Myst is one of the best-selling video games in human history, but it never quite launched a genre. An odd mix of point-and-click adventure game with a first-person perspective, there were plenty of imitators, but really it was a game unto itself. And now the Myst team wants to see if they can do it again, with Obduction.
As for the plot, well… it’s very much what you’d expect. It’s either a whimsical dose of dream-logic or a bunch of hippie crap you tolerate to get to the brain-bending puzzles:
On a crystal clear, moon-lit night, a curious, organic artifact drops from the sky and inexplicably whisks you away across the universes to who-knows-where (or when, or why).
And, as anyone who ever played Myst or Riven knows, exploring everything around you allows you to read between the lines and to begin to answer your questions. Why is there an old, abandoned farmhouse – complete with white picket fence – in the middle of an alien landscape? You’ll find out.
Notably absent is any discussion of puzzle design. One thing that hasn’t changed about Myst over the years is that the puzzles haven’t gotten any less bizarre or brain-bending, even if the game itself is fair. There are people out there who first started learning piano trying to figure out the deal with that damn rocket ship, just like there are people out there who managed to crack the island itself without having to go to any of the Ages.
That said, these guys know their graphics, and the name Cyan is powerful enough that people are throwing $10,000 at this just to have dinner with Rand Miller. It’ll be interesting to see if it hits its goal; they’re nearly there, but only have eight days to go. I’ll kick in, guys, but first I’ve got this puzzle you need to solve…