90s gaming legends - Myst
Imagine a game with no guns, no action and where your movement is restricted to clicking between different scenes one after the other like a slide show. Maybe by today's standards it doesn't sound like much, but when myst was released in 1993 it quickly became the world's best-selling PC game, a title it held for another 9 years. It has been rereleased on almost every platform you can imagine and just recently got a new iPad port, with full Retina Display support. So what makes this game so popular?
The mystery puzzle game for everyone
Developed by Cyan and originally released on Mac OS, Myst was a poster child for the new CD-ROM format that was making the rounds at the time. It was a puzzle game at heart, but the fact you were dropped without explanation onto an unknown island added the excitement of exploring a new world. The added storage space on a CD allowed Myst to be a beautiful looking game (at least for the time) with fully rendered 3D areas, a haunting soundtrack and even some FMV thrown in for good measure. But it wasn’t only Myst’s looks that got it noticed.
When you booted it up, Myst had no complicated back story, no hard-to-learn control scheme and, most importantly, you couldn't die. You could wander around for hours, solving puzzles and looking for that one switch you missed, but no one was going to pop out of the woods and use you for target practice. This meant anyone could, and did, play Myst. From my mum to my younger brother, everyone picked up the game and quickly became immersed in the world. It became popular with what you might now call 'casual gamers'.
That doesn't mean this was an easy game though. Often noted for its fiendish and occasionally almost nonsensical puzzles, Myst had most people going craxy trying to understand what the snake button on the side of the wall actually did. But to really understand why Myst became such a phenomenon you have to play it. Luckily there have been a fair few modern releases that are still really easy to pick up.
Realmyst was released in 2000, and this time instead of moving between picture slides you now have full 3D movement between all areas of the islands of Myst. This is the version that has now been ported to iOS in all its glory. The controls are still simple and explained to you gradually as you make your way around the island, but It can feel a little awkward at first. Turning for instance takes some getting used to, but you there are a couple of options to play around with till you feel more comfortable. The visuals are all still intac and that feeling of solitary exploration is still something few games can match.