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: Myst (PC)

The Mediocrity of Myst

From one gamer to another this is what I hear, “Myst is the game that killed the adventure genre, and for that, I can never forgive it.”

Putting this in the back of my mind I try to remember what drew me to this game those few years ago... In the early days of Windows and CD-ROM, a home concocted game was launched that altered the face of gaming for good. Myst wowed people with amazingly meticulous graphics, and took adventuring into the first-person. The game sold millions, in addition to selling millions of CD-ROM drives. Myst became apparently the most flourishing computer game of the era (Until The Sims exceeded its sales in 2002). Pretty soon, everyone was playing adventures, and as per usual, Myst clones cropped up in batches each and every week never to be remembered again.

And to some, that was the end of adventure gaming. Pretty soon, adventure games became not concerned with characters or with interaction, but with the journeying of appealing landscapes.

Graphically, Myst was an enormous leap to the fore. People left wondering whether or not their SVGA cards were ever going to be appropriate for anything more than Links golf games were treated with the most optimum graphics ever seen on the screen at that point in time. Myst proved that it was possible to produce photorealistic renderings of distant worlds. In this admiration, Myst was a triumph.

But, what Myst had in technical wonder, it lacked in game-play. In actual fact, Myst was a slideshow, in the midst of little narrative, and incredibly little interaction with anything besides machines and levers. Instead of offering story or interaction, the summit was that you were to figure out what to do in this silent world by means of trial-and-error. People saw this as a strong point, but when you get down to it, it essentially freed designers from having to craft a narrative.

And suddenly I have this annoying voice in my head screaming, but wait � Myst had a story! All be this true, however it came in a shoddy form that would turn into one of the most irritating features of modern adventures: this being that the story was laid out in books. Many a volume of texts... In short � Why go to the effort of creating characters or even dialogue, when you can hammer out all the details into a book? It was a horrible standard that regrettably has been emulated far too many times.

Basically, the “story line” is, you must save an imprisoned inventor and explorer (Atrus). (Along with his two sons whom are imprisoned along with him), and it’s your job (if you wish) to free him.
To do so, you meander around the island. Myst (the island) is made up of various sections. In each section you will need to find two pages. You will convey these back to the central location, and give each page to the respective book that requires it.

The tale is okay, but not great. However the problem being, it won’t drive you to want to finish the game. You are unable to die in the game (until the very end), eliminating a lot of the anticipation when you journey through the darker areas that should be scary.

Along the way you'll have to solve puzzles to get to the book pages. Herein lies another problem - there are just about NO clues around. Getting through the game is pretty much a test of common sense and trial and error. So unfortunately not much skill at all is required to play this game.

The ending

The game has several endings, depending on the player's actions. (dun dun duuun)
- If you give either Sirrus or Achenar the final page of their book, it causes the Stranger to switch places with the son, leaving the player trapped inside the Prison book.
- Linking to D'ni without the page that Atrus asks for leaves both the Stranger and Atrus trapped on D'ni.
- Linking to D'ni with the page allows Atrus to complete his Myst book and return to the island. On returning to the library, the red and blue books are gone, leaving only burn marks behind (MYST-erious).

So whichever way you play this game, the ending will result in unanswered questions as well as added confusion. Lame.

Ranted by Jasmine

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