The best-selling personal computer game of the 1990s, Myst is a first-person fantasy puzzle in which The Stranger—a character controlled by a single player or a team—travels through an enchanted book to the isle of Myst, where more charmed books and enigmatic talismans await. The goal is to travel to several worlds, known as Ages, and to obtain clues by interacting with objects—either clicking on them or dragging them. Players follow a trail, solve a mystery, and try to discover what has happened to other characters in the game, working toward a number of possible outcomes. Myst introduced a new and sophisticated sense of space and movement to computer games, using highly advanced graphics and 3D animation to create seamless changes of scenery and an atmospheric progression that led some players to call the gaming experience mystical, even religious. Its immersive quality was a breakthrough in interaction design and video game history. In the 1990s, whole communities grew up around Myst’s puzzles. The code for the game’s advanced graphics was so hefty that it had to be distributed by CD-ROM disks, the most advanced option at the time.
Gallery label from Applied Design, March 2, 2013–January 31, 2014.