1993 Cyan
Designed by Rand Miller, Robyn Miller
Reviewed 1995 May 1

Rating +3 Linearity straight, branching
Reasonability deductive Connectivity moderate
Difficulty pedestrian Relevance moderate
Interface 1st paned simple Real-time minor

You find a strange book, and when you touch a picture in it you are transported to the scene of the picture. The game starts as you are teleported to Myst island. Some mischief has been wrought, and it's up to you to help set things awright. You do this by travelling to other worlds (ages) and retrieving pages needed by other linking books. The challenge is that the linking books needed to return to Myst are hidden: the book-travellers didn't want the local inhabitants using their books.

The outstanding achievement of Myst is it's cohesion. The sound, graphics, story, and puzzle are integrated into a whole. E.g., in contrast, the sound in many games is nothing more than atmospheric, and there is often an option to turn the sound off. Myst, on the other hand, is not playable without sound.

In Myst all of these elements reinforce each other, rather than exist independently of each other. The story IS the puzzle. The puzzle is not a contrived device laid over the story. At worst the puzzles can be justified in the story; at best they are a natural consequence. The high resolution images are used to contribute detail to the story. The sounds provide subtle clues to help you solve the puzzle. The net result is to draw you into a virtual reality. You no longer reason about the game in an abstract sense, as a logical solution involving presented symbols and set rules. Instead, you can approach the game using physical sense.

Although well designed, the game is too easy. You make your way through the puzzle more by experimentation than by inspiration. This would be okay if the game were larger, but the relatively small playing field means the game is over quickly. This is doubly disappointing since the game is so engrossing while it lasts.

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