Myst (Cyan, 1993)

If someone is asked about their favorite PC game today, they would talk about NFS, Call Of
Duty or Counter Strike. All the games which are very interactive with the user
having all sorts of options to play with, multiple controls and as many levels
or even more sometimes. There are storylines that are curated to make it more
exciting and engaging from a gamer’s perspective. But, what if I told you that
the most popular PC game in the 1990s had nothing more than a series of
pictures designed as puzzles.

That is essentially what Myst was-a series of puzzles with
the best gaming graphics possible at the time. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that
to most people back then, it was as close to 3D as you could get. Released by
Cyan in 1993, it held the title for the best-selling PC game for close to a
decade. It had created its own niche in the gaming world by removing the
barriers of age or the stigma related to gaming, by making something that could
be regarded as educative, though that was never the intention.

The first thing that stood out was that all you needed to
play the game was a mouse. There were no keyboard controls or menu. The only
task of the person playing it would be to solve the puzzles given in the form
of pictures by clicking on various points on the screen and if you solved it,
you would go to the next one. This meant that anyone could play it since all
you had to do was apply your brains and click which is why a lot of adults
bought the CDs for this game. Fine art work, great graphics and intelligent
gameplay together with a sense of calmness throughout made Myst a truly
immersive experience, which is why it sold like hot cakes and turned from niche
to mainstream, something which eventually led to its downfall.

The thing that made Myst popular was also the very thing
that made it difficult. There were no instructions or guidance for you to
figure the whole thing out. While playing Myst and even Riven, the sequel to Myst.
You just had to keep clicking and gathering clues trying to solve the puzzles
as you go. Most people say that Riven was the more difficult of the two and
arguably the most difficult of all time, due to the fact that the clues were so
subtle that it was very difficult for most people to catch on to them quickly
or even after a considerable length of time. Some details which would not
matter while playing other games were actually the key to solving most of the
puzzles in Myst which is why most people found it difficult as people tend to
ignore things which would be considered trivial. You have to write down all the
details in order to solve the puzzles, no matter how insignificant they seem at
face value.

All these things made Myst the game that it was back in the
day and led to its success as one of the best PC games of all time.



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