Group DescriptionMyst is a series of adventure games originally created by the brothers Rand and Robyn Miller, and developed by Cyan, Inc.. Myst games are played from a first-person perspective and place a strong emphasis on complex puzzles.
Setting and StoryMyst games are set in fictional realms known as Ages, which can be created and accessed by writing and using the so-called "linking books". The practice of writing such books originated with an ancient race known as D'ni, who had arrived on the Earth over ten thousand years ago, and founded a thriving civilization in its underground caverns. However, this culture was destroyed by a terrible disease that annihilated almost the entire D'ni population. Among the few survivors was Gehn, the son of a D'ni man and a native Earth woman. Gehn's son, Atrus, is one of the central characters in the games, responsible for the linking books that guide the nameless protagonist (referred to as "Stranger") to various Ages, where he has to uncover secrets of the past and undo the wrongs done by some of the members of Atrus' family.
GameplayMyst games eschew, partially or completely, some traditional adventure game elements, such as conversations with characters populating the game world, puzzles based on using and combining inventory items, verb-based interaction with the environments, and text descriptions prompted by it. The worlds of Myst games are largely unpopulated. The puzzles are noticeably more complex and demanding than in most other adventure games, and are almost entirely logic-based, the player needing to apply his/her perception and understanding of logical, mathematical, and sometimes sound-related procedures to figure out principles and mechanics of the many exotic devices encountered in the game world. Interaction with the game world is performed simply by pointing and clicking the mouse on objects. Traditionally, Myst games utilize pre-rendered backgrounds, and character navigation in them consists of "jumping" from one still screen to another. However, some installments, such as Real Myst (2000), the remake of the original Myst, feature fully 3D graphics with physical navigation and camera rotation.
InfluenceThe original Myst (1993) had a significant influence on the development of adventure games, popularizing the slow-paced, meditative, and intellectually challenging gameplay, which was opposed to the more lively, whimsical, and humorous nature of most other adventures. The term "Myst clone" usually refers to subsequent adventure games that utilized a similar visual presentation, navigation, and puzzle-related challenge, such as for example Shivers (1995) or Zork: Nemesis (1996). This influence is seen by many as negative, since the adherence of adventure game developers to the design philosophy of Myst conflicted with the growing popularity of more action-oriented games and contributed to the decline of the adventure genre.
- The Interactive Palette - Puzzle Design in the Myst Series - An article on GameSetWatch which focuses on the puzzle and game design of the Myst series, with additional commentary being provided about the qualities of successful and unsuccessful puzzles throughout the genre (Feb 20th, 2009).
- MYSTerium - "The" Myst fan site, which provides additional information, overviews, trailers, and fly-by videos for each of the games in the series.
- Mysterium - The official website for Mysterium, an annual fan convention held in the United States.
- The Myst Guidebook - A detailed fansite for the complete Myst series, including Uru, that provides an overview of each game as well as production information and, in some cases, hints and walkthroughs.
- Myst Worlds - The official website for those Myst titles that have been published by UbiSoft. The site features interviews with the developers, patches, demos, wallpapers, overviews, etc.
- World Building at Cyan - A brief history of the development of the Myst series, and its developer Cyan Worlds, by Apple Games (Oct, 2005 -- Archived).
- Wikipedia - An article about the series on the open encyclopedia, which furnishes information about both the game series and its associated works.
Front cover for Uru: The Path of the Shell
Front cover for Myst V: End of Ages (Limited Edition)
Front cover for Myst
Front cover for Ages of Myst
Front cover for realMyst: Masterpiece Edition
Screenshot from Uru: The Path of the Shell
Screenshot from Myst
Screenshot from Uru: To D'ni
Screenshot from Ages of Myst
Screenshot from realMyst: Masterpiece Edition