Over the past month, I have been discussing the four levels of the 1993 puzzle-riddled point-and-click game Myst. Through the exploration of each level, the story is revealed, and a puzzle related to those on the auxiliary worlds must be solved to enter each one. These levels, or Ages as they are referred to in the game, are accessed through books found on the main island, known simply as Myst.
The island is moderately wooded for its small size, a feature that works with the varying topography to give the illusion that the island is much larger than it appears. Most of the structures are isolated through this layout, allowing them to be the center of focus, the obvious goal at any given time, all related to the places they lead to. A spaceship holds the door to the eerie moonscape of the Selenitic Age, a steam-powered mechanical tree to the sunken woods of Channelwood. A sunken ship, the first structure seen on the island, must be raised to access the Stoneship Age, where its counterpart remains flooded; in the distance stands the almost comically enormous gear that hides the key to the equally exaggerated Mechanical Age.
There are four ages in the original game–a final world, the Age of Rime, was created for the three dimensional remake, RealMyst. This is a cold, icy world, and not nearly as massive as the worlds before it. As the level is not a part of the original game, which is the version I have been using, I will not be writing about Rime, though I do encourage those who have access to the game to try it–it is just as captivating and mysterious as the previous worlds.
Myst was one of the first games I played as a child (and with the exception of Minesweeper, was most likely my first pc game) and the elaborate fantasy created by its unusual worlds has no doubt shaped how I see games today–I have always paid close attention to the worlds themselves, the environments and the buildings within them, and still look forward to the worlds that games offer to explore. I have truly enjoyed this month of Myst, and hope to continue dedicating weeks to the other games in the series eventually.