst

The fundamental reason why I love the plots of the Myst games is because of their founding premise: that books literally take you to other worlds. That appealed to me when I played the first Myst on our old PowerPC 6115 CD; it still appeals to me as I play Myst IV on my iMac G5. I enjoy the plots; they are built on old archetypes (children competing for a father’s love and power), but the mystery of the game worlds just works for me. I’m just waiting for VR to make “linking books” out of every novel. Just 5 more years, right?

I’m big on immersion as an element of the games I play, and I am choosy, which means I probably can’t claim the title of gamer. That and I play on a Mac. Myst throws out world wandering in exchange for absolutely gorgeous visual and audio design. It’s a game implemented more by artists than people squeezing the latest effects out of a graphics card.

Myst IV: Revelation seems to have added some timed components; there have been several puzzles where once you figure out the correct sequence, you have to manipulate the puzzle device quickly. Right now I’m stuck trying to carry an item that disappears if you move the mouse cursor too quickly (representing you moving too quickly) or if you run out of time before getting it to its destination. A limit on the order of 15 seconds. I will attack it again later this week.

For a moment, I was annoyed to find out that the game soundtrack is buried in data files, and that you have to buy it separately; then I realized that movie soundtracks always work like that too. So here’s a question: why don’t movies and games throw in their soundtracks for free? The data is already on the disk, it’s just not in the right form. I realize, they want to make more money… but I wouldn’t pay that much for a cool ambient video game soundtrack anyways.

Incidentally, if anyone of you whom I know in the Boston area wants to borrow the game after I finish it, you’d be welcome to it. I wouldn’t play it again for several months to a year, whenever I wanted to experience the prettiness and immersion again.

One thing I can’t tell is if the Myst games have gotten easier since the original, or I’ve gotten better at them. Definitely my style of intelligent game, the way you have to piece together clues and look everywhere for that hidden switch or doorway. Good times.

So, after wasting yet another day, I’m off to bed. is now trying to convince me to buy a DS Lite so I can play Mario Kart over the internets. I don’t think I’m going to be buying any new toys for a while…


3 responses to “The Appeal of Myst”

  1. I’m terrible at Myst. Could never get far in one. Mark has told me to try it again from time to time, but I have so little time and so many Zerg to kill!

  2. I am also tempted by the DS Lite. I’m just not sure I game enough to justify the purchase.

  3. If only it ran BSW…

Nurd Up!