Happy 20th Birthday Myst

Niemann on Tuesday, 24 September 2013. Posted in News

I was really confused. I'd just woken up on a dock, next to a boat with no sails, after a crazy sound and a video of a guy falling into a book. What the heck was going on? I had no idea at the time, but I was witnessing the crowning achievement in an otherwise dying genre.
I was lucky enough to grow up with a Macintosh with a reasonably good CD-ROM drive (not sure if it was just me, but I always had the worst luck with those things). My Dad told me he'd gotten this adventure game that a bunch of guys at work had been talking about and I should try it out. Everyone was playing Myst. If you were a nerd, geek, computer programmer, computer programmers son or daughter; if you were walking around a CompUSA or your local comic book store, you were playing or talking about Myst.
Myst was a pretty basic adventure game, filled with riddles and constant running back and forth trying to discover what that last switch you hit changed. It was beautiful and you were driven by a desire to discover what was behind the next door than racking up points or killing something. This was truly a game of exploration, it was simple, it was beautiful, it was the last game like it.
A few months later in 1993 everyone would be playing Doom, and suddenly video games would never be the same. Myst feels like the end of an era, but twenty years ago I was a happy kid sitting in front of a small computer screen forgetting the dangers of the world and wondering why there was a dentist's chair in the middle of a deserted island.

Comments (1)

  • seanstar


    28 September 2013 at 04:29 |
    One anecdote I've heard about the game was that once it was functionally complete, the team wanted to spend the rest of their time/budget on extras and shiny, but project management, to their credit, said no and instead went through the process of verifying the game on absolutely as many CD-ROM drives as they could get their hands on. Because back in the day, yes, CD-ROMs were notoriously new/flaky/nonstandardized.

    I just remember finding the White Page pretty much immediately, and then having all the puzzles take over my brain and give me nightmares because, as I've later worked out, I was entering essentially all the right answers and events simply were not triggering due to some other bug :P

    If you're feeling nostalgic, go look up the Myst novelized series. It was surprisingly entertaining, and added quite a bit of depth to what you get in the games themselves.

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