What It Was Like Playing Myst When You Were Not A Gamer

Whoa, Myst is 20 years old?! Remember the first time you played? It was the most confusing 14 hours of my life.

1. So first you make the mistake of reading this mega-effed up book that deposits you on some messed-up island. And it doesn’t take you long to realize that unless you’re a fucking genius, you’re stuck there.

2. You find this note on the ground and you’re all, “Jeez, litter much?”

3. Huh. The note is interesting. Atrus is a cool name. Except…what’s a “fore-chamber”? OK, you’ll just keep this all in mind. It’s not too much to remember, right?

4. There are all these switch-y thingies all over the island and you just keep clickin’ them but nothing happens! Why?!

5. You can’t figure out whether this is like some sort of planetarium or if it’s the island’s dental office.

6. You’re into this library. It does all these cool things like make secret passageways and you can curl up in the fireplace.

7. And then there’s this shelf of books. Some are burned but some are mad long! And you’re intrigued and all, but you can’t focus because you’re like, gotta see all the things!

8. Ahh! In the library, you somehow get two special books talking and it’s these crazy dudes Sirrus and Achenar who are like “bring me the blue pages!” or “bring me the red pages!” And you’re like, um, get them yourselves. What am I, your maid?

9. There’s a spaceship! This is so cool. Except you can’t get in. Not cool.

10. You explore some more…

11. You see this and you think, “Bummer.” But maybe it has something to do with the ship by the dock? Hmmm.

12. You find this clocktower, which you feel must be important but for some reason you can’t simply swim there. Nope. That would be too easy.

13. Here’s a log cabin with one of those clicker things. Click click click click! Nope. Still nothing. WHY DON’T YOU WORK, LITTLE BOX THING?

14. By now, you’re circling back to the start because you’re just so goddamned confused. So you’re randomly, frantically messing with all the buttons everywhere. Clickclicklclick!!! WHYYYY.

15. Sooner or later, you become really frustrated because all your friends are farther along than you in Myst and you know there are these other cool worlds you need to access. Like the Stoneship Age.

16. Or the Mechanical Age.

17. Or the Channelwood Age, which features these suspended walkways connected by amazingly cool treehouses.

18. Or the Selenitic Age.

19. You begin to realize that if you’re going to get anywhere or understand anything, you’re gonna have to go back to the library and read those books.

But the reason you’re playing a computer game is precisely to not read books!

20. And when you ask your friends who are WAY into Myst or other computer/video games for some help, they are like a) read the books and b) you’re not even trying.

21. And so you take their advice. You read the books. The ones that tell you how to play Myst.

And it is immensely satisfying.

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