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MYST: In the Eyes of Non-Fanboys/Fangirls

#1 User is offline   Andrewnuva199 

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 09:12 AM

So I'm browsing PCGamer's weekly articles on Crapshoots of the PC genre, and I noticed that a article covering a Myst-like game was very devoted to the fact that not everyone likes these games, to put it mildly:

Quote

When I say that I hate the Myst series, I’m not being entirely fair. Oh, they are dreadful, don’t get me wrong – the most fun I ever had with them was imagining that their backstories were a lie, and really the inhabitants of these pretty-but-boring worlds died out because some idiot locked their only toilet with a stupid puzzle that required them to demonstrate knowledge of local celestial movements before they got to take a bowel one. If you put me on a desert island with a computer and the entire series, I would snap one of the discs in half and use it to slice my own wrists open. Probably Riven.

Really though, what I hate about them is what they did to adventures – convince people that no, we didn’t want characters or plotting (and please, spare me the links to a wiki about the intricate backstory of the Stoneship Age) or puzzles with an actual reason to get in our way. Now, if you could render a vaguely pretty world and put some unmarked levers and dials on it, your job was done. In the entire history of Myst-type games, I can list maybe five I genuinely consider worth having given a chance.


Full article here.

And get this. They have a little contest for giving away free copies of the game the article covers (because it is appearently a nice little gem), and the requirement for it is leaving a good answer to this question: How would you destroy the world’s last ever copy of Myst?

Just take a look at some of the comments being left. Really gives you an idea of what things are like outside the Cavern, eh?
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#2 User is offline   Lostthyme 

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 12:49 PM

I think I would put it in a microwave. Then at least it would go out with a shower of beautiful sparks.

Oh wait. Uh. Posted Image

It is interesting to see what some non-fans think about it, but the author of that article seems derisively snarky. It must have brought all the other haters out of the woodwork, too.
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#3 User is offline   aander91 

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 03:42 PM

I sense much butthurt.

Can we think of some snarky comebacks to try to win a copy of this? The comments pretty much all suck and aren't clever at all. It pretty much just amounts to about 100 comments of "I would blow it up elegantly." Surely we can come up with something covertly supportive yet still gloriously destructive.
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#4 User is offline   Topher Bear 

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 04:45 PM

I bet the author likes mindless shoot 'em up, full of pointless blood and gore and stupidly over powerful weapons, something that won't tax his rather undersized brain.

To win the comp I think you need to put something along the lines, of leaving the copy in a far of age locked in a sealed room protected by some kind of lock that requires a convoluted puzzle to solve to find the combination. However the copy is hanging over a vat of acid at the end of a chain which is slowly winding itself downwards. There is also a camera rigged up so that you can see it about to be dunked. Now you can either attempt to locate the sealed room and solve the puzzle before it recieves its acid bath, or simply sit back and watch it go, without all the effort.

I think something like that might go down well. Not with me mind.
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#5 User is offline   Andrewnuva199 

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 09:38 PM

View PostTopher Bear, on 05 August 2011 - 04:45 PM, said:

I bet the author likes mindless shoot 'em up, full of pointless blood and gore and stupidly over powerful weapons, something that won't tax his rather undersized brain.


Oh, don't be so hard on the guy. He clearly respects the adventure game genre, he had quite a few good things to say about the game that's mostly talked about in the article (Zork: Grand Inquistor) and Maniac Mansion, for instance.

It just seems that he hates Myst for its choice for (as he sees) unreasonable puzzle placement, the decision to make finding out the story part of the gameplay, and little direct character interaction and development. Which we enjoy to points, of course, but it's a matter of opinion. He also says that he doesn't like that Myst's success inspired other adventure games to copy its style, which appearently caused a bit of a downward spiral for the adventure game genre, which isn't entirely Myst's fault, but could be said to be legimate reasons for dismay with the series.
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#6 User is offline   aander91 

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 10:44 PM

Myst didn't kill the genre, we've been slowly digressing into more and more fast paced and straight forward games since Doom.

I shouldn't say digressing, some of my favorite games are shooters and other types of games completely devoid of demanding logic or strategy.
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#7 User is offline   AaronAKAAtrus 

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 09:41 AM

I would give it to zandi. He'd try making play on his boombox so much that he would break it out of frustration or it would get extremely scratched.
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#8 User is offline   Lusus Naturae 

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 01:44 AM

I'd tape it to a tactical warhead, which I'd then launch at the heart of Ahnonay. Rest in pieces, you infernal machine!

On a more serious note, I can understand where the guy is coming from. A lot of the puzzles in a lot of the games are really shoehorned in. Especially in the first couple. But it's just a different style of game. It's about atmosphere, even if that atmosphere puts a lot of people off. They're not wrong to dislike it; they're just looking at it from another perspective.

But games like Exile and Uru did a legitimately outstanding job of making a good number of puzzles fit. Despite my deep and lasting hatred for Ahnonay, it's executed really well. It's obtuse, annoying and sadistic, but it's believable. To a lesser extent, I also liked how Kadish Tolesa's puzzles were essentially an ancient security system.
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#9 User is offline   Gehn, lord of ages 

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 07:44 AM

Yeah, MYST's puzzles were almost completely random. Maybe Channelwood wasn't, but most of the Ages had predominantly tacked on puzzles (especially the rather mixed up main island of Myst). Where they fit, though, they fit pretty well and in interesting ways. Just, for most of the puzzles, there wasn't much care taken into how they fit.

This didn't cause the success of Myst, but it didn't really hurt it. The atmosphere, plot, graphics, and surreal aspects could stay independent of the puzzles. The result is that everyone saw that that format worked, and since it's easier to do in a lot of cases than really logical puzzles it got popular (easier especially if you don't want to deal with mainly inventory puzzles). Nobody could really copy the rest of the formula that made Myst special, especially as technology marched on and the genre was no longer new and unique.

Riven and the later games tried a bit more to keep the puzzles well integrated (to varying degrees of success - Riven wasn' too bad, Exile was fine except for Amateria, J'nanin, and Narayan, Revelation's puzzles were textbook puzzle games but mostly made some sense where they were, Uru actually did very well...), but they didn't really create the copycat craze that the original game had (because they are just sequels).

Now, I'd say that a fair number of other popular adventure/puzzle games have had the same problem with copy cats and a loss of logical puzzles, story, etc. There's a lot of poor adventure games out there that don't have much of an ancestry in Myst - a lot of ones with convoluted inventory puzzles, for example.


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#10 User is offline   Prince Sunner 

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 04:33 PM

How would I dispose of the last copy of Myst? I'll shamefully admit I threw my copy of Myst into the trash can. I had my reasons: it was scratched, wasn't working too well anymore, and I didn't see myself ever wanting to go back to it. Not when I had Myst 3: Exile. ...which come to think of it nowadays looks positively primitive, but at the time it seemed like the future.

Let me lay out my experience with adventure games, in no particular order.
- Myst: Couldn't get anywhere in it until someone told me about the tower in the library.
- Riven: I persisted because of how pretty it was but for the most part had to cheat through that as well.
- Myst 3 Exile: The only Myst game I genuinely liked because I could complete most of it without a walkthrough. I believe the magic phrase is "providing enough hints to know what to do". Don't give all the hints away at first, but have them there if I need it. I didn't even know about those knickknacks in Atrus's study.
- Journeyman Project 3: Tried a demo of it, couldn't get anywhere even with the robot companion.
- The 7th Guest: Decent in looks, but the puzzles are dreadful and just as random as those in Myst (luckily I was able to complete a few of the puzzles without help).
- The 11th Hour: Sequel to 7th Guest. Same problems, but at least it had a hintbook with progressively more-spoileriffic hints so I wasn't completely helpless. And I might have a morbid fascination with the rat puzzle, just in how something so simple can cause so much frustration.
- Secret of Monkey Island: Should be by all accounts be the perfect adventure game for me, but I either got stuck or quickly lost interest. I'm really no fan of the inventory-puzzle style of games.
- Inherit the Earth: Forced myself through it just because furry games are so rare, and it sadly is also an inventory-puzzle style game, but fortunately it's a little easier and it's fun to look at and listen to.
- Chasm: Ah yes, you all know this online game. It's tough, but fun to play. Usually trial and error will get you through the more tricky spots, so at least I was able to eventually complete it (had to use a walkthrough for the pipe maze though).
- Sam & Max, the "Lincoln Must Die" episode: That was amazing. Yes I had to glance at a walkthrough a few times, but it has a good sense of humor and nothing seems to be too much of a stretch.
- The Neverhood: Straightforward once you know what to do, but no cakewalk. At least you don't have to keep too close an eye on inventory, since Klayman puts things inside himself and then takes them out automatically as needed. It's a great, underappreciated game. It's also criminally short, but I don't care when I'll be humming "Olly Oxen Free" and "Operator Plays a Little Ping-Pong" for a long time.
- Grim Fandango: I can safely say this is the best adventure game I've ever played, and it's a shame it's difficult to get ahold of and run on modern computers. It is possible - just had to install a third-party installer and eventually put in some Registry keys. The 3D areas are refreshing (kinda reminds me of Resident Evil but in a good way), has good humor to it, cutscenes are enjoyable. Yes there's inventory management to deal with, but it's not too annoying, even if I had to memorize what key makes me use it. Only major problem is that many of the puzzle solutions are very obscure. If you know what you're doing, the game doesn't seem that long, but oh did Year 2 feel like it took five years to complete (more like six hours). My favorite part was probably near the beginning, going up to that cool-looking parade and hearing the awesome "Ninth Heaven" music, talking to that wise-cracking clown. "Well you don't have a tongue, but that doesn't seem to shut you up now does it?"
- Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People, the "8-Bit Is Enough" episode: Just like with Telltale's "Sam & Max" episodes, this just feels user-friendly and is a blast to play. Having been a long-time fan of Homestar Runner, I caught many of the references. Had to go to a walkthrough a few times as usual, but it's refreshing that several items can be picked up in any order and, like with Sam & Max, you're never permanently stuck. My favorite part was Strong Bad talking with the Videlectrix guys.
Spoiler



...hmm, either we've forgotten the topic or this topic was posted to the wrong area. I can't really think of any funny uses to get rid of a Myst CD. I was going to use it like one of those Tron frisbees of doom.
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