The entire Myst series now plays nice with modern PCs

Myst IV

Credit where it’s due, while GOG aren’t quite as retro-focused as they used to be (now playing the role of a more traditional games store) they’ve still got that magical touch for making older games work on newer systems. Until today, Cyan World’s genre-defining Myst adventure series has been incomplete on PC.

One of the big promises of Cyan’s big collector’s edition kickstarter in April was that GOG would be updating the third and fourth games in the series to run nicely on modern machines. Today, they delivered in full – the story is complete, and unabridged once more.

Fans of obtuse but pretty FMV adventures can celebrate once more. Myst III: Exile and Myst IV: Revelation are now working as intended. Previously, these games were an absolute bear to get working on modern systems, as they came from a dark era before video, software, hardware or OS standards. While plenty more games have been lost to the sands of time thanks to this particularly rocky period of PC gaming history, it’s great to see another couple restored to full functioning order.

Myst III and IV were made at a time when the series name carried significant weight, so roping in some genuine talent for its overly-greenscreened FMV segments wasn’t that hard. Among Myst IV’s mix of lesser-known actors is Genesis front-man Peter Gabriel, and Myst III has Brad Dourif (a great, offbeat actor in his own right, and well cast in Dishonored as Piero Joplin) there to steal the show whenever he’s in front of the camera.

While I’m no great fan of Myst (or point and click adventure games in general, despite growing up on a steady diet of Sierra & Lucasarts classics), it’s hard to deny the importance of the series, even if its ending with the clumsy winding down of Uru Online wasn’t the epilogue it deserved. While Doom was always my playground of choice, the series defined games for many through the 90s, and did its part to get people to hook CD drives up to their PCs, too.

Myst III: Exile and Myst IV: Revelation are out now on GOG, for £10.69/$15 each. The remainder of the series has also been bundled up cheap, discounted to £14.35.

28 Comments

    • Porkolt says:

      To be fair, Myst III and IV are definitely a lot less obtuse than the first two games. For one, they have a far more straightforward plot. The puzzles also aren’t nearly as difficult.

      • GepardenK says:

        You should play them again. This is actually the opposite of what is true. Myst is a deceptively easy game with very straightforward puzzles (most people blast through it in 6-8h or less). Riven is an odd one because it’s not really a puzzle game; there are only about four puzzles in total and most of them are not solved until the very end.

        To be fair; Myst III is relatively logical for the most part. But it suffers from some genuinely confusing visual design thanks to it’s rotating 360 view with very blurry graphics in places. This makes it extremely easy to miss some key items/passages. Myst IV is a big mess and feels very amateurish in puzzle-design all the way through, difficulty jumps all over the place and puzzles feel almost mini-game like in the way they are shoehorned in, in it’s defense it has pretty decent production values and some interesting ideas.

        • malkav11 says:

          Myst is a very short game, for sure, but I didn’t find the puzzles intuitive or straightforward at all. And Riven even less so, since the puzzles were so spread out and multipart instead of the largely localized puzzles of Myst.

          I freely admit to not being a fan of the “figure out what the puzzle is before you solve it” approach to puzzle design, though.

      • PampleMoose says:

        Not really. In my opinion, Myst IV is by far the hardest game in the series, and the first game is probably the easiest, though Exile is relatively easy.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Show me the lie.

      But I’m glad GOG is still doing real preservation work. Early Windows games are in a particularly tough spot.

  1. worshipgeek says:

    Do I tell him that Uru is actually the penultimate game….?

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      The initial release came early, but Uru’s struggling far outlived the series as a whole. It now awkwardly exists simultaneously as a fan-run online version and the later-assembled solo Uru: Complete Chronicles, but neither of them feels particularly finished.

      • Urthman says:

        Uru has one of the best, “Ha ha I discovered a glitch…oh, shit it’s not a glitch, WTF?!” moments I’ve seen in a video game.

        • Dominic Tarason says:

          My brain buzzes faintly in recollection, but it’s been yeaaaaaaaars since I played it. What moment was that?

          • NthDegree256 says:

            I’d put very good odds that they’re talking about Ahnonay from the Path of the Shell expansion. Unraveling that whole Age was an experience that bordered on transcendent for me.

      • PampleMoose says:

        I still have many many fond memories from D’mala and then the Gametap incarnation right up till they stopped delivering new content. Sure, it was niche, but there was such a buzz and vibrancy in that community. I still occasionally log in and check the forums to find names I still remember from that time.

    • PampleMoose says:

      To be fair, it got weird when Uru (conceived as an indefinitely running continuation in the modern age, the original games taking place IIRC during our 19th century chronologically) was originally functionally a spin off, with Myst IV being the last that definitely features ‘The Stranger’. Then Myst V came along partially as a central saga sequel and partially as a way to wrap up the main threads of Uru (the Bahro, Yeesha’s quest, the Dni restoration effort). Had Uru succeeded long term as an MMO, Myst V may not even exist/may have taken a different direction.

  2. yoggesothothe says:

    Completely irrelevant question: is it just me or is the person in that screenshot meant to look like Bjork?

  3. malkav11 says:

    Just popping in to remind everyone that Myst III was not developed by Cyan, but rather Presto Studios, who created the Journeyman Project trilogy of adventure games. As such, while it shares some of Myst’s best qualities (and of course Brad Dourif is great), it also is, in my opinion, a much more engaging, approachable adventure than Cyan has ever put out in-house. So even if you don’t usually like Myst, I’d check out Myst III.

    • Shushununu says:

      Myst III is my absolute favorite of the series. I get why the first two are held in such high esteem, but III really trims the fat and lets you enjoy the immersive worlds and unobtuse puzzles. It’s the only one of the series I play now and again.

      • NthDegree256 says:

        I just wanted to pop in and say that I appreciated both of these comments (malkav11 and Shushununu), because Myst III has always been my least favorite in the series, but these helped give me a better perspective on why some folks might feel differently.

        • malkav11 says:

          Yeah, if you really click with Cyan’s style, it’s not that so it’s not going to work as well for you probably. I just…don’t. I only played through Myst and Riven with extensive hint support and I don’t think I’ve ever managed to get to the …Selenitic Age? in the first Myst because I’m pretty tone-deaf so the puzzle for access is just insurmountable. Fortunately you don’t actually have to do all the Ages to win.

        • Shushununu says:

          Thanks! I really enjoyed Myst and Riven as well, I could probably still map out all the islands, puzzles, story and clues from memory. I think they differ from Myst III because the story of Myst & Riven is such an integral part of the game (well, Riven moreso than Myst). You can solve the puzzles, but you’ll never really understand the game unless you delve into the journal entries and really try to understand the characters involved (I also liked those Myst novels the Millers put out that went even further). I loved that the first time through, like reading through a good book. However, because the mystery/exploration/story was so memorable, I haven’t felt the need to revisit those games, because the puzzles were just means to an end of advancing the story.

          Myst III is dissimilar in that way: where the story is so light that the mystery and exploration are the puzzles and environments themselves, and each age’s puzzles are presented in such a visually pleasing and thematic way. Plus the thought of Brad Dourif acting with nothing but a green screen with his tattered wizard robe makes me giggle.

  4. Shushununu says:

    It’s a shame Disneyworld never opened up their own Myst Island like they were planning in the late 90’s. I was never into the Disney stuff as a kid, but I would’ve begged my parents non-stop to let me go to Disney-Myst.

    link to mentalfloss.com

  5. Seyda Neen says:

    Can they get Riven to play at an upscaled resolution, too, please? There’s no problem getting it running, but it plays like a tiny window in the middle of your screen, it’s a travesty.

    • NthDegree256 says:

      My understanding is that they have it running, but up-rezzing is neither possible nor likely in the future, as the entire Riven workflow and asset library took place on machines that no one has supported or maintained for years. The industry has moved on to completely different technologies and even just retrieving the original models would be a difficult archaeological task.

    • GepardenK says:

      You can set Riven to fill your screen in the settings (iirc), or you can force windows to do it for you. It wont give you a better resolution, of course, but you’ll avoid having to play in a tiny window. Riven still looks great honestly even when set to fill your screen so the experience is pretty optimal imo.

  6. Rath says:

    I can’t remember offhand which one it was, but the one with Brad Dourif came bundled with a machine I bought long ago, and at the time I remember thinking it had the nicest looking water I’d ever seen in a game.

  7. MikoSquiz says:

    Oh, that’s a shame.

  8. Megatron says:

    It is very very nice to read an article about Myst on RPS that actually gives the series the credit it has been long overdue, even if the author does still put himself at a remove from it. In many ways that reminds me of prejudice in other forms, at the stage where acceptance begins to happen but people are still careful to state they aren’t involved with the topic of discussion, e.g. “I’m not gay but I’m reasonably comfortable talking about them as something that exists”.

    But this is a big step for you, RPS. Congratulations! I now look forward to the day when you can count Myst fans as a core part of your writing demographic the same way women have become in recent years. Keep up the good work!

    #EndTheMystPrejudice

    • Devan says:

      I’m not sure where on the serious – tongue-in-cheek spectrum this post is but even if none of the RPS staff like Myst, that’s not prejudice. Prejudice (literally “pre-judgement”) would be if they evaluated it without trying it or learning enough about it, which doesn’t seem like the case here or in any of RPS’ other articles on the series.

      I’m a fan of Myst personally but I don’t see why it would matter that the authors are not.

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