The gameplay of Myst consists of a first-person journey through an interactive world. The player moves the character by clicking on locations shown in the main display; the scene then crossfades into another frame, and the player can continue to explore. Players can interact with specific objects on some screens by clicking or dragging them. To assist in rapidly crossing areas already explored, Myst has an optional "Zip" feature. When a lightning bolt cursor appears, players can click and skip several frames to another location. While this provides a rapid method of travel, it can also cause players to miss important items and clues. Some items can be carried by the player and read, including journal pages which provide backstory. Players can only carry a single page at a time, and pages return to their original locations when dropped.
To complete the game, the player must explore the seemingly deserted island of Myst. There the player discovers and follows clues to be transported via "linking books" to several "Ages", each of which is a self-contained mini-world. Each Age—named Selenitic, Stoneship, Mechanical, and Channelwood—requires the user to solve a series of logical, interrelated puzzles to complete its exploration. Objects and information discovered in one Age may be required to solve puzzles in another Age, or to complete the game's primary puzzle on Myst. For example, in order to activate a switch, players must first open a safe and use the matches found within to start a boiler.
Apart from its predominantly nonverbal storytelling, Myst's gameplay is unusual among adventuring computer games in several ways. The player is provided with very little backstory at the beginning of the game, and no obvious goals or objectives are laid out. This means that players must simply begin to explore. There are no obvious enemies, no physical violence, and no threat of "dying" at any point, although it is possible to reach a few "losing" endings. There is no time limit to complete the game. The game unfolds at its own pace and is solved through a combination of patience, observation, and logical thinking.
Release Date: 24 september 1993
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