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Classic Games (Games) Games

Myst Was Supposed To Change the Face of Gaming. What Is Its Legacy? 374

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-still-don't-know-where-i'm-supposed-to-go dept.
glowend writes "On 24 September 1993, computer users were introduced to Myst. Grantland takes a look at the game's legacy, two decades on. Quoting: 'Twenty years ago, people talked about Myst the same way they talked about The Sopranos during its first season: as one of those rare works that irrevocably changed its medium. It certainly felt like nothing in gaming would or could be the same after it. Yes, Myst went on to sell more than 6 million copies and was declared a game-changer (so to speak), widely credited with launching the era of CD-ROM gaming. It launched an equally critically adored and commercially successful sequel, and eventually four more installments. Fans and critics alike held their breath in anticipation of the tidal wave of exploratory, open-ended gaming that was supposed to follow, waiting to be drowned in a sea of new worlds. And then, nothing.' Why didn't Myst have a larger impact?"
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Myst Was Supposed To Change the Face of Gaming. What Is Its Legacy?

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  • by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @06:57PM (#44942525) Journal

    And turned brass was everywhere. I loved the puzzles, the incredible transport monorails, the sheer quiet brilliance. And quiet it was, and cerebral. Still looking for something quite that good again.

  • Obligatory (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mitchell314 (1576581) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @07:01PM (#44942575)
    It lives on in minecraft . . . :D
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @07:12PM (#44942643)

    I blame Doom for unintentionally being the spark responsible for the stagnation of the entire video game industry for many years, spawning an ever-increasing multitude of insipid, uninspiring, mindless FPS where the only thing that ever improved were the graphics the video card could pump out.

  • by maxbash (1350115) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @07:47PM (#44942921)
    It's claim to fame was that Myst used Strata 3D for the scenes. It had a good begining, on its way to become a known name like Maya is now. Then in about 1996 their new multiplatform version became an unmangeable mess with them trying to add too many features at once. Their bank forced them to release it uncomplete and they quickly got a reputaion for releasing buggy crap. Suprisingly they are still around, but after some research I found their company is registered to a humble residential home. The company may be only be a side project for its founder now.
  • by electron sponge (1758814) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @07:58PM (#44942977)

    because for teenage boys shooting things and blowing stuff up is a lot more fun over the long hall

    For the long hall, you'll need to haul the sniper rifle with you. For the short hall, a shotgun or assault rifle will do.

    Speaking as someone who was a teenaged boy when Myst came out, I can honestly say no game interested me less than it did. I saw demos of it at the video game stores, and all the clerks would gush over it being amazing, groundbreaking, etc. I'd nod my head, say "okay dude, yeah, do you even know what you're talking about?" and go home to play Ultima VII. To me it looked like the Sierra * Quest games without the things that made those games fun.

    The game that I believe was the most influential from that period in time was Wolfenstein 3D, which was the seminal FPS game in my opinion. As a shareware game, it reached an audience of "anyone who had a modem and the number of a BBS with a halfway-decent files section." It was over the top, just a bit camp, and a thousand percent fun. You can even play it on Facebook now. [facebook.com] I got banned from my high school computer network for installing Wolf3D on the server. A teacher walked in and our entire Turbo Pascal class was slaying Nazis. My only defense was that it was more useful than learning Pascal. They were not amused.

    I agree with the parent poster that the attributes of FPS games are very alluring to teenaged boys, but I wouldn't necessarily consider that a bad thing (or a good thing, either). It is what it is.

  • by WMD_88 (843388) <kjwolff8891@yahoo.com> on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:26PM (#44943197) Homepage Journal

    It's kind of sad how low-resolution and overcompressed the in-game renders are by current standards.

    They actually aren't compressed at all; they are stored on the CD as uncompressed 16-bit images. Perhaps what you notice is the dithering? Myst was the same way, but 8-bit. Computers of the day weren't fast enough to decompress images during game play with decent speed.

    I have the original CD version, which still works on XP with a few tweaks. Have loved it since day 1. :) There is a project that is attempting to re-create the game in a real-time 3D engine: Starry Expanse [starryexpanse.com]. They have a small tech demo available.

  • Re:Obligatory (Score:4, Interesting)

    by stms (1132653) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:18PM (#44943495)

    I'm surprised no one has brought up Jonathan Blow's upcoming game The Witness it's heavily influenced by Myst. Check it out.
    http://the-witness.net/news/ [the-witness.net]
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Brd0F7rlXCI [youtube.com]

  • Re:What? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by magarity (164372) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:18PM (#44943501)

    Yep; the graphics were pretty but single solution set-piece puzzles are not all that fun. Myst was a tedious exercise in figuring out exactly in what order to do what the designers wanted you to do.

  • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortexNO@S ... t-retrograde.com> on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @11:07PM (#44944203)

    where the only thing that ever improved were the graphics the video card could pump out.

    Doom and its ilk used software rendering... in fact it was 2D ray-casted with a cheap 3D facade ("walls this far away are this tall, draw a one-pixel-wide strip of that height") on top of that (just like Wolf3D, but doom used more complex 2D BSP-based geometry)) ...but you for some reason think there was a GPU race in 1993 (the year Doom was released), even though the first consumer-grade 3D-accelerated cards didnt hit the market until 1995...

    Well, they may have been off base with the "video card" statement for a couple of years, but otherwise more correct than you care to admit, or know.

    Think back to the "Doom Clones" which where so pervasive it was the name everyone used for many years instead of "FPS". Then examine the landscape that followed. If you didn't have an established 3D engine licensed, publishers didn't want to talk to you. In that era of software rasterization we were able to pull off some pretty slick and interesting things (in the demoscene) as CPU speed and RAM size progressed. Hardware fixed function pipeline discrete graphics made everything look pretty much the same for a good long time. Only recently with heterogeneous computing will we be getting back much of the graphical & physics freedom we had with software rasterization.

    Now, think back before Doom. The Fully 3D Virtuality VR Arcade had Dactly Nightmare and Exorex. The PCs had Starglider2 (those guys went on to make starfox). We had Real 3D, though untextured (and on 386 machines). On 486, and Pentium one could do a whole hell of a lot more, the loads of RAM helped overcome lots of slow CPU calculations (look up tables everywhere). However, we had sacrificed "real" 3D for textures+2.5D (faux 3D). After the 3D HW boom there were so many different vendors to customize your code for really only the bigger shops could swing a stable widely supported engine... And when they did make an engine, it looked like every other engine out there... If someone did try something new looking, chances are no publisher would touch it, and if it was untextured most players wouldn't either.

    Say what you want, doesn't change reality. You're focusing on HW accel BS, when in reality anything untextured after Doom did suffer. You might not realize we did, in fact, lose a lot in gameplay over textures. And it WAS a graphics race, starting in the software rasterizer era, but those who had the money to come to market first carried it on into the 3D graphics card era. And Carmack did have a big part to play in the monotonous landscape of games for decades, beginning with Doom (though it wasn't the first shooter, Catacombs, Hovertank, Wolf3D, etc, it was the one that spurned the textured lust).

    To this day, publishers largely won't talk to you unless you've licensed ID or Unreal, or some other engine. A few indie games with custom engines are starting to turn their heads now though -- See: infini/Minecraft, etc. Look up stuff like Atomontage [youtube.com] (running on a meager laptop, primarily in software calculations / immediate mode), and wonder why that tech's not in any games yet, at least for world geometry -- Consoles don't have the RAM, and so established engines don't do it.

  • by Another, completely (812244) on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @02:42AM (#44945165)
    What killed Uru for me was that it stopped being pure puzzle-solving, and added technical run-and-jump obstacles. Sure, sometimes the solution was to push a chair off of a cliff above to create something to step on in the water, but then they also required pressing the jump button at just the right time. The brilliance of Myst and the sequels was that you had all the time in the world to think about the puzzle, and when you knew the answer, you could pretty much get it to work first time. Another great thing about it was that nobody ever explained the rules, and it wasn't always obvious whether an object represented a puzzle that would help you progress, or if it was just an interesting piece of scenery.
  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @03:41AM (#44945391) Journal

    Try Just Cause II as it has EXACTLY what you are describing. You can start a new game and after the first mission? You can just drive through the countryside if you desire and as long as you don't go running down cops or blasting people nobody will bother you. You can drive to the airport, pick up a plane or chopper and just fly around without being bothered, you can go down to the docs and get anything from a speedboat to a Junk and just go cruising, or if you buy the parachute thrusters DLC (just 99c) you can just jump into the air and fly your parachute all across the place, even use the grappler to grab onto boats and cars and go parasailing.

    Anyway as long as you have Vista or better (requires DX10) and even an average gaming card (it plays over 30FPS on my HD4850, a card you can get for less than $40 on Amazon) you can go where you want and do whatever you want, the entire world from the mountain tops to the ocean is 100% open from the get go. Sounds like exactly what you are looking for....but you really should go apeshit in that game at least once, nothing wilder than riding on the hood of a car going 165MPH+ and grappling a pursuing cop car to the ground and making it do the T3 car flip, tying a cop bike to a lamppost like Jedi, or blowing out the tires of a jeep and watching it cartwheel a dozen times before becoming a fireball, VERY cool.

  • by bickerdyke (670000) on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @05:14AM (#44945655)

    I never got the hang of Myst. Partly because the puzzle weren't adventure style. They were completly detached from the story! The graphics were great, but I never had any motivation why I should open these valves or turn that sundial. And finding out what the story is about at all by reading those text fragments at a 1995 monitor was a PITA!

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