Myst is a puzzle adventure game designed by brothers Rand and Robyn Miller. It was developed by their company Cyan (later known as Cyan Worlds) and was originally published by Brøderbund in 1993 for Apple Macintosh computers. The game was originally programmed in HyperCard, a hypermedia programming tool available for legacy Macintosh and Apple IIGS computers. This tool was capable of producing applications that function similarly to simple HTML webpages.
Myst was one of the first games released on CD-ROM and heavily contributed to the format's early success in terms of interactive software. After its release for IBM-compatible PCs in 1994, Myst quickly became the best-selling PC game of all time until The Sims broke its record in 2002. The original game became the basis for a highly-successful media franchise that spawned four direct sequels, several spin-off games and three novels.
Myst's gameplay is exclusively point-and-click from a first-person perspective. Players explore the world of Myst by clicking on sections of hundreds of static pre-rendered scenes, and can interact with certain objects in the world by clicking or dragging them with the mouse cursor. Myst's limited animations are videos embedded into these pre-rendered backgrounds, giving players a greater sense of immersion despite the limitations of CPU processing power available for the game's initial release. Because the scenes were pre-rendered, the game's artists were able to portray the worlds of Myst as highly-detailed 3D environments, which wouldn't have been possible if the game had instead been rendered in real-time.
The player is presented with many puzzles that must be solved in order to progress, some of which are integrated into the environment and may not be immediately apparent as puzzles. There is no explicit violence, no time limit and no threat of death; the world of Myst is serene and designed to immerse players in its atmospheric presentation as they unravel the secrets of the mysterious island at their own pace.
Myst begins with an opening cutscene narrated by an unidentified man (later established to be Atrus, one of the franchise's central characters) as he describes his plunge into a black "fissure" full of stars. The man is only able to catch a brief glance at his surroundings before suddenly vanishing, leaving behind a mysterious book that continues its descent through the expanse of stars. He apprehensively speculates about where his book may eventually land before admitting that such conjecture is futile, finally concluding that "perhaps the ending has not yet been written".
The player character, known unofficially as "the Stranger", discovers Atrus' lost book. When the Stranger opens the book and touches an animated image on the first page, they find themselves transported to the surreal island of Myst. The Stranger must explore the seemingly-deserted island in search of clues regarding its former inhabitants and their purposes, ideally discovering a way back to their home on Earth in the process.
The Stranger quickly stumbles upon two books - one red, one blue - that each appear to contain a person trapped inside. They are Sirrus and Achenar, a pair of brothers and the sons of Atrus. The books that have imprisoned Sirrus and Achenar are missing several of their pages, causing their animated Linking panels to become obscured by rolling static and making communication very difficult. By restoring a single page to both books, each brother's speech becomes clear enough to claim that the other killed Atrus, presenting the Stranger with the dilemma of whom to trust. The Stranger is tasked with finding the brothers' remaining pages in order to progress toward the game's conclusion.
Continuing their investigation, the Stranger eventually discovers several additional Linking books hidden throughout Myst Island. Each book transports the Stranger to a different world known as an "Age", where they must solve that Age's puzzles before returning to Myst Island with either a red or blue page in hand. Along the way, the Stranger can uncover further clues as to what exactly happened on Myst, including several journals and notes written by Atrus. One note addressed to his wife Catherine mentions his destroyed library on Myst and Atrus' suspicions that one of his sons may be responsible.
Myst has multiple endings. After the Stranger locates all but one of the red or blue pages, Sirrus and Achenar are able to tell him where the fifth pages are hidden. If either of them are given the fifth and final page of their book, they will be set free. However, each brother stresses the fact that the other cannot be trusted, and implores you bring only their own respective page, and not the other.
Both, however, agree that you should not touch the green book that is next to the final red and blue pages. They warn you that it's another trap book, like the ones they themselves are imprisoned in.
You are thus given three choices: Return the red page to Sirrus, return the blue page to Achenar, or open the green book, betraying the warnings of both of them.
The Red Book (Sirrus)
If you return the red page to Sirrus, you suddenly find yourself inside his book, looking out at the library. It's not hard to realize that this was a trick, and that you are now trapped. Sirrus makes a point to call you a fool, and starts ripping pages out of the book, ensuring that it is very unlikely that you will ever escape...
The Blue Book (Achenar)
If you return the blue page to Achenar, you suddenly find yourself inside his book, looking out at the library. It's not hard to realize that this was a trick, and that you are now trapped. Achenar laughs manically, as the somewhat unhinged individual you have seen him to be. He gleefully rips pages out of the blue book, ensuring that it is very unlikely that you will ever escape...
The Green Book (Atrus)
When you open green book, you are greeted by the site of a bearded man, huddled over a book in which he his writing. He asks "who the devil" you are, and is very quick to warn you not to touch the Linking panel of his book. Not yet. He has many questions for you, and his name is Atrus, father of Sirrus and Achenar. He tells you that he needs a white page from you, and that you should not come to D'ni - where he is trapped - without it.
If you ignore his warning and enter the book without the white page, you end up trapped forever in D'ni with Atrus, unable to do anything except wander around the room forever.
However, if you use clues you found elsewhere throughout the game in order to find the white page and bring it to Atrus, then he is able to complete the Myst book he has on his desk, and journey back to the island. He tells you that he has a difficult choice to make, but that his sons have betrayed him, so he knows what he must do. He leaves temporarily for Myst island, and when he returns, he tells you that while you surely have many questions, his writing cannot wait. His wife is being held captive in another Age, and he fears that he may need your services in the future to help him. This is the set up for the game's sequel, Riven.
The only reward he can offer you is access to his library on Myst, and free exploration of the Ages. Thus, while the game is concluded, the game does not lead you to a credit sequence, and rather lets you wander around the worlds as you see fit.
If you return to the library on Myst, you will notice that where the red and blue books once sat, there is now only a large burn mark in their places.
Ports and Remakes
The game has been remade on the PC twice. Once remastered in 24-bit color with enhanced sound as Myst: Masterpiece Edition, and again as realMyst, which was a full recreation of the game in Cyan's real-time 3D engine called Plasma.
- Myst: Masterpiece Edition was released in May 2000. The Mac version was ported by Presto Studios.
- realMyst: Interactive 3D Edition was released on November 15, 2000 for Windows-compatible PCs.
- realMyst: Masterpiece Edition was released on February 5, 2014.
Myst: Masterpiece Edition and realMYST are available to purchase digitally, DRM-free, courtesy of GOG.com since 2009.
The game has also been ported to a variety of consoles and hand-helds, including the Sega Saturn, the Sony Playstation, the Atari Jaguar, the CD-i, the 3DO, the PlayStation Portable, and the Nintendo DS.
The port of Myst for the iPhone was released for the Apple iPhone on the App Store for $5.99 on May 2nd, 2009. This copy features the full original game with improved graphics and contains the original sounds and soundtrack.The iPhone version also features auto-zoom, the original cinematics, swipe-to-turn, and all of the original ages and gameplay.
A 3DS port has been announced for release on April 24, 2012 in North America. Called "Myst 3D," most of the gameplay will take place on the bottom, 2D screen, with some discovery gameplay in 3D on the top screen. This port is being handled by Maximum Family Games.
Myst: The Soundtrack was composed by Robyn Miller and released by Virgin Records on October 6, 1998. Miller later released a remastered version of the original soundtrack on June 6, 2013, which is available online through various digital storefronts.
|6||The Last Message (Forechamber Theme)||2:34|
|7||Fortress Ambience Part I||0:40|
|8||Fortress Ambience Part II||0:50|
|11||Sirrus' Theme – Mechanical Age||1:34|
|13||Achenar's Theme – Mechanical Age||2:11|
|15||Above Stoneship (Telescope Theme)||1:30|
|16||Sirrus' Theme – Stoneship Age||1:25|
|17||Achenar's Theme – Stoneship Age||1:40|
|19||The Temple of Achenar||1:35|
|20||Sirrus' Theme – Channelwood Age||1:32|
|21||Achenar's Theme – Channelwood Age||2:07|
|24||Fireplace Theme (Bonus track)||0:43|
|25||Early Selenitic Mystgate(Bonus track)||1:16|
|26||Original Un-Finale (Bonus track)||1:27|
Total Running Time: 41:24