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Myst

From Academic Kids

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Myst
Myst box cover
Developer(s) Cyan, Inc.
Publisher(s) Brøderbund
Release date(s) 1993-09-24
Genre Graphic adventure
Mode(s) Single player
Rating(s) ESRB: Teen (NR)
Platform(s) Mac OS, PC, PlayStation, Jaguar

Myst is a graphic adventure computer game created by the brothers Robyn and Rand Miller. It was developed by Cyan, Inc., a Spokane, Washington based studio, and published and distributed by Brøderbund. The Millers began working on Myst in 1991 and released it on 1993-09-24.

Contents

Accomplishments

Myst has sold over 12 million copies and held the title of best-selling computer game of all time throughout much of the 1990s. Its popularity led to the following:

Myst was the spark for a new genre, the first-person adventure-puzzle game. The games that followed this genre are often referred to by both fans and non-fans as "Myst clones".

Development

The game was created entirely on Apple Macintosh computers, especially Quadra models. The entire game was essentially a very large, color HyperCard stack, with each card consisting of a three-dimensionally rendered scene. The game was ported to Microsoft Windows in 1994.

Gameplay

Myst Island seen from above
Myst Island seen from above

The gameplay of Myst consists of a first-person journey through an interactive world. The player moves the character by clicking at the outside border of the game display and can interact with specific objects on some screens by clicking or dragging them. Unlike some computer games, there are no enemies or threat of "dying" or a "game over" event. The only competition is the player versus the puzzles presented in the game. To complete the game, the player must discover and follow clues to be transported via books to several Ages, each of which is a self-contained mini-world. Once traveling through the Ages of Myst, Selenitic, Stoneship, Mechanical, and Channelwood, the player would return to the starting point of the game, Myst Island, with all the information necessary to complete the game. For those less patient, this information could be obtained from an outside source and the game objective could be completed in a matter of minutes.

According to the creators, the game's name, as well as the overall solitary and mysterious atmosphere of the island, was inspired from the book Mysterious Island by Jules Verne.

Story

Under obscure circumstances, a mysterious person known as the Stranger (the player) finds an unusual book entitled 'Myst'. Opening the book, the stranger discovers that the first page is occupied by a single moving image, or linking panel. The picture shows a flyby of an island. Touching this panel, the stranger is transported to that island and is left with no choice but to explore.

Myst Island contains a library where two books can be found; a red book, and a blue book. These books are traps for Sirrus and Achenar, two men who claim to be the sons of Atrus. Atrus is the mysterious and powerful owner of Myst Island who could write special books ("linking books") by an ancient practice known as The Art, which would literally transport the user to the worlds, or "Ages", that they described. From the linking panels of their books, Sirrus and Achenar plead to the stranger to let them escape. However, the books are missing several pages, so their messages are faint and unclear at first.

As the stranger further explores the island, he or she discovers more books hidden behind complex mechanisms and puzzles. There are four books in total, each linking to a different world or Age. The stranger must visit each Age, find the red and blue pages hidden in that age, and then return to Myst.

Those pages can then be placed in either the red or blue book. The more pages the stranger adds to these books, the clearer the brothers can speak. After collecting four pages, the brothers can talk clearly enough to tell the stranger where the fifth page is hidden. If the stranger gives either brother their fifth page, they will be free. The Stranger is left with a choice. Should he or she help Sirrus or Achenar? Or neither?

The worlds of Myst are full of hints of the dark past, where a horrible tale of greed and plunder took place. The Stranger must piece together these hints to discover the true nature of Sirrus and Achenar.

Ages

As the player explores the game, he or she discovers four linking books, books that allow a person to link to the worlds that the books describe. The Art of Writing was practiced by the D'ni, an ancient civilization who lived in a large underground cavern.

The game includes the following 'Ages':

  • Myst Island, the starting Age. This island remains the central 'hub' Age throughout the plot.
  • Channelwood Age
  • Stoneship Age
  • Selenitic Age
  • Mechanical Age
  • Rime Age, found only as a special bonus at the end of realMYST
  • D'ni, later revealed to be only a small part of D'ni proper

See Ages of Myst for descriptions.

Remakes

Myst: Masterpiece Edition

Myst: Masterpiece Edition was an updated version of Myst with re-rendered images in true color (million colors) instead of 256, newly rendered point-of-view images, better audio effects and music, a hint system, and maps.

realMYST

realMyst box cover
Enlarge
realMyst box cover

realMyst: Interactive 3D Edition was a re-make of the Myst computer game featuring various changes over the original:

  • Graphics were rendered by the real-time 3D Plasma engine also later used (in an improved version) in Uru: Ages Beyond Myst
  • Navigation provided vastly more freedom due to the above
  • Weather effects like thunderstorms and sunsets/sunrises were added
  • Some minor changes to the main Age (Myst Island), like the addition of a gravestone for Ti'ana, adjusted the gameplay to the Myst novels and sequels
  • Rime as a new Age was added and loosely tied into the storyline

realMyst was developed by Cyan, Inc. and Sunsoft, and published by Ubisoft and regarded by some as a test project for the then-in development Uru: Ages Beyond Myst. The game went out-of-print within a short period of time, and it is now very rare and fetches top dollar on auction sites.

Parodies and Fan Games

  • Pyst was produced in the wake of Myst's success. Featuring a satirized version of the Myst universe, the game was notable for featuring a performance by John Goodman. Although nothing more than slideshow of desecrated Myst screenshots, it was popular enough to spawn "Pyst: Special Edition," which included a preview of "Driven: The Sequel to Pyst," which never saw the light of day as creator Parroty Interactive went bankrupt.
    • In 2004, a Parroty Interactive fan began making "ReallyPYST," a Hyperstudio-based recreation of "Pyst" that would've allowed click-based movement to match the style of the original "Myst" games. However, the project was delayed indefinitely after only a few new screen renders were completed, each involving the inside of the Pyst Library.
  • Missed is a text-based (and thus somewhat confusing) online game in which you must free a player hopelessly lost on the Internet.
  • Mylk, produced by Bart Gold (PC version by Wayne Twitchell), is a parody based on dairy products and other foodstuffs.
  • "Writers of D'ni" is a Telnet-based MOO that has faded in and out of existence since the mid-1990's. The text-based game allows both guests and members to move throughout the world of D'ni, talk amongst each other, and even create their own ages. However, a recent temporary closing of the MOO obliterated many of the user-created aspects, leaving many of the older members out in the cold.
  • http://www.agesofilathid.com the Ages of Ilathid - a Myst-like fangame developped by an international team of dedicated fans.

External links

Official websites

In the media - articles, reviews and interviews

Fan sites

Gathering sites

fr:Myst nl:Myst zh:神秘岛

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