One of the best-selling computer games of all time, Myst caused quite a sensation when it was released in September, 1993. Several years later, it remains on best-seller lists and continues to generate lookalike games hoping to cash in on its widespread appeal. What's most confounding about Myst is its longevity. While an interesting game, it hardly warrants the fanaticism surrounding it - and this Playstation port does little to explain the phenomenon.
The premise is simple. The player must explore the island of Myst, researching the notes of a mysterious man named Atrus and his exploration of several distinct worlds. Through Atrus' notes, players find solutions to puzzles that open gateways to these worlds, which they then explore to unravel the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Atrus and his two sons, Sirrus and Achenar. The majority of the game is simply walking around the various locales, making connections between the cryptic information given and the puzzles presented. In this sense, Myst demands a great deal from the player - careful attention must be paid to the slightest details and copious notes must be taken at all times.
The wandering itself is not an unpleasant task - the much touted graphics really are spectacular (though the level of detail is not quite as rich in the Playstation version), even after three years and several dozen knock-offs. Even more incredible is the audio, with a great musical score and moody ambient sounds. But the joy of exploration eventually wears off, even after discovering a new world, and the stagnant nature of the game transforms this adventure into more of a relaxing slideshow than an engrossing adventure.
But three million Myst fans can't be all wrong. The game does hold some engaging puzzles, and the story unfolds just gradually enough to maintain your interest. On the downside, though, is the fact that Myst may have the single worst payoff in the history of games. But if you're patient, and enjoy a good puzzle now and again, the long and occasionally frustrating journey to the end may be worth the disappointing arrival.