Story and Gameplay

Story

A good portion of Myst’s story is told in the instruction manual of the game. The manual explains that an unnamed person known only as the Stranger stumbles across a mysterious book titled “Myst.” The Stranger reads the book and uncovers the details of an island called Myst. After reading the book, the Stranger placed his hand on the last page which whisked him away to the very island the book so thoroughly describes. The Stranger now has no other option other than to explore the very island he is on.

There are many buildings on the island. However, a library up on a hill is basically your home base. The library contains two additional books that can be found, a red one and a blue one. These two books are traps that imprison Sirrus and Achenar, the sons of Atrus, who once lived on the island with his wife Catherine. Atrus had the ability to write special linking books that, when touched, transported the reader to the worlds, or “Ages”, that the book describes. From the confines of the pages, the two sons tell the Stranger that their father Atrus is dead and place the blame of the murder on the other brother, and plead for the Stranger to help them escape their prison. However, their message is at first hard to decipher because several of the pages are missing.

The Stranger continues to explore the island, finding more books behind complex puzzles and mechanisms. These books link to more Ages that the Stranger must visit in order to find more of the pages (red and blue) of the books that hold Sirrus and Achenar. The Stranger returns back to the main island of Myst after every age in order to place the pages in the corresponding books. As more pages are placed in the books, the brothers are able to speak more clearly about what happened, with each continuing to blame the other brother. After visiting each of the 4 Ages, and collecting 4 pages of each color, the brothers are able to speak clearly enough to tell the Stranger where the fifth and final page is hidden. The fifth page will free one brother from the pages. The Stranger now must make a decision to help Sirrus, Achenar, or none of the able.

Sirrus and Achenar both beg the Stranger not to touch the green book that is stored in the same place as the last page. They argue that it is a book that will trap and imprison the Stranger inside. However, in reality, it leads to a place named D’ni, where their father Atrus is imprisoned. After opening the book and being teleported to D’ni, Atrus asks the Stranger to bring him a final page that is hidden on the island of Myst. Without it, Atrus will be unable to bring his two sons to justice.

At this point, the Stranger has to make the decision whether to help Sirrus, Achenar, or Atrus. A different ending will occur depending on who you choose to save and help.

Gameplay

Myst is a first-person journey through an interactive world. Movement is controlled by simply clicking on different areas on the screen. The screen then fades into another frame in which the player can continue to click and explore.

Players can interact with specific objects on some screens by clicking or dragging them on the screen. Some items and objects can be carried by the player and read such as journal pages which provide the player with a rich backstory and history.

Myst’s gameplay is an unusual computer-adventure game. At the beginning of the game, the player is provided with very little backstory and absolutely no tutorial, unlike most games today. Instead, the player must simply begin to explore to figure out the basics such as how to move, or what to do. Also, there are no enemies, no physical violence, and no threat of ever meeting you maker and dying. The game unfolds at the speed the player wants it to. There is not a  time limit that the player must race against in order to beat it. Beating it only requires patience, thinking in a logical manner, and a great sense of observation and memory.

By Alex Privitt


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