Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Look to the Past: Games of the Years 1993 - Myst


Myst (PC)

Perhaps the most original winner from the entire list, Myst did what no game had done before. While hit games like Mega Man 6, Link's Awakening and Sonic CD kept rolling out, Myst took a brave move; and it paid off big time. It presented an imaginative world steeped in mystifying mystery and riddled with riddles, creating an unforgettable atmosphere in the process. The story was dark and intriguing, forcing player to takes things very slowly in order to progress. Reading tarnished books with hidden meanings lurking between pages, exploring abandoned worlds locked with complicated puzzles, and deciphering strange mechanisms and buildings were commonplace activities. There was no fighting, no dying, and next to no direction. Instead, the player was given a first-person perspective from an unknown individual and merely dropped-- quite literally-- into the Island of Myst. Clicking on the still frames of rendered scenery and interacting with its objects was more than enough to draw in millions of people.

Do you know how long it took me to figure out the puzzle of the lighthouse? A long time, that's how long!

Visually, Myst was a masterpiece. An archaic masterpiece by today's standards, but a masterpiece all the same. Like all the other elements of the game, it managed to forgo conventions and create a thick atmosphere of surreal creepiness. It really feels like another world in there. The game even used live-action cutscenes to non-laughable effects, which was and still is a wonder. Perhaps the most important achievement of all was that Myst truly proved that video games aren't just for kids, and did so in a truer sense of the word "mature" than did shock factor games like Mortal Kombat and Doom. Difficult, obtuse, and at times confusing, Myst was not an easy game to complete. But the challenge was entirely different than that of its fellow video games, and very few games even today can match its vision. It was certainly ahead of its time in 1993, and its gripping tale is still well worth a look.

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