Maker Faire 2011 Roundup: Myst
There are few games that can credibly be said to have revolutionized gaming. Myst was released in 1991 on CD-ROM, a rarity at the time. It used the space for pre-rendered images and videos, presenting a lush and gorgeous world to discover. Myst was the first major multimedia game, weaving video and sound into an immersive experience, and is credited for driving much of the early PC CD-ROM market.
Myst’s world is a surreal and lonely one. The player starts on an isolated island, with no instruction and no explanation as to the game mechanics. Interaction is a simple manner of clicking to interact with objects or move around the world. As the player explores they’ll find several books with strangely animated pages. Some act as communication devices with people apparently trapped inside, while others can be used to travel to other worlds. Each of these worlds contains puzzles and, more importantly, items that are required to complete the game.
Myst quickly took the title of best-selling game in history and held that title for over a decade. While its puzzles were notoriously hard, enough of the game was easily accessible that even casual players could explore and enjoy the world. The graphics were groundbreaking – a level of visual quality that was unheard of outside of theaters – and Myst was frequently bundled with sound cards to fully exploit its sound design and ambiance.
To this day Myst has spawned four sequels, two spinoffs, at least half a dozen re-releases, a book series, and a phenomenal amount of fanfiction. The game series is officially finished, but the original Myst has been re-released as recently as 2009.
The game continues to be popular on a wide variety of systems and with a wide variety of gamers, as we received votes from contributors with birthyears ranging from 1955 to 1983.