My name is Atrus. I fear you've met my sons Sirrus and Achenar.
September 24, 2013 4:38 PM   Subscribe

Fans and critics alike held their breath in anticipation of the tidal wave of exploratory, open-ended gaming that was supposed to follow, waiting to be drowned in a sea of new worlds. And then, nothing. The legacy of Myst, 20 years later

More Myst:
posted by Frayed Knot (64 comments total) 74 users marked this as a favorite
Great memories, great game but kinda weird to see this on what is predominantly a sports site.
posted by z11s at 4:43 PM on September 24, 2013

If you still have your Mac OS9-era discs for Riven...Riven X. Run Riven in OSX.
I installed this last year, and it really works!

And, yes, I'm terribly disappointed that more games didn't follow Cyan's lead. I loved playing those games. It's exactly what I like in gaming.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:45 PM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

I loved Myst. To this day, I will find occasionally find myself in places that evoke the feeling of being in that world, such as a grassy spit of land jutting out into the ocean, with a lonely lighthouse at the end, no sounds but quietly crashing waves, and, most importantly, no other people around.

I enjoyed Riven as well, but seeing other people in the world now and then detracted from its Mystiness, in my opinion.
posted by good in a vacuum at 4:50 PM on September 24, 2013 [4 favorites]

Oh, and the comparisons I've been reading between Myst and the recently-released game Gone Home is really making want to try out the latter.
posted by good in a vacuum at 5:03 PM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Forthcoming PS4 game The Witness is also capturing that Myst feel.
posted by 2bucksplus at 5:04 PM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

There's a Myst MMO? What the what? Downloading now.

Good in a vacuum, Gone Home is ony of the few games I've ever had that have had an emotional impact on me. Give it a try.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 5:05 PM on September 24, 2013

I loved both of those games and wasted many, many hours playing them when I should have been working on my thesis. Time well spent really.
posted by Cuke at 5:06 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

I loved Riven, though I never finished it. I was a kid then. I first played it when, for one reason or another, my brother and I had to sleep over at my grandparents'. My mother's brother, who lived with my grandparents, had just bought the game. After dinner, he showed it to us. We had played Myst, but this new world managed to be even more mysterious, because there were no non-sequiturial rockets lying around. We wandered around the initial island for a while. The rotating room with the gold beetle impressed me the most, especially its music, which was so eerie that as I tried to sleep that night, I swore I could hear it, though the computer was off.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:07 PM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

It was the summer of 1994 and I was at Lollapalooza in Kansas City. Because I was in college and it was Lollapalooza, I was very high and at some point I wandered into a tent and inside that tent there was a computer set up with a game free to play. No signs or labels (or maybe there was and I was too fogged to notice), but there was this game that had amazing, art-like graphics and a dreamy, wander-wherever-you-want gameplay.

I lost track of time in that tent. When I finally pulled myself away my friends were all "where the hell did you go?" and I gushed how I found this awesome game in a tent and you gotta try it out! It was probably another six months or so until I found out the game's name was Myst and it was at least a year after that that I got a computer able to actually play it. It looks quaint by today's standards, but in 1994 Myst was really ahead of its time.

By the time I got to playing the sequels in the late 90s, the point-and-click, locked perspective was starting to lose its luster. First person shooters, with their fully 3D environments made Myst and Riven look rather antiquated. I always hoped the creators would switch to a 3D model, but that never happened, and that's a shame because virtually all first-person games are shooters. As I get older, I find the violence less and less agreeable with me. I want a beautifully made puzzle game, something like Myst.
posted by zardoz at 5:08 PM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Over on /r/games, someone linked to their notebook for the entire Myst saga. It's full of spoilers, but damn if that doesn't bring back some memories.
posted by themadthinker at 5:19 PM on September 24, 2013

Myst was so incredibly pretty. I was also quite charmed by Neverhood with it's claymation spin on the genre. If you're also fond of it, you might want to check out their new (!) game, Armikrog.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:20 PM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

But it wasn't just an issue of being ahead of its time — if so, we'd be seeing a lot more games like Myst in 2013. That's the strange thing — how could something so undeniably impactful have so few contemporary successors? Much of the game's popularity was thanks to casual players who found themselves drawn to its evocative, violence-free world; many hard-core gamers found it obtuse and frustrating, its point-and-click interface slideshow-esque and stifling. Maybe Myst wasn't for hard-core gamers. Maybe it wasn't even really a game.

I find these claims spurious; point-and-click was an established control system by then. Maniac Mansion that could be claimed to popularise the scheme came out in 1987 and was far from the first game to use it, not to mention the rest of LucasFilm's and Sierra's catalogue. Even a lot of the major rpgs of the time like Eye of the Beholder or Lands of Lore used a similar interface. Sadly, adventure games often featured pixel hunting, obtuse logic or puzzles that were incongruent with the rest of the game (7th Guest anyone?) while being expensive productions. The fad of FMV, which was slow and unimpressive didn't help either. The onslaught of newer, flashy FPSs like Quake (1996) and Half Life (1998 - published by Sierra) and the then-vibrant RTS scene with games that also used 3D like Age of Empires, Myth and Total Annihilation (all 1997) and blockbusters like Red Alert (1996) or Starcraft (1998), adventures looked outdated whereas games like Myst or Dragon's Lair used to be cutting-edge eye-candy. I feel that the popularity of adventure games with women and older gamers didn't help them at the time although it carried the seeds of the survival of the genre under different guises nowadays (escape the room games, indies, old-school revival games etc.)

I have played Myst and Riven, but my investment in the story was mainly due to (the book) Myst: The Book of Atrus, which I found rather evocative. A few years ago I found out about the existence of two sequels and I happily bought the massive tome of the trilogy only to be disappointed by sloppy writing, racism and what felt like religious hangups. Turns out the D'ni were jerks too.However, just like the games, we can celebrate a good thing regardless of how things turned out. Monkey Island 2 will remain great anyway.
posted by ersatz at 5:22 PM on September 24, 2013 [5 favorites]

Myst was the first PC game I remember seeing and going "I really really want to play this" and promptly commandeered my cousin's computer to play it (eventually getting it myself).

Riven, the sequel, is among my all-time favorite games and I dearly wish more games would go back to the sort of environment/exploration-based puzzles that it and the rest of the series did so well. There are far too few games in its vein.
posted by flatluigi at 5:25 PM on September 24, 2013

MetaFilter: I must have the blue pages.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 5:28 PM on September 24, 2013 [29 favorites]

Play Myst online, the MMO based on the game, for free.

System Requirements: Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7
posted by Thorzdad at 5:33 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

After years of Word Munchers and Oregon Trail, Myst was the first real video game I ever played, around age 12 with my newly acquired best friend. We were hooked immediately. When Riven came out I got it for Christmas, and I remember riding that little cable car roller coaster over and over again, yelling for my parents to come watch the most amazing computer graphics I'd ever seen. And the music was definitely amazing -- that soundtrack is still one of my favorite playlists for chilling out.

I have the iOS version of Myst; I find a touch interface a little more difficult than a mouse, but it's super fun wandering around through the world again. And boy, have I forgotten a lot.
posted by olinerd at 5:48 PM on September 24, 2013

Whoa, I didn't realise you could play Uru for free, I'd assumed it was shut down for good. Thanks!

The mythology wasn't entirely clear to me from Myst, but I love the idea that the ages aren't written into being - they simply exist and are linked to by describing them. I vaguely remember the novels describing things like the D'ni sourcing foods by finding verdant farm worlds, and even ridiculous stuff like getting perfectly formed kitchen countertops that just happen to be that shape.

I've thought for a while that it would make a great halloween costume to just have the linking sound on a hidden speaker. Trigger it when you walk into rooms, look disoriented, then go around tap-tapping every surface. bwwwooOOOOUUMMMM-ch-ch-ch...

None of my friends would get it though.
posted by lucidium at 5:52 PM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

I'm not a huge gamer, but Myst is one of the few games I've really fallen in love with. THanks for the post!

I always found it weird that the Myst franchise ended up with Ubisoft. Not that there's anything wrong with Ubisoft, but it didn't seem like a natural fit.
posted by es_de_bah at 6:01 PM on September 24, 2013

The "describing, not creating" thing isn't quite that simple. Once you've linked a book to an age, it's possible to wreak alterations to it by adding to the description in the book. And this isn't just a matter of relinking to a different age where your changes were always there -- inhabitants of the age will remember the change happening. This was established in the novels associated with Riven. In the fiction, there's some controversy about this. Gehn held that it proved that writing the books was an act of creation, but if the details you write about are the products of your mind, where do the details that you didn't cover come from?
posted by baf at 6:10 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

See also Jordan Mechner's The Last Express, released in 1997 and now ported to iOS, Android and Windows. The team was heavily influenced by Myst's creators and shared a publisher, Brøderbund.
posted by zippy at 6:24 PM on September 24, 2013 [4 favorites]

An amazing game that was pretty damn difficult for eight-year-old Riovanes back when it was released. I might give it another go now that my problem-solving skills are slightly more practised.

I haven't thought about those Myst books in a long time, but those were some good shit. Loved the massive, abandoned, underground city. I'll always remember Gehn in his study saying, "There. I have fixed it," and the terrible aftermath. Great story of what power can do to a man.

Good call on the Neverhood as well: a strange, lonely world with only you and the mystery.

The only contemporary game I can think of that gave me the same sense of thrill as I pored over my notes of hidden lore and searched forgotten rooms for obscure clues was Fez. Like Myst, the game drew you in with its art (and, unlike Myst, jumping puzzles) and kept you hooked with hints at endless mysteries that you were so close to understanding.
posted by Riovanes at 6:28 PM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Oh man, aside from the fact that it hasn't actually been 20 years since this came out, because that would make me old, this brought back memories. I was a senior in college and I was dating a guy who worked at a public internet place in Ithaca NY. It was like an Internet cafe, without the cafe. I went to get him after work one afternoon and he showed me the game. He and I and a few friends spent hours in the closed shop, poring over this world and figuring it out. When we finally left we noticed how the game had imbued our world with mystery. What if those 3 bricks on that wall hid something? Why were those trees planted so close together? What would happen if you stood on that stump?

Anyway, we never got a chance to finish the game together. We broke up and I moved away after graduation. Years later someone gave me both games as a gift and I was thrilled. There really was something magical about them. Now that I know I can play on my iPad I may have to see if my 13 year old is intrigued, too. I can think of worse things to waste time together.
posted by Biblio at 6:42 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Riovanes, I am playing Fez right this second, in another window, and had not made the connection until you said it. But there are certainly a lot of similarities. Here is my notebook covered in blocky symbols, here I am turning up the sound to see if that gives me clues, and here is the growing cloud of frustration as I realize I am not cut out to solve puzzles pretty much at all!

(Another memory this brings back: The Journeyman Project. Sooo much clicking.)
posted by mittens at 6:43 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Very few seem to remember this game, but there's also the vastly underrated Gadget, which was also released in 1993. Kind of like Myst but Japanese surreal sci-fi noir! Filled with Lynchian strangeness! And Eastern European foreboding! And proto-steampunk vibes! Improbably re-released for iOS!
posted by naju at 7:00 PM on September 24, 2013 [7 favorites]

If you like both Myst and Minecraft, check out Mystcraft, an MC mod that implements Age-writing, linking books, and so on. Excellent stuff.
posted by rifflesby at 7:21 PM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

Wow, twenty years? I remember what a pain in the butt it was to get it to run on my feeble Windows 3.1 box.
posted by octothorpe at 7:29 PM on September 24, 2013

If you're also fond of it, you might want to check out their new (!) game, Armikrog.

That looks like it could be amazing. Does the name imply a connection to the events of the original games, The Neverhood and Skullmonkeys?
posted by JHarris at 7:32 PM on September 24, 2013

Kairo is the most recent game I've played that feels a lot like a Myst game, except in an engine more like Quake 3 and leaving out all my least favorite parts of Myst games (weak writing, annoying actors, puzzles that too hard, clunky interface). It made me feel like I was exploring weird alien ruins in an Arthur C. Clarke novel.

It has a very minimalist, elegant design that creates surprisingly distinct and memorable places from very simple building blocks, environmental puzzles that don't require a bunch of note-taking or code-deciphering, and a very streamlined interface with no HUD, inventory, or even a "use" key.
posted by straight at 7:33 PM on September 24, 2013 [9 favorites]

(The Neverhood contains a gigantic backstory, involving weird gods and people and worlds, that Armikrog could very easily explore a different aspect of.)
posted by JHarris at 7:34 PM on September 24, 2013

Miasmata also feels a lot to me like a Myst game. You spend a lot of time wandering around a beautiful, deserted island, collecting flowers to study for possible pharmacological effects and trying to piece together what happened from the journals and maps that have been left behind. Except instead of puzzles, it has a nifty mapping mechanic that requires triangulation. It also has some elements of an action or survival game (but no guns).
posted by straight at 7:37 PM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

The toolset they used to create the original Myst were a standard Mac package, and after Myst was a huge success there was a flood of me-toos created using the same tool, with the same weaknesses -- using 640*480 8-bit graphics, and only playing one sound at a time -- which reflected the state of contemporary Mac hardware. (There were better machines, but they were only a small percentage, and the people designed for the majority.)

The toolset permitted creation of cross-platform games; it was an interpreter and there was a PC runtime system, and it used Quicktime, which had an adaptation for the PC. But the state-of-the-art for PCs at the time was 1024*768 24-bit graphics and multi-channel sound plus MIDI, and these games generally looked like shit on a PC. Worse, most of them were really uninspired; good writing could have redeemed the crappy toolset but mostly they didn't have decent writing, either.

I bought quite a few of them, but I don't remember any I thought were worth the money.

Demand for games of that genre eventually floored because people got tired of being ripped off. I eventually reached the point where I wouldn't buy anything that had either the Macromedia logo or the Quicktime logo.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:54 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

I liked the original Myst, and Riven (had to look up how to finish them both, though). And the Exile one was pretty good, featured the actor who played the doctor in Deadwood, and was a bit dark if I recall correctly. But the last one, Revelation or Revelations... I guess in the meantime I had become more of an interface snob, because dealing with idiosyncratic and inscrutable interfaces just irritated me, so I didn't get far with it. All of the Myst games are beautiful, though.
posted by marble at 8:03 PM on September 24, 2013

I want a modern mystlike game soooooooo bad.
posted by mrgroweler at 8:18 PM on September 24, 2013

There have been good ones, but all the ones I remember liking were built using other tools. I wholeheartedly recommend the following:

Under a Killing Moon
Zork: Nemesis
Zork: Grand Inquisitor
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:27 PM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

seriously what is with the gta stigma? yeah its theme may be somewhat craven but in terms of exploring and as a step beyond the world of myst i dont see how it can be beat. And the fact that I as a non game player (myst was an exception)I discovered this and enjoyed the hell out of it on a iphone4 hanging out in hospital waiting rooms makes it even more amazing to me.
posted by phoffmann at 8:27 PM on September 24, 2013

The game was a lot harder when the video doesn't work. No info from any of the pages worked on the family computer - we'd get occasional frames flashing in. We ended up getting a cheat book for the game because we didn't even know we were missing videos for weeks.
posted by maryr at 8:35 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Over the last year, I sort of immersed myself in the series and fiction, because I'm a huge nerd. I was shocked at how deep the meta-texts went, and the concerns and issues this strange multiverse presented. The Rand Clan and various teams involved in the iterations created some of the better ambient and very much introverted gaming around. Myst and its Manhole and other Apple II precursors created the genre, and I don't think anything else has touched it. Riven may be my highlight, but kudos to Myst IV (with Ubisoft doing some neat stuff without the Rands), V and Uru.

On the horizon, I'm curious to see Jon Blow's riff and personal exploration of the tropes with The Witness.

I think Myst stands complete, but tinkering around with the Oculus Rift has got me intrigued with the medium's potential.
posted by chainlinkspiral at 9:05 PM on September 24, 2013

The game was a lot harder when the video doesn't work.

And I thought I had it bad when the sound cut out on the piano puzzle on the rocketship.

And in all the trouble I had getting to Selenitic, getting back that first time was the worst. I didn't even notice the sound cues in the maze, so I attempted the left hand rule. 50-50 chance, and I got it exactly wrong, and ended up mapping out every single dead end in the age. Had I chosen right hand rule instead, I would have taken the shortest path to the exit.

On a different tangent I will say, I am quite fond of the RealMYST remake, even if the brothers Miller were disappointed in it themselves. While they felt it was a shameless marketing grab too soon on the heels of the Myst: Masterpiece Edition remake, I think the FPS-ification of it does add something. Unlocking the exploration of the island from the limited node pathing of the original pre-rendered hypercard stack, giving the player the chance to see things from any angle, adds to the immersion. Especially the little touches like adding a tie-in to the novels' storyline hidden away in a spot on the island you couldn't get to originally because it was off the path.

But my favorite part of RealMYST is the addition of proper endgame content as a reward for getting the correct ending. One last place of protection and one last linking book, seamlessly added to the world in such a way that it feels obvious that it's always been there, just waiting for you.
posted by radwolf76 at 9:11 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Damnit, I was going to do a Myst post. I guess I'll just leave this for people who liked the books: Myst: The Book of Atrus - A Graphic Novel Adaptation.

Oh, and Seltani, an online, shared, text-based, open-source fan project based on the Myst series of games. Still in development, but you can log in, explore, create ages, socialize.
posted by eruonna at 9:12 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the link, eruonna. I'm surprised that there haven't been more sequential art adaptations, but after the falling out that Cyan had with Dark Horse over the first issue of the failed 4 issue miniseries "Myst: The Book of the Black Ships" I guess that it just hasn't been on the franchise's radar much.
posted by radwolf76 at 9:20 PM on September 24, 2013

I have been beating myself up about Myst for the last twenty years. After begging my parents to get it for me and coaxing the laptop (in 1993!) to work with it, it turns out that I was too young and insufficiently stubborn for the game. The graphics were incredible and I remember just being blown away by the visuals, the music, the storyline of that game. I explored the whole island and sort of put a few pieces of the puzzle together but I never made it all work and I never got off that damn island. When other people would talk about their cool adventures, I would get so incredibly frustrated and angry. Naturally, this is a great mindset for trying to work through the puzzles on Myst.

Ultimately, my dad sent the laptop into his home office for an upgrade to Windows 95 and I moved on to MayaQuest--which was so totally my thing--and another game that I cannot remember the name of and cannot find on Google but it was totally fantastic and involved a girl my age trying to prevent a rocket from taking off (?) with history clues and time travel (?). Looking back, those two should have been my first clue about the history degree I'd go on to earn.

And still I have felt for years this weird self-imposed shame from never getting anywhere with Myst even though it looked like a tremendously exciting game and it's hard to convey how wildly frustrating it was to be stuck on the outside looking in--literally as far as the island was concerned--with that one. Not sure $5 is an even trade for 20 years of shame but that iOS port is tempting.
posted by librarylis at 9:29 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

IMO the Myst games were a lot more fun to play with a friend/teammate. Maybe you could find someone puzzle-minded to play with?
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:42 PM on September 24, 2013

IMO the Myst games were a lot more fun to play with a friend/teammate

For us, our times with the Myst series (the first three, up to Exile) were some of the best daddy/daughter times our family had together. A bit of friendly competition between us to see who could figure out the clues first, but mostly just cooperative exploration. Great memories for us all ...
posted by woodblock100 at 9:50 PM on September 24, 2013

I am quite fond of the RealMYST remake

I would go so far as to say that RealMYST should be considered the definitive version of Myst. Especially if you've ever played any kind of game where you use WASD and mouselook to get around.

I can't think of a single reason to prefer the original Myst other than nostalgia / historical interest or if you're just completely uncomfortable with first-person shooter controls.
posted by straight at 10:07 PM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

Very few seem to remember this game, but there's also the vastly underrated Gadget,

Addendum: R.I.P. Woodcutters From Fiery Ships, the 1999 adventure game that David Lynch was going to design with the creators of Gadget. What a missed opportunity!
posted by naju at 10:45 PM on September 24, 2013

...And... The Seventh Guest.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:22 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Thoughts from my childhood: The Journeyman Project 2: Buried In Time and Zork: Grand Inquisitor were gems. Lighthouse was theater jewelry: Not the real article, but fun to look at.
posted by belarius at 12:11 AM on September 25, 2013

I still have a nearly perfect condition copy of the short-lived hardback companion book "The Book of Atrus." I can't bear to ever part with it...
posted by mystyk at 4:12 AM on September 25, 2013

Great memories, great game but kinda weird to see this on what is predominantly a sports site.

Grantland also does movie, music, & culture reviews, so it's not all that surprising to me.
posted by Eyeveex at 6:32 AM on September 25, 2013

I want a beautifully made puzzle game, something like Myst.

Have you tried The Room for ipad? Similar solo atmospheres. Much simpler to solve, but fun, atmospheric, and beautiful.
posted by Theta States at 6:37 AM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

This genre needs to come back. The power of modern games to create beautiful scenery is stunning. As much fun as Bioshock Infinite (for example) was, it would have been an order of magnitude better if they dropped the gunplay and just made a world full of puzzles and lore.
posted by Wulfhere at 6:50 AM on September 25, 2013

If I had several million to throw around, I'd get this engine together with tools for players to build mechanisms, then put people into worlds with DF style problems and monsters to deal with and a "world heart" they have to defend.

Then when they inevitably die, empty the world of inhabitants, age it, and let other players explore. If they can work out the mechanisms and reach the heart, they get a randomly generated useful tool they can take with them into their next live run.
posted by lucidium at 7:05 AM on September 25, 2013

I have been beating myself up about Myst for the last twenty years. After begging my parents to get it for me and coaxing the laptop (in 1993!) to work with it, it turns out that I was too young and insufficiently stubborn for the game. The graphics were incredible and I remember just being blown away by the visuals, the music, the storyline of that game. I explored the whole island and sort of put a few pieces of the puzzle together but I never made it all work and I never got off that damn island. When other people would talk about their cool adventures, I would get so incredibly frustrated and angry. Naturally, this is a great mindset for trying to work through the puzzles on Myst.

librarylis, you are not alone in this. I looooooooooove the graphics and visuals of Myst. I bought tie-in novels. But I was just waaaaaaaaaaay too DUMB to be able to figure out the game. I got my dad to help and he couldn't either. I finally bought a cheat book to read how it was supposed to go.

This thread is kind of making me want to try again, but I have always been stupid at gaming and puzzles* any more complicated than Tetris or solitaire, and I strongly suspect I'd just end up unable to figure out how to get off the island AGAIN and just having a whopping case of moron deja vu.

* I have always strongly suspected that my parents not letting me have any gaming stuff that would have taken away the use of the TV from dad handicapped me compared to the rest of my generation.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:24 AM on September 25, 2013

I had watched my wife playing the Room on iPad recently and suggested Myst to her. Three days later she had finished it and was excitedly recounting the story for me. My former 7 year old self (who never had the patience to do much in Myst beyond randomly clicking on buttons) was super proud. It also makes me happy that it's the original Cyan guys still kicking along doing the iPad ports.
posted by Joe Chip at 7:58 AM on September 25, 2013

The power of modern games to create beautiful scenery is stunning
Which is also why a lot of Skyrim's success was based on exploring the world rather than its fighting systems that got old after a while.

Speaking of new exploration games...
posted by ersatz at 9:34 AM on September 25, 2013

Myst was the first computer game I played. I would spend hours on that game and it seemed as if minutes had gone by.
My husband had been gaming for some time and borrowed a copy of Myst from a friend. I saw it over his shoulder and was interested. Hubby still fondly recounts the tale of him bringing me tea and a sandwich and me distractedly saying thanks while he crept away. Hours later the tea was cold and the sandwich dried out.
Sigh, such good memories.
posted by Gadgetenvy at 9:54 AM on September 25, 2013

So I'd love to let my kids explore Myst. Does anyone know if the iPad version is a faithful reproduction?

Yep, it's a good port. I had a ball playing it. I'm going to do Riven right away.

Incidentally, if you can find a copy, the Riven soundtrack is pretty good ambient music for focus while you're working. I've used it a bunch on earbuds in the office to block out other people. Plus it's cool to start work every day with the sound of a linking book.
posted by middleclasstool at 10:09 AM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

Enjoyed this line from the Grantland link:

". . . Myst required little more than your eyes, your ears, and a healthy sense of curiosity.

And that's the most important mark it made. Myst arrived before most home PCs had Internet connections; it was one of the first faraway worlds in which you could get lost from the comfort of your swivel chair. Without Myst there's no Grand Theft Auto V or Assassin's Creed — but I'd also argue that there's no late-night bottomless Wikipedia rabbit hole."

posted by meadowlark lime at 11:59 AM on September 25, 2013

Myst was the game that opened the door to being a computer guy for me. My dad was an early adopter and I'd grown up with a series of Apple IIs and early Macs but my brother was the computer guy in the family, always playing Falcon, and Dark Castle and trying to write BASIC. As the younger brother, I'd assist him on games from time to time, but didn't have any innate interest.

Then in Late '93 or early '94, I was hanging out at the local punk-enclave-house, and one of the guys had a sweet color mac with a brand new copy of Myst. I was instantly hooked. There were three of us, and between our low responsibilities and part time jobs, we managed to work a 24-hour shift system, with lots of overlap. We'd catch each other up on any significant developments or uncrackable puzzles and write down our latest theories. The other kids in the house began to worry about us, and would stop by from time to time, often with food. It was a blissful couple of weeks.

Once we'd finished it. We cast around for something else to keep us occupied, and we fell on SimCity. Developing megacities and then destroying them didn't keep our attention nearly as long and we gradually went back to real life. But those two games were instrumental in making me realize that you could make beautiful things on a computer..and I've been a graphic designer, and simulation specialist for urban environmental impacts for more than a decade. Funny how things can affect you.

Tonight, I'm going to start Myst all over again, but my partner this time will be my teenage daughter. I can't wait for 5pm.
posted by gofargogo at 2:20 PM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

I will say I eventually beat Myst (I think when I bought realMyst), but Riven completely mystified me; I eventually used a walkthrough (like 8 years later) just so I could see what happened. I played Mysts 3 and 5 as well, but they were way easier than Myst or Riven were.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 3:48 AM on September 26, 2013

I grabbed RealMYST for iPad based on this thread. I was certainly part of the target market back in the day, and had a copy, but I never got that far into it.

The implementation of a full 3D world is a bad call, in my opinion. It makes a fairly slow game move even slower, draws attention away from where it needs to be, and allows the exciting possibility of moving past the button you needed to press.
posted by Legomancer at 7:04 AM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Sorry, I wasn't thinking of touch-screens when I recommended RealMyst. I can imagine the original version would fit much better with that interface.

With a mouse and keyboard, RealMYST is faster than the original. It's much easier not to miss a button because you so easily walk around and look at everything from multiple perspectives.
posted by straight at 8:41 AM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Y'all convinced me to buy Myst for iOS (even though there's a free version!). My 4 has too many apps on it at the moment (oh Badland--so awesome and yet so space hungry) but I'll get it sorted. If anyone's looking for a Myst buddy, send me a MeMail. Twenty years ago, who would have guessed at how Myst would be played in the future?
posted by librarylis at 8:36 PM on October 6, 2013

I was going to buy Myst for Ipad last weekend, but then discovered there was a new ipad-only Kingdom Rush game...
posted by Theta States at 5:54 AM on October 7, 2013

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