Retrospective: Myst • Page 2

The dark ages.

"Look!" people would cry, calling over relatives. "Look at this!" And their relatives would look at the graphics on the desktop PC and their jaws would hang slack. "I... I had no idea! So, go on, move around!"

Click.

At the point where gaming had finally advanced enough to allow 3D worlds through which you could move with speed, Myst grabbed that by the throat and throttled it until it squirmed dying on the floor. Once again we were back to clicking on the screen and finding ourselves teleported forward. But unlike the corridors of, say, Dungeon Master, not in an understandable direction, but at whichever angle it saw fit, leaving you disorientated, and unable to usefully turn around to figure out where you were. Will it be a quarter turn, or a full turn?!

Fight the machine

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Oh take your mechanisms and stick them up your pre-rendered hole.

Myst is also the game I hold responsible for f***ing mechanism puzzles. Oh look, here in the middle of this wood is a metal platform with a collection of buttons and switches. I guess if I go back three miles I'll find a book that alludes to there being something which requires a dial to be rotated 38 degrees to the right, and there was that sign on the wall in that dungeon that had some arrows that vaguely suggested that there might be a switch somewhere that needed to be pushed up and down seven times.

So if I do those, only in the right order, absolutely nothing visible or audible will happen but another utterly disconnected location 15 minutes away will now have a new pixel that I can click on. THANKS MYST.

I mean, sure, adventure games up until that point were asking you to make logical choices, or solve inventory puzzles with lateral thinking, but who needed that? Not when you could have acres and acres of machines and signs and books to twat around with in the name of progress.

And I'm a Mac

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If I wanted to read a book, I'd - oh, I don't know - READ A BOOK.

Oh, and Myst is responsible for levels of smugness beyond any other, generated by - brrrrrrrrr - Mac gamers in the nineties. Oh, has the universe ever witnessed a more loathsome collection of turtle-necked smug-goblins? "Yes, I play computer games. But I play them on my [imaginary internal fanfare] Mac." "Oh, so you play Myst and Civilisation then. And NOTHING ELSE."

Those one-mouse-buttoned buckets of self-importance, explaining to you how their Apple Macintosh is so much better for gaming than your PC, like a group of pompous weeds with dustbin lids for shields going to war with the armies of Sparta, and yet somehow the absolute certainty that they'd already won the battle. And then when trounced - smashed into the ground - looking up through their spindly glasses and saying, "And it's far better for desktop publishing."

A time to die

When I'm asked what I'd do if given a time machine, I don't say, "Go to the dawn of the millennium to meet Christ," or, "Travel forward to next week and get the lottery numbers!" I say, "I would travel back to 1992, to Cyan's Washington studio, and I would smash everything to smithereens, then get the developers, stick them in the time machine, and send them four hundred million years into the past. And then I'd stay in that time and ensure that no one else attempt to revive the project. Anything, anything at all, to stop Myst.

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