Oh, How I Myst You

Today, I finally did something I’ve been meaning to do for years. Something that, time and again, has slipped out of my grasp for one reason or another. Today, I have finally beaten Myst.

Myst and I go way back. It’s one of those games that’s captivated my imagination, on and off, since its release over twenty years ago. It’s also been tantalizingly out of my grasp for much of that time. I can’t fully recall, but for one reason or another I didn’t play it when it originally came out. Maybe it was my family’s lack of computer (we started with Windows 3.1), or the fact that I wasn’t big into PC gaming yet. But for the longest time, all I could remember about the game was an image of a rocket ship, perched on its side and shrouded in mist. I even forgot the game’s name.

That's the one.

That’s the one.  A;though I seem to remember more fog. (via Let’s Play Archive)


Aside: for those of you who don’t know, Myst was a point-and-click adventure game released back when CD-ROM drives were first becoming popular. You wander through scenic vistas, solving puzzles and using books to travel to other fantastical Ages. The graphics were pre-rendered, with live-action actors spliced in from time to time. While they may not have aged well, they were amazing at the time. You wander these places largely alone, with no direction or tutorial to point you in any sort of direction.

Years later, with appropriate Internet access, I rediscovered the game. I even came across an old copy in the “free” bin at my local library. I was elated! I rushed home, plugged it in to my laptop and… discovered it was incompatible. Apparently my version of Windows was too new; but hey, I got a cool strategy guide as well, so that had to count for something, right?

Eventually I did find a copy of Myst: Masterpiece Edition that would run on my computer. But for one reason or another, I can’t remember if I ever beat the game. Then the discs went missing, never to be found again. I also received a copy of Myst III: Exile as a birthday present, but got stymied in the puzzles, and have also never completed it. Such was my lot in life, it seemed.

But then I picked up yet another copy, realMYST, during the (still ongoing) GOG Summer Sale and finally sat down to play it. And guess what? I finally worked my way through it! Not only that, but I managed to play and finish a game I bought! I do remember the game being more difficult, however. Maybe it’s just that I’ve played it before and thus have some recollection of what to do with the puzzles. Or maybe I’m just older now, and the logic seems less obtuse. It was fun to have to keep notes on a scratch sheet, though. A real blast from the past.

If this was a review, I guess this is where I would say you should definitely check out Myst. If you haven’t already, that is. But this post was not really a review, is it? It was more of a look into the past, a brief overview of my interactions with a game over the years. I’m not sure it’s what I had in mind when I started, but then again, I’m not sure what I set out to say. If you take anything away from this post, I guess it could be this: Myst is a fun game that still manages to hold up after two decades. It can be beaten in about a day, and if you decide to play it, do yourself a favor and avoid walkthroughs. Take the time to enjoy the virtual sights and sounds.

Now, on to Riven!