When the game Myst was released in September 1993, it reshaped how people perceived gaming. It was a quiet, peaceful, elegant experience that appealed to a wider audience than the traditional adventure games of the time. Artists, academics and grandparents all looked to Myst as a sophisticated piece of media that drew them into the world of gaming.
Its success led to a series of sequels, most notably Riven in 1995. It also spawned fan conventions around the world.
The Myst developer
Cyan Worlds is a small, isolated computer software development studio whose best-known game is the Myst series. It was founded by brothers Rand and Robyn Miller, who had been working on idiosyncratic children’s software before creating Myst.
As I write this, Cyan is working on Obduction, a new game based on the Myst universe. This is the first time the company has created a game from scratch in 23 years, and it comes as something of a surprise given the success of Myst and its subsequent sequels.
I spoke to Cyan’s co-founder Rand Miller on Skype last Wednesday and asked him to explain his decision to rename the game simply “Myst.” He was more than happy to give me the scoop, describing the project as a “return to form” for the studio, whose past upgrades of the title have included modifiers to its name (such as realMyst).
The Myst series is the result of a complicated and frustrating development process. The Miller brothers wanted to create a true 3-D world, but this was not possible due to the technological limitations of the time. Instead, the game was created using a set of pre-rendered 3-D images, arranged into a hypercard stack.
This was a technology that was relatively new to the Macintosh, and it meant that Myst was able to stand out from other graphic adventures on the platform. The game’s story revolved around a lone explorer named Atrus who has the ability to write books that serve as links to other worlds. These books are known as Ages, and players must explore them in order to solve puzzles and reach the final Age of D’ni.
Myst was a huge hit, selling 6 million copies in 1996 alone. Its follow-up, Riven, sold even more; together, the titles are now regarded as one of the most influential video games of all time.
It was an instant success that helped define the genre of graphic adventure games and paved the way for future sequels. It was also one of the earliest to use the technology that would be so instrumental in the creation of video games.
But Myst’s success was not without its critics. A vocal minority of gamers resented its lack of combat and other elements that made it seem less like an adventure game than a puzzle game.
Some even thought the game’s aesthetic was tacky and overly reliant on grainy video clips of actors chewing up green-screened scenery, a style of visual design that quickly went the way of the dot-matrix graphics that dominated the industry at that time. the myst condo