Review of Myst

By John Dick
Great luck of mine to review a virtual world. I like an assignment that lets me have fun. I have not played computer games since the 1992 edition of minesweeper on my 4mb workhorse.

Buying Myst

I found a video and music store with some cd-rom games. The store had 30 feet of cds, but it was not organized. The boxes were moved around and picked through. I looked for almost half an hour. Some of the cds were inexpensive (around $10). A number of these had a number of different games or perhaps just the first level of a much larger game. The rest seemed VERY EXPENSIVE. But they also offered a chance to get a game that I might actually enjoy playing on my newer, faster, better pc.

I looked for a time before two early teens told me where they get cd games. They told me which store to shop and how to get there, promising that I would find 3 big rows of games. 10 minutes later I was in Compuserve.

There really are 3 big rows with cds on both sides. The cd boxes are easy to see. The graphics are very detailed. I thought it would be easy to buy. I wanted Quake. I happened to read in PC magazine the game Quake would deliver the latest and greatest in graphics. I learned that Quake would be coming soon, but not now. After looking for a total now of 45 minutes at covers for Hexen and Doom II and Gravediggers, I felt like I just couldn't commando all those bugs.

I finally decided to buy Myst. The packaging worked well with me. I was tired of seeing all of the dark colors and evil characters, so the blue package, and the big gold star in the corner saying it won 12 awards and sold more than any other cd reassured me. It was very expensive at $45.

By the cash register I found a package offering both Myst and another cd with an interactive murder mystery using video streams. This combination cost the same as Myst alone, so the store got my money.


Feel of the Game

When I opened the box, the contents spilled into my lap. Windows 3.1 Trouble Shooting Guide was the first thing I saw.

The game does not have directions for play. All I could find to do was plug in the cd and see what happened. Once all the software was loaded up, I double-clicked the new icon, expecting a self-explanatory game. Thats not exactly what I got. When the game opened and I turned my character around to look at my new world I could clearly see that I was on a dock by the water, with buildings near me, grassy hills and trees in the distance. I found that I could easily move along concrete pathways, walk into the buildings, pick up some objects, and turn on or off various switches along the paths. However, I had no idea what I was supposed to do.

After a time of pleasant wandering around, I could tell that I was surrounded by clues about what I needed to do. Then I wandered into the library. Naturally, I found helpful books on the shelves. Unfortunately, four of the books are quite long and not at all easy to read, because the text is confined to the shape and area of a small book. The clues were not immediately helpful, though.

After a number of hours of play, I found the game to be very similar to a mystery. The game places you on an island that was home to a family who could travel to different places and times. The family fought and is some sort of trouble. You need to find the ways to these other worlds, so you can find the answers to this riddle!

I stopped playing over time because I tired calmly exploring for long periods of time while I actually had little available time for leisure. Perhaps a shoot-em-up where I could play for 10 minutes at a time would have been better for my current moods.

I do, however, have a friend who has come over and played the game for hours at a time while I work. She is lost in fun. I have been able to watch and help when she gets to new areas and when we have to really figure out what needs to be done. We have found four new and very interesting worlds. None has any people yet and we have not yet discovered how to get from any of those worlds back to the main island. We will eventually, though.

Conclusion

I have come to 2 conclusions about my experiences to date with Myst. One is that the packaging scheme and positioning of the game affected my decision. Many games featured action themes, so after looking over many, my desire for an action game diminished. The packaging of the Myst game, by displaying the awards and sales levels, showed that I should have a reasonable chance of being impressed. The Myst two for one package was very effective. The second game features video streamers, so I can see that as well.

The quality of the pictures, the realism of the movements, and the speed of the system exceeded my expectations. I also have had fun playing the game and watching my friend play. As a first-time purchaser of a cd rom I am happy, but I will not buy another expensive game for some time. I just do not like playing enough to pay. Perhaps I will try for some free games on the Internet.