*Writer\u2019s Game Experience: Initial and complete playthrough in 2018. Have not played Myst before 2018 and not on any other platform.*\r\n\r\n![The North American box art](http://www.segasaturnshiro.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Cover-Art-Myst-320x360.jpg)\r\n\r\n**Saturn Myst**: some people love it, some hate it, and a whole lot just don\u2019t understand it anymore (or, never have). It\u2019s one of those games that everyone seemed to have back in the day, but few people actually completed, and fewer still talked about it \u2013 on Saturn, at least.\r\n\r\n![The Saturn title screen](http://www.segasaturnshiro.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/00000003.jpg)\r\n\r\nFirst, some history on Myst: the original Myst released for the Macintosh platform on a CD-ROM all the way back in 1993, and it was a massive hit. In fact, it was a showpiece of what could be achieved with the all-new CD-ROM medium. It was also a game that seemed to attract non-traditional gamers \u2013 and remember, back in 1993, casual gaming wasn\u2019t a \u2018thing\u2019. It went on to become the best-selling CD-ROM game of all time, and amazingly, held that title all the way until 2002. As a killer app, it was ported to most of the CD-based platforms of the time, from mainstream systems such as the 3DO and PlayStation, to the less so, such as the Atari Jaguar CD and the Phillips CD-i, amongst others. The Saturn version arrived as a **1994 launch title in Japan**. It was planned as a North American launch title as well but ended up arriving a few months later due to Sunsoft and Acclaim being caught unawares by Sega\u2019s surprise May 1995 launch. \r\n\r\n![(The Options Menu)](http://www.segasaturnshiro.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/00000006.jpg) \r\n\r\nThe Saturn port of Myst is very faithful to the original release and is one of the few Saturn games to **support the NetLink Mouse**. The mouse was not released in NA until 1997; therefore, there is no mention of mouse support on either the box or in the manual. It does work, though \u2013 this journalist has completed his playthrough using the mouse, and it does play more naturally than it does with the standard controller. Cursor speed, as well as the transition speed / effects between images during gameplay, can be adjusted in the options menu. Direct save is supported to the system memory and to the backup cartridge, with each save file taking up a mere 4 blocks of memory with five slots available at a time, per save location. In an odd twist, in order to load a saved game, the player must first begin a \u2018new\u2019 game \u2013 arriving at the dock of Myst island \u2013 before the loading menu can be accessed. Also of note is the way in which the still images were ported to Saturn \u2013 the original Macintosh resolution images are 543x332 actual image pixels against a 640x480 screen, which means that the game displays black borders on all sides. These borders have partially made it over to the Saturn \u2013 the Saturn runs the game in its\u2019 standard 320x224 resolution and features upper and lower borders only and an overall reduction in resolution by a factor of approximately 2. Generally speaking, this downgrade in resolution does not hinder gameplay and is only readily apparent in a few single screens (for example, the letter to Catherine displays much crisper on the Mac), (COMPARISON IMAGE) although it is easily noticeable when directly comparing the original game side by side with the Saturn port. Both the original and the Saturn port display 256 colors on screen at a time, which does not seem like a lot, but the artists did a good job in making this look natural. \r\n\r\n![Saturn resolution 320 x 224](http://www.segasaturnshiro.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/00000003-2-.jpg)\r\n\r\n![Original Macintosh resolution 640 x 480. Note the difference in border placement.](http://www.segasaturnshiro.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/myst-note-mac.jpg)\r\n\r\nGameplay is your standard run-&-gun fare. You select from a range of high-powered artillery, and go on a rampage, killing all the zombies that infest Myst island. Ahh\u2026 wait a minute\u2026 no. Not Myst. **There are no zombies.** In fact, there are no people for the player to interact with at all. There are no inventory screens, no healing items, no time limits, no way to lose, no way to die. There are only a small few items to be found in the game (i.e., book pages), music is infrequent, and there\u2019s but a sparse spattering of motion. See, Myst is best \u2018mechanically\u2019 described as a series of still renders that are linked by the player clicking on certain hot-spots on those renders. \r\n\r\n![This is where your adventure begins](http://www.segasaturnshiro.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/00000005.jpg)\r\n\r\nThe adventure starts with the player appearing on a dock, facing a set of stairs in the distance ahead. Clicking on the stairs brings up a new render, with the player now being at the foot of those stairs. Want to climb? Click on the stairs and the next render that loads moves the player to the top. Now\u2026 do you go left, or do you take a *medium right, maybe?** This is the essence of game \u2013 a collection of roughly 2500 still renders all linked together by position and context-sensitive clicks. To spice things up, there are occasional bits where motion is displayed. Essentially, small-window FMV movies are cleverly integrated into the still renders to give the illusion that you are interacting with a living, breathing world. This can be expressed as motion viewed through the window of an elevator, moving images in the pages of a magic book, or scenery viewed through the porthole of a transport craft. There are also subtle animations for levers being pulled, doors sliding open, knobs being turned, and the like, but that about does it for motion in Myst. The effect is generally pulled off quite well, but there are a few instances where the colors in the video don\u2019t fully blend in with the background, or there are artifacts during playback, and you are well aware of where the video square lies. Luckily, these instances are very rare, and during most other times, the blend is seamless and unnoticeable.\r\n\r\n![A linking book. Finding these is your key to the ages of Myst.](http://www.segasaturnshiro.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/00000023.jpg)\r\n\r\nMyst was a head-turner upon its release on Macintosh in September 1993 because the **graphics were amazingly realistic** \u2013 think back to the cartoony games of the day as a comparison. However, by the time the game landed on the Japanese Saturn in November 1994, and again on the North American Saturn in September 1995, the game had already started showing its age. Between Myst\u2019s initial Macintosh release and its arrival on North American Saturn, games like Virtua Fighter, Daytona USA, Doom, and others had come out. Their MUCH flashier visuals started making Myst look more and more like a very basic, almost amateurish effort visually. As time continued its inexorable march forward, this only became more glaring. However, the Saturn connoisseur who gives Myst a chance will be treated to **an interesting puzzle game**, a fascinating story of deceit and betrayal, and a look at the first steps of early \u2018photo-realistic\u2019 graphic rendering.\r\n\r\n![The Mechanical Age](http://www.segasaturnshiro.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/00000016.jpg)\r\n\r\nLooking past the graphics, Myst\u2019s other draw - and what has aged much better - is the game\u2019s puzzles and its plot. Without giving too much away, one of the objectives of the game is to search various lands (here called ages) for pages out of a pair of books that lie in the library at the island of Myst. Finding the pages involves moving around the various worlds and solving puzzles, some relatively simple and others frustratingly obtuse. The game leaves clues in many places, but never in places that are near, so pen and paper will be your friend on this adventure. Bringing the missing pages back to the library provides the gamer with short messages from two brothers who appear to be trapped in the books, each vying for your help in escaping and begging to leave their brother trapped. Hmm. The game has four possible conclusions based on how you end up tackling the trapped brother dilemma, and that, coupled with the way the game is structured, gives it a blended flavor of part traditional pen-and-paper role-playing game and part choose-your-own-adventure novel. When the game is played without any biases towards graphics, it ends up being an enjoyable, cerebral, slow-paced puzzle game that can engage the player in that oh-so-subtle way. You know you are \u2018into\u2019 Myst if **you lose track of your time playing** and forget when it was that you became that engrossed in the first place. \r\n\r\n![Will you help Sirrus by finding all the red pages?](http://www.segasaturnshiro.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/00000021.jpg)\r\n\r\nThe Saturn disc also includes a **\u2018The Making of Myst\u2019** video that was created around the time Myst was in development. A very neat addition, it gives a glimpse of how the game came to be, what the developers were aiming for, what constraints they had to work around, and the technology they used. The video, contemporary at the time, is now a neat historical look at cutting-edge game development of the early 1990s. Very few Saturn games include such extras; Myst is one of these games, and the addition is appreciated.\r\n\r\nCompleting the package is a relatively bare-bones manual that includes a few pages of basic game operation followed by a good 10 blank pages devoted to the player\u2019s note-taking. This is also unique, and implicitly compels the player to take notes and draw diagrams as they proceed on their adventure.\r\n\r\n![The Stoneship Age. If only these scenes moved in real time, eh readers?](http://www.segasaturnshiro.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/00000025.jpg)\r\n\r\nWill today\u2019s gamer still enjoy Myst? **Yes\u2026 possibly**. Myst will appeal to logic puzzle fans and gamers who enjoy their gameplay experiences to be story-driven, so long as these folks are able to look past the archaic visuals and the dated way in which the user interfaces with the game world. Obviously, Myst is not for everyone, but so long as the above criteria and caveats are met, the player will enjoy this historic piece of software.\r\n\r\n**Shiro Challenges?** Is that even possible for Myst? Let\u2019s do the best we can. It\u2019s all about having fun, after all\u2026\r\n\r\n \u2022\tPlay Myst using the NetLink mouse. This is a better control experience compared to the standard controller. Remember, all Saturn peripherals are region-free, so a JPN mouse will work just as well as a NA mouse.\r\n\r\n \u2022\tComplete the game without using any online guides / walkthroughs / hints. This one is hard, but the satisfaction from success is immense.\r\n\r\n \u2022\tMyst has 4 possible conclusions. Save near the end and experience all possible endings.\r\n\r\n \u2022\tUsing only your machete, take down the Zombie King without any\u2026. Aha! No\u2026 not in Myst. ****There are no zombies in Myst.****\r\n\r\n\r\nEnjoy Myst\u2026 the surrealistic adventure that will become your world!\r\n\r\n~Peter Malek\r\n\r\nSega Saturn, Shiro!\r\n\r\n**medium right, maybe* is a reference to Sega Rally Championship.