Reviewed on PC

MYST

Reviewed By: Carole Stewart McDonnell
VOLUNTEER GUEST REVIEWER
GAME TECH INFO

Computer Platform: PC
Produced by: Broderbund
Price Range: $19-40
Learning curve time: 3 hrs w/o guidebook
Age level: 12+
ESRB Rating: Kids to Adults

Genre: Puzzle/Adventure
Christian Rating: 3 of 5
   (some objectionable elements)
Gameplay: 4 of 5
   (good)
Violence: 3 of 5
   (mild)
Adult Content: 3 of 5
   (mild)

Boxcover graphic of 'Myst'. Illustration copyrighted.
The reputation of “Myst” is almost legendary. It is a classic of the Computer puzzle adventure and has both the flaws and genius of the genre. The genius of the game is the beauty of the world. The flaw is: if one is left to figure out this game without outside assistance, one will find one's self roaming around on the beautiful forsaken Myst island for 3 hours with no inkling of what to do next. Sure, the architecture is awesome; the river front is beautiful, the landscape is eerily relaxing. And there are strange signs and markings everywhere. But what is one supposed to be doing? Is walking around the island all there is?

“Myst” is a story of family disharmony and betrayal (a subtle retelling of Cain and Abel and of a Fall). But who betrayed whom and why? To find out the mystery of this family saga, one has to get through all the “ages” of the island. Clues are scattered all over in the form of symbols, electrical switches that go on and when flipped. Written notes and secret messages behind paintings, on pathways, behind secret doors. The answers are easy enough to come by if one has a heightened sense of common sense. For instance, I roamed around in a dark hallway for a good 30 minutes and then finally resorted to my guidebook; it turns out there was a light switch on the wall I could've flipped on when I first entered the room. Similarly, it hadn't occurred to me to look behind a particular painting at the foot of a staircase or that the numbers I found behind that painting were the key to operating the generator. There is a sound of rising water whenever a certain combination is flipped; I took no notice of it. I should have. That's how the game is. And it forms the pattern for many computer games. One could roam around stepping on clues and not realize it. It is possible to walk around Myst island and miss clues in clear site.

Game developers seem to assume that a game-player has all the time in the world to track the integral parts of a game. I highly recommend using your notebook to keep track of anything you suspect might be a clue. Better yet, get a hint or code book if this is your first foray into such computer games.



User Comments   [ Send Yours ]


At first, I found this was a very difficult game and for a while I stopped playing. However, if you stick with it you would find that there is a pattern to collecting information from each world. Eventually, I found it intellectually satisfying. The only objections I have are that the music sounds evil at times (which I thought was unnecessary), the travelling to and from each world becomes tiring, and the ending could have been a bit more rewarding. A word of advice - write notes, and save the game after you have made progress. My Ratings: [3/4]
   —Marvin, age 23

After playing the game I can easily see why it earned the status of Best Selling Game of All Time. I'm also very picky about the content of the games I play… It has a few rough spots (hard to figure out) but it is a very immersive and rewarding experience. You'll keep coming back, and the graphics (even today) are very visually stimulating. It's a work of art. As for moral content, it's the typical good vs. evil. I compare it to the children's Narnia books by C.S. Lewis. There is absolutely no violence, and no adult themes. If you have a powerful modern computer, I would suggest purchasing realMyst, which has real-time 3D graphics and animation. Riven is also a great game, and Myst III will be out soon! :) My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Red, age 17

In addition to it's beauty & complexity, “Myst” forces you to THINK! In the end, it is not your dexterity or your speed on the keyboard that wins the game, but reasoning. My husband & I took a couple of weeks to solve the game, without a guidebook. We did give each other clues according to what we each discovered. We each kept notes; “Myst” is not a game you can play without a paper & pencil at your side! If you want a game that challenges your brain, & not your fingers, “Myst” is a game for you. The main reason I enjoyed the game is that you have time to think & reason without anyone chasing you, attempting to capture, or do worse to you. There is NO violence, other than evidence of what has happened in the relatively distant past. The reasons I did not give it a “perfect” score? 1. There is a lot of time consuming repetitive “travel”, which can become boring. 2. The sadistic & violent nature of one the the brothers is amply evident in all of the areas he has occupied. 3. Compared to newer games, such as “Riven”, “Myst”'s sequel, the look & play are outdated. My Ratings: [4/4]
   —Dee Webber, age 40

I have never played the original Myst, I have only played the masterpiece edition released in 1999. It is exactly the same but with more music, slightly altered graphics, and a built in optional walkthrough. So bear that in mind as you read this review. In this game, apparently one of two brothers has destroyed entire worlds killing an infinite number of people. It is up to you, the player, to explore the remaining worlds to look for clues to find out which brother is responsible. You can also find clues from the brothers themselves as you communicate with them from their weird holding cells. The game is fantastic the images, the music, the puzzles, everything! The Miller brothers are fantastic actors (they play all of the characters). From a Christian perspective I see nothing offensive in this game. There is a lot of ominous and scary stuff in this game but that is all it is. Ominous, not offensive. Still I recommend that no children under the age of 9 play this game… My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Eric Heiden, age 16

All I can say is that this is by far the best computer game I've ever played. Great, realistic graphics. The kind of game that makes you want to beat the game so bad that you will spend hours at a time and maybe barely get anywhere. It took me 3 years to beat “Myst” (w/o a gamebook except for once). The reason I gave this game a 4 of 5 Christian rating instead of a 5 of 5 rating is because of the creepy, almost evil nature of one of the brothers. But I certainly recommend this game to anyone who likes hard-to-figure-out games and has plenty of time to play them. My Ratings: [4/5]
   —Alex, age 14

“Myst” is a game of great beauty, but you have to want to sit and learn about the island of “Myst” before you start clicking everywhere. Having read the MYST series books, I understood more about the island, and the game in general. This game is totally different than any first person shooter, or RPG out there. It takes a lot of thinking and planning. While playing my friends and I kept a note book for all of the puzzles and secrets. My Ratings: [5/4]
   —Zach Wagner, age 15

“Myst” is a classic, and was an innovative and cutting-edge game in its time, but would be considered very primitive by today's standards. “Myst” and its sequel “Riven” can now be bought in stores for less than $20. The detailed scenery and music make “Myst” an immersive experience, and it has a dark, depressing, and foreboding feel to it at certain times. Figuring out the puzzles can be time consuming or impossible without infinite playtime or a walk-through guide. One wonders why the characters in the game had to make every single mechanical device in the various worlds so difficult to operate. In the end, “Myst” is all about walking back and forth and flipping switches and dials until your patience is utterly exhausted and the game is forever shelved. My Ratings: [3/2]
   —Chris Ryan, age 32


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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