Eurogamer Retro: Myst

By John Walker on November 22nd, 2010 at 11:05 am.

I hate Myst.

A hundred years ago, when I first started out writing reviews for PC Gamer, I was sent the adventure games. This was partly because I knew a lot about adventure games, but mostly because they were far more likely to be awful. And everyone hates me. Which meant I suffered at the hands of Myst. Myst, a game more tedious than being shown someone’s photographs after they’ve been on holiday to Swindon, spawned so many copycat pre-rendered mechanical-puzzled miseryfests. And sure, while they paid my rent, my loathing grew and grew. You may have played Myst when it first game out, and in your youthful naivety mistook it for something not purest evil, but I’ll bet you didn’t play Dracula: Resurrection, Jerusalem: The 3 Roads To The Holy Land, or Arthur’s Knights 2. Or Schizm: The Mysterious Journey. Or The Secret of Nautilus. Or The New Adventures Of The Time Machine. Or The Watchmaker. Anyway, the point being, I’ve written a retro of the original Myst for Eurogamer. Choice quote below.

Good grief, I hate stinking Myst. And I hate anyone who likes it. I hate you, and your ghastly taste. If this was good enough – if this was what you wanted from gaming – then I hope the litany of miserable clone games that destroyed the joy of adventuring has made you very happy. Every time I receive a game to review that requires me to read its entire plot from a digital pile of horribly written “books”, I turn and look at you with such piteous contempt that your mothers want to disown you.

Seriously, this is the game that made it okay for developers to think, “Nah, screw telling a story, let’s just make the player pick it all up from our handwriting-font-printed virtual novels. It’ll be much easier to excuse a collection of meaningless, unconnected puzzles if there’s a book about flying cats or something. And a diary. No, wait, 18 diaries. 18 diaries filled with pages and pages of our purplest prose, in which one paragraph of information somewhat relates to a puzzle 15 locations away. That’s narrative.”

I hate Myst.

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165 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    Kirrus says:

    Myst IV was awesome.

    • John Walker says:

      No it wasn’t.

    • Xocrates says:

      Myst IV was extremely silly.

      Riven was awesome.

    • Xercies says:

      I loved Myst 4 as well, the world building, the atmosphere, the really tactile feel you get for just tapping on things and pulling levers. i just couldn’t get past it because the puzzles were so hard…and LOGIC! AH!

    • Ira says:

      Riven was awesome, it injected some story into the games. I’m a sucker for puzzle games and Riven was the shiz.

    • ShadowNate says:

      Riven was very good, BUT it did suffer from the “hand-written” diaries syndrome, some of which were almost impossible to read. And also at least the original version had some mouse clicking bugs in (two) very critical locations.

    • Premium User Badge

      Devan says:

      I also like Riven, and I never really minded all the handwritten-book-reading either. It felt kind of like being an archaeologist uncovering the incomplete and long-abandoned thoughts and machinations of earlier explorers, and rediscovering the same challenges that they had struggled with earlier. I think that was the intent, and I preferred interacting with the environment in those games rather than with people. My brother and I kept a paper notebook near the computer where we would draw pictures and write down hints for later.

      To me, the story simply provided context for the puzzles, and the real meat of the game was the mental exercise and feeling of accomplishment.

  2. Mike says:

    So. 7/10?

  3. Memphis-Ahn says:

    I think someone secretly hates videogames.

  4. Meat Circus says:

    JOHN’S WORD IS LAW.

  5. Beach Head says:

    B-b-b-but it’s on GOG.com!

    I mean, it has to be good!

    All I can remember about anything Myst is that I got my Pops Riven and he never played it.
    I tried to play it but got lost and bored after I talked to some FMV person hiding in a pod house.
    And there were pipes or something.

  6. Spoiler Duck says:

    Haha. I remember reading PCGamer and nearly every review or feature* had some dig at Myst. I came very much to the conclusion that I must be weird for liking it. Ignore my issues with sexual orientation, MYST was my secret in the closet.

    I get why you don’t like the game, John. I really do. I get why it is very easy to also to dismantle this game at the academic level (both in narrative and ludic). I could never construct a well-written argument for Myst’s existence other than perhaps its fantastic world-building, something that was never quite executed on well enough in the immediate, hence those poorly written books you despise.

    But damnit, John; I love Myst. And it’s sequels even more so. Take your stinking, bile-filled sham of a retrospective elsewhere and leave me be!
    (Or, y’know, don’t because it’s your website and all)

    *Exaggeration. Just not as exaggerated as one would think.

  7. Neil says:

    “spawned so many copycat pre-rendered mechanical-puzzled miseryfests”

    Like Return to Zork and The 7th Guest?

    • Collic says:

      The 7th guest was creepy with some titillation thrown in. The actual puzzles , the gameplay itself was just as tedious. Not as bad as Myst, but certainly not fun to actually play either.

    • John Walker says:

      7th Guest was rubbish. Let’s not forget that. It certainly had novelty value, but for all its tech and swooping cameras, you were still dividing a cake up so it had the same number of graves per segment.

    • Om says:

      You take that back John Walker. 7th Guest was a classic and shouldn’t be faulted just for being a puzzle game with a bit of acting thrown in

    • John Walker says:

      That’s a strong use of the world “acting”.

    • vanarbulax says:

      Oh god, Return to Zork.

      OH GOD! THE BONDING PLANT!

      And that stupid house breaking into thing.

      Only upside (upside?) is “want some rye? ‘Course you do!” is quoted by my family at random intervals until eternity.

      EDIT: And that’s through rose-tinted glasses, watching segments on youtube shows how a six-year-old’s brain can embellish that world to have looked somewhat believable and coherent.

    • Pseudonym says:

      For a second there I was getting all indignant and ready to defend Return to Zork, but then Vanarbulax mentioned that rye line, and I realised you’re talking about the crap game a friend of mine had, and not the brilliant Zork: Grand Inquisitor.

      So, I guess what I’m saying is: carry on.

    • Birdman Tribe Leader says:

      Hey! I love Return to Zork! But okay… its puzzles are completely ridiculous. The acting is rather silly (endearing???). The graphics are maybe not as impressive as i thought at age 8 or whatever.

      I guess I played it at a young enough age that it was easy for me to have a sense of mystery and wonder. And that I still found it challenging and exciting even with the hintbook on my lap the whole time.

      But I wasn’t so naive as to not realize that it was Myst that ruined adventure games, not Doom. Even a child can realize that interacting with characters and trying to solve problems in a world is not the same as pushing gears and levers around and never speaking to anyone.

      Syberia suffered from the Mystification of adventure games. Even the Longest Journey a tiny bit (anyone remember the underwater chapter?)

    • Shadram says:

      I’ll say this about The 7th Guest: At least it was better than The 11th Hour. God, that game was awful. Me and my mates at the time played through it in the hope of boobage, and were sorely disappointed. It was an 18, and still no boobs! Not much gore, either, which makes me wonder if it was the same version the BBFC reviewed…

    • Hippo says:

      “It certainly had novelty value, but for all its tech and swooping cameras, you were still dividing a cake up so it had the same number of graves per segment.”

      Ah, so kind of like a fancy version of Puzzle Agent, then.

  8. Collic says:

    Myst. I played a demo of this back in the day. No other game has simultaneously made me feel stupid and bored me shitless at the same time. If I was a little older I would have recognised it was the game that was awful, not my cognitive skills. Thank god these died.

  9. MarkSide says:

    The world can be such a tragic place.

    Now I understand what Starship Titanic was a bit better, I think…

  10. Shazbut says:

    I liked Myst V very much

  11. Premium User Badge

    sockeatsock says:

    I loved riven. Myst was so-so, but Riven blew me away. Very few games make beautiful worlds to explore. Instead we get all these ugly, war torn landscapes. Bah! Give me some surreal fun any day.

  12. Emperor_Jimmu says:

    I was very confused when I eventually got round to playing Myst. In my youthful naivety I had somehow got the impression that it was a video game. It came as quite a surprise to discover that the it was actually just a series of screenshots of a horribly rendered fields interlaced with horribly realised puzzles.

  13. Jonathan says:

    I did play Schism, so there. My wife is totally into this genre, for some reason. I’ve suffered through a number of them.

  14. Om says:

    Never got into Myst. But the strategy guide was enough of a (surprisingly) good read that I always wanted to

  15. Handsome Dead says:

    Myst is real bad. Adventure games are real bad.

    It’s a waste of a good world to explore.

    I like the idea of adventure games (the ones that were about exploring interesting places, not the gabriel knight bullshit), it’s just that they’re made by people with no grasp of empathy.

    “Wait, everyone in the universe knows about baseball, right?”

    • Stu says:

      “Wait, everyone in the universe knows about baseball, right?”

      Zork II, yeah?

  16. IAMJETHRO says:

  17. fuggles says:

    When do you retrospectively ponder the last express?

  18. Meat Circus says:

    To all those people thinking of saying they liked Myst in a comment: remember that John will have your IP, and will TRACK YOU DOWN.

    • Thants says:

      No, no. A banner ad once warned me that my computer was broadcasting an IP address, so I got that sorted out by installing their helpful software. BUYUGGBOOTSFORLESS

  19. MadTinkerer says:

    I liked Myst because it was a decent start at the time. At the time there was just one puzzle I couldn’t solve on my own (I’m slightly tone-deaf so the piano puzzle was literally impossible for me), and despite some very slow parts, I mostly enjoyed it.

    Although it may have invented the Ponderous First Person Adventure Game genre, and possibly accidentally invented the market for “casual” games in the process, in terms of actual gameplay Myst paled in comparison to the point & clickers and 7th Guest. The graphics were great at the time, and despite being mostly comprised of still pictures, were incredibly atmospheric. The puzzles were all over the place, however, ranging from too easy to unreasonably obscure to the aforementioned literally-impossible one.

    Riven was the first Myst game that was actually good (though the final Riven puzzle was ridiculous).

    EDIT: “Seriously, this is the game that made it okay for developers to think, “Nah, screw telling a story, let’s just make the player pick it all up from our handwriting-font-printed virtual novels. It’ll be much easier to excuse a collection of meaningless, unconnected puzzles if there’s a book about flying cats or something. And a diary. No, wait, 18 diaries. 18 diaries filled with pages and pages of our purplest prose, in which one paragraph of information somewhat relates to a puzzle 15 locations away. That’s narrative.””

    Really? There were a five very short readable books in the central Myst library: the entire text of each of them was comprised of puzzle clues. It’s not Myst’s fault that the other developers missed the point completely.

    “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. ”

    Right, because practically everyone was able to come up with a Quake clone in 1993, and everyone who couldn’t owned a computer that could run it smoothly. Oh wait, at least one of us is confusing 1993 with 1998.

    “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.”

    You’re right. Sierra and Lucasarts and Infocom never did anything like that before Myst. Especially Sierra.

    • Dain says:

      Reading all that stuff about mechanical puzzles, you have to wonder if John actually played the game for this retrospective or if he just dug out all the stuff he wrote while hating for PC gamer and joined it all together? Cos I played RealMyst again fairly recently after a very long time and what struck me was how easy all the puzzles were. Even the mazerunner which I remember flummoxing me when I was young proved no obstacle. I’ll always cherish the memories of playing this series with my grandad though.

      It’s odd though. If something similar was released as an indie game today, a world where you had to work the narrative out for yourself and use environmental clues to solve puzzles.. well.

    • Clovis says:

      I’ve always liked the mechanical puzzles. Having to figure them out based on clues scattered acrosst he entire game isn’t the coolest, but I like having to figure out what all the levers/buttons do, and then figuring out how to move forward.

      I enjoyed Myst, but was annoyed that it was SO popular when there were many much better adventure games out there.

    • DrGonzo says:

      @Dain

      Escape the room games are released every 5 minutes now and they are pretty much the same thing as Myst.

  20. Robert says:

    Dear Mister John Walker,

    Would you marry me?

    • John Walker says:

      Of course.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hodge says:

      Damn, just beat me to it. Maybe we could share him?

    • Leelad says:

      I hate MYST too. Lets all buy a house together.

    • Skusey says:

      Then make a sitcom about it so we can all enjoy the fun.

    • Pantsman says:

      I love Myst. Love, love, love it. So there. RealMyst, the full-3D remake, was even better. So there, Mr. Walker. Why don’t you go cuddle up with your mint boxed copy of TLJ, have a good cry, and leave the rest of us to our fun?

  21. Gassalasca says:

    I think John’s just going all Qunns-meets-New-Vegas on us.

    I bet Myst is one of his favourite games of all time.

  22. Dain says:

    I like Myst :)

  23. zipdrive says:

    I also love you, John.
    Myst was the first CD game I owned, and perhaps the first game I ever bought (meaning it wasn’t bought for me) and I found the whole thing stupid and annoying,
    For years I couldn’t understand why it was considered such a classic and why it sold so many copies, but it appears I was simply reading the wrong magazines.

    Fuck Myst and its incoherent, illogical, slow puzzles.

    • Clovis says:

      Slow, yes, but Myst was hardly incomprehensible or illogical. It wasn’t really even difficult at all, was it? As someone mentioned already, Riven does have some pretty crazy puzzles.

    • DrGonzo says:

      If your not a boring fuck it was hard. It’s just so unbelievably mind numbing and tedious that it’s impossible to concentrate on any of the puzzles. Plus it looks like shit and was never pretty. I remember thinking it was bloody ugly back in the day.

  24. Babs says:

    Myst is the video game equivalent of those board games that come with a VCR tape that you watch segments of at various points during the game. It’s what you get when you merge a terrible game, a terrible film and a terrible game into one piece of media that manages to be even more terrible than the sum of it’s parts.

    I don’t like Myst either, in case you hadn’t guessed.

  25. Premium User Badge

    Aquarion says:

    To quote Monkey Island 3: Myst is pretty, but egad is it dull.

    I recently finished RealMyst because, apparently, I really do hate to use time productively. The final video didn’t fire, so I can only assume that nobody has ever actually reported this as a bug, because I’m the only person to ever get that far.

    I did read the novels. This makes me sad, because the novels describe an interesting concept for a fantasy universe, which could support a series of games of infinite variety and interest and really make a decent commentary on the game nature of games in the same way that Bioshock so nearly did.

    Worlds where the entire world is described in script form by book and then visited by other people? There is so much metagame potential in there it could be great. Instead, it’s a series of “Think like the designer” puzzles never more complicated than an advanced sodding Powerpoint presentation.

    So yes, I also hate myst, but not for what it is, but for what it wasted.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Is it pretty? Really? I think it looks and looked like pants. It has that horrible 90s CGI look that looked dated even when it came out. Planescape Torment is pretty, Myst looks like a bland screensaver.

    • Ozzie says:

      Maybe he talks about RealMyst regarding the prettiness.

  26. Howard says:

    Lol!
    Your hatred of Myst and its ilk goes a long way to making up for your appalling taste in racing games, Mr Walker. Bravo!

  27. AukonDK says:

    I never got off the main island, that is until they finally made Real Myst and I could actually navigate the damn place! It was quite easy after that.

  28. Dean says:

    Myst had a decent world and a fascinating core concept (writing books creates worlds) which almost justified the text based diaries… the puzzles were pretty awful, however.

    Riven on the other hand, same brilliant world, but bigger, more cohesive, and with a stunningly beautiful puzzle structure. Ruined by a shitty interface that made those lovely puzzles headache inducing. The point of Riven was building a knowledge of how the islands interconnected and worked together. Which would have been fun in free-roaming 3D. Not so much in static-view slideshow mode.

    I still think an RealRiven, along the lines of RealMyst, would lead to some real re-evalution of that game, as I think freed from the awful constraints of the interface it’s one of the best and most fully realised worlds in gaming.

    • Deccan says:

      Yes! This was the great strength of Riven, and I was a bit disappointed that it was the only game in the series to do this. To this day it remains my favourite.

  29. Premium User Badge

    P7uen says:

    Deus Ex without guns?

    I liked it, yes I was young and naive and it was my first game ever, but it drew me in and wouldn’t let me go until I finished it.

    It taught me you can get immersed in something, that games can have a story, and that you can use your brain to get somewhere, even if most of the puzzles were unimaginably obtuse.

  30. Premium User Badge

    Oozo says:

    “I mean, sure, adventure games up until that point were asking you to make logical choices, or solve inventory puzzles with lateral thinking…”

    USE rubber chicken with a pulley in the middle ON cable.

    Come to think of it, that one was pretty lateral/logical compared to some other puzzles of the era…

  31. Navagon says:

    I’ve never played Myst or been inclined to. Suffice to say this sums up exactly the way I’d expect to feel about this game if I did choose to play it.

  32. Urael says:

    Myst seems to be the most divisive game out there: everyone has an opinion and it’s mostly either teeth-shaving loathing or gushing adulation. Here’s Wot I think.

    Myst is a game I love to play – a world I love to inhabit. I love the whole series, actually (well maybe not 3) but am a bit tired of hearing people constantly bash them, PC Gamer included, but then celebrating crap like The Path, Super Boring MeatBoy, Speclunky or *gasp* Eve Online, possibly the dullest experience a gamer can have (sorry, Jim, but you know it’s true. Stop pretending). Most of the games in the Myst series do a fabulous job of creating evocative digital spaces using only a few pre-rendered scenes and some hand-picked audio so it comes off as pure subjective snobbery to pull out and display the rude guts of these games’ problems – and I’ll admit there are many – but ignore their beautiful alabaster successes. It’s also really rude. So you hate Myst? Fine. Then why not forgo the retrospective and let someone who DOES enjoy it pen some words? THAT would make a refreshing bloody change to read! I hate X-Factor with a fiery passion but lots of my Facebook friends apparently enjoy it, and delight in posting the least little opinion. However you don’t see me writing articles for their enjoyment about how crushingly bad it is (Not that I’m not tempted…!) .

    Finally, after all the calls on this website to bring gamers of all flavours together and forget the stupid, counter-productive wars about Consoles, Macs, Indie-love or whatever, launching scathing attacks on games beloved by many smacks of rank hypocrisy.

    • Shazbut says:

      ….Wait, you don’t like Spelunky?

      I’m sure that was a mistake. Quick, edit it. No-one will notice.

    • Berzee says:

      Two things.

      One: is there lots of articles about how Myst is terrible on rockpapershotgun that have escaped my notice?

      Two:

      Myst,
      The Path,
      Super Meat Boy,
      Spelunky,
      and Eve Online.
      9_6

  33. Irish Al says:

    You know Uncle Ben’s curry sauces – curry for people too shit and weedy for proper curry? Myst is the gaming equivalent of that.

  34. Carter says:

    One of the funnier retrospectives, was nice to read an article that wasn’t tipped towards the authors always somewhat rose-tinted memory of the game and instead danced around in scathing hate – good for a chuckle, really enjoyed it.

  35. Professor Paul1290 says:

    As much as I like Myst series, I don’t really play nor like the original much anymore. I like every other Myst game a lot more than Myst and that includes Uru and Myst V, both which a lot of other Myst fans seem to hate. I’m not entirely sure why, but something about the first game really irritates me and I always never make it all the way through or skip it entirely when playing the series start to finish.

  36. TJF588 says:

    Another remindering RSS feed post: Still haven’t booted up my GOG copy of Myst. Then again, there’re many games I haven’t rightly gotten to playing yet.

  37. Urthman says:

    Andrew Plotkin explains why you’re wrong better than I could:

    http://www.eblong.com/zarf/gamerev/realmyst.html

    see also

    http://www.eblong.com/zarf/gamerev/riven.html
    http://www.eblong.com/zarf/gamerev/myst3.html
    http://www.eblong.com/zarf/gamerev/myst4.html

    The Myst story is weak, but the world building is fantastic, and the puzzles are so much more fun to solve than the stupid use/combine-everything-with-everything inventory puzzles you get in the LucasArts-style games. And the decision to just get rid of characters is so much more immersive than worlds full of idiot robots that can speak 4 sentences.

  38. DRoseDARs says:

    I LITERALLY just finished Myst 5, like 10 minutes ago. That was… awful. I enjoyed Uru, and Riven was ok too (the rivencoaster was awesome, its Uru counterpart wasn’t as awesome), but yeah Myst was tedious and 5 was way worse. Pretty to look at, but damn was that game dull. I wanted to kill Escher everytime that blowhard appeared on my screen. What an unecessary element having him show up and drone on every few stages. And would someone PLEASE give Emo Yeesha a valium? I don’t want to try to explain to a Bahro what “hesitation” marks are and why she keeps getting them. And the ending, what a fraking letdown. All that buildup across 5 games, and all I get is a background picture of the new D’ni? I can’t even walk around on the balcony overlooking the valley it’s in? I had more freedom of movement in the tiny fraking ice cave. What a rip. Outrageously terrible way to end the series.

    I haven’t played 3 or 4 yet, so I can’t comment on them.

    • Deccan says:

      The series is very dear to my heart, and I agree that V was a bit shit. Look, a desert island! Never seen one of those before. Hey, this iceberg is pretty cool, I wonder if- oh, it contains literally a single easy puzzle. Way too many Impassable Knee-High Wall type puzzles. The writing mechanic was used far too often as a puzzle substitute. And yes, both Esher and Yeesha deserved a good shaking.
      Todelmer, Direbo and Noloben were visually impressive, but overall…yeah, a bit shit.

  39. Kryopsis says:

    “Myst is shit and everyone who likes it is an absolute idiot with a deeply-seated hatred of video games, blah-blah-blah.” Walker is being paid for this. What’s your excuse?

    I very much enjoyed Myst once I was older and less impatient. I liked the lack of an introduction and the melancholy of these abandoned, curious places. While the story wasn’t particularly complex, it was sufficient to stimulate my curiosity. I remember Myst mainly for its atmosphere: the ethereal music and sound effects, the arcane contraptions, the minimalist interface and menus that do not get in the way of enjoyment.
    While Walker is entitled to his opinion, I liked Myst.

  40. kastanok says:

    I haven’t looked at Myst since fumbling with it as a pre-teen.We got it free with a new PC, our first I think. The way I remember it, I enjoyed the peace and wonder of wandering around and only completed any of the puzzles through trial and error. I assumed at the time that this was because I was just too young to understand the logic behind them. And even then I recognised the acting was utter shit.

    It was still far better than Labyrinth of Time, which I can only imagine my family picked up because I mistook it as having some connection to Jim Henson’s Labyrinth film.

    EDIT: *Spots a caption* Oy, Lost Eden was brilliant. It had dinosaurs, what more do you want? But seriously, best music there has been in a game.

    • Birdman Tribe Leader says:

      Hey! I liked Labyrinth of Time too! Not as much as Return to Zork, but…

      Wait a second, I think I’m just a sucker for shit adventure games from that era.

  41. Old Sam says:

    “18 diaries filled with pages and pages of our purplest prose, in which one paragraph of information somewhat relates to a puzzle 15 locations away. That’s narrative”

    You mean like The Longest Journey?

    • Berzee says:

      Now *there* is a game that I played all the way through without a laugh, a smile, a pang of sadness, or anything but confusion how it inspired all the accolades. But I think I was crabby when I was playing that, so who knows? It might’ve been me.

    • Old Sam says:

      Me too; I think for me it was because it thought it had so much gravitas and was saying so much. It thought it was a novel. Which I suppose it was in a way, just not a very well-written one.

    • Berzee says:

      Oh no, I remember, it was the braindead slathering of “mature themes” and “grown up words” over every possible square inch of story.

    • Berzee says:

      Plus what you said :)

  42. Evil Otto says:

    I used to play Riven as a kid, along with some friends. We would think and make notes for hours. Pity my friends were always smarter than me though. Ah, childhood nostalgia…

  43. BigJonno says:

    Thank you for confirming that I’m not going senile. I’ve never played Myst, but “Myst is shit” is a trope I remember from the era’s game magazines. I’ve recently witnessed forum conversations declaring its absolute awesomeness and was beginning to wonder if I had been imagining things, or just held hostage by the views of a small group of misanthropic journalists. I’m glad to see that my brain is still functioning (mostly) correctly and that the viewpoint that Myst was indeed shit was and still is widely held.

  44. Premium User Badge

    Coren says:

    I liked Myst. I liked it for its melancholy, for its mood, for its interesting worlds. The puzzles were never too difficult and occasionally clever. The story was clumsily told, but I didn’t really care, because I could get lost in the worlds and forget all about it.

    Now Riven… I love Riven. I ADORE Riven. It is without a doubt my favorite game ever. The world is absolutely fascinating. It’s alive, it has depth, it has history, it makes sense. I have never again, in all my years of gaming, found a game that managed to draw me in as deeply as Riven did. The puzzles were sometimes fiendishly difficult, but they made sense, they were connected, they felt organic. I really felt like I was discovering an exotic civilization, picking up bits of their language and customs along the way. (I can still write pretty much any number in D’ni, and I think I still remember a few words and letters, too.)
    The story still felt a bit cheesy, but because I had developed a connection with the world, I also started caring about the characters that inhabited it.

    Granted, Myst is flawed and it’s gotten old. You should probably still play it for its historical value, but you have my permission to skip it. Every gamer owes it to himself to play through Riven once without a walkthrough, though. It requires patience and curiosity, but if you persevere, it’s one of the best gaming experiences you’ll ever have.

    • Deccan says:

      Riven is one of the greatest games I’ve ever played for precisely these reasons. It was like it was specially tuned to the themes and experiences my brain finds most delicious.

  45. Bureaucrat says:

    I think I enjoyed Myst mostly because my sister was also interested and playing it, and I was much better at solving the puzzles than she was. At the time, opportunities to win points in sibling rivalry were more important to me than good game design.

  46. Premium User Badge

    Chaz says:

    Journeyman Project 3 was good though. “Alms for a blind beggaaaaar.”

  47. FuzzyKitty says:

    I’m still putting my page in the red book.

  48. KilgoreTrout XL says:

    Well then you won’t have any interest in this speed run that kotaku just posted today:

    http://kotaku.com/5695947/this-guy-can-finish-myst-faster-than-i-can-make-a-cup-of-tea

  49. Cousin Vinnie says:

    “Its hegemony reigned until the turn of the century, six million victims, and never an apology.”

    Am I the only one to find that remark a bit tasteless?

    • Berzee says:

      I don’t find it tasteless but I don’t know what hegemony is. What don’t you like about it?

    • DrGonzo says:

      Doesn’t it sound a bit like he’s comparing Myst to the holocaust? They are two horrific things the Germans gave us, so I just think it’s apt.

    • Berzee says:

      I think that’s probably just because the number “six million” is associated with the holocaust in your mind. Aside from the number 6,000,000 and the use of the word “victims” — well, I think it’s a bit of a stretch, and is only tasteless if you so desire. :)

    • John Walker says:

      You should see the line Tom removed.

  50. Dervish says:

    Haha, oh wow. Such levels of hipster scorn in this thread.

    “Myst is shit because I suck at puzzles and reading is hard.” Oh, and the puzzles are apparently both mechanical AND illogical at the same time. Figure that one out.

    Troll harder, guys. And stop pretending like you can make any progress in a LucasArts game either without running to GameFAQs.

    • Berzee says:

      I shared a low opinion on Myst when I was 7. Was I a 7-year-old hipster? Is it even possible to be a 7-year-old hipster? What’s the youngest you can be and still be a hipster? Is it possible to dislike a game without being a hipster?

      These are the great questions of our time.

    • Dervish says:

      @Berzee
      It’s the reasoning that’s worthy of contempt here, not the dislike per se. At least a 7-year-old’s reactions would be honest in their simplicity–it’s boring, too empty/lonely, not funny, no wacky characters, no explosions, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, etc. Walker, on the other hand, is trying to appear as a man of superior taste while showing that he has none.

    • DrGonzo says:

      You realise that wasn’t the point anyone was making? The point was we love reading stories when it’s told through the game. Myst doesn’t do that. It’s just random puzzles stuck together without any thought.

      As for the boring/lonely aspect, that’s definitely not it. I love slow, lonely games and films personally. Hell Stalker is one of my favourite films and its a very lonely and slow film. Myst is an incredibly mac and hipster game itself, so I find that quite amusing. My mac owning parents loved it and spewed all kind of pretentious mac crap about how it was art.

    • Dervish says:

      @DrGonzo
      “Without any thought,” lol. Nice try buddy. Yes, Myst had some silly puzzles just stuck in for puzzles’ sake. Now go back to 1993 and try to make a list of other adventure game that did it much better–that would be useful criticism. What you’ll find is that other games got a pass because the tone of those games was much sillier in general.

      This is akin to faulting Half-Life’s levels for being unrealistic in retrospect, when in fact they are better approximations of real-world spaces than any other FPS from that era. And in any case, Riven is still the high point of puzzle/world integration for the adventure game genre.