1993’s Myst was a video game phenomenon. Just read this EW article from October, 1994—even during a time when computer games were very much a sequestered entertainment medium, Myst got mainstream attention more than a year after its release. It was kind of like The Sims of the 90s—everyone had a copy, even if they didn’t know why. At the time, Myst was thought to be the future of storytelling—the beginnings of a bold new form of entertainment. That never really caught on, but much like Twin Peaks, Myst is getting another shot.
According to Variety, Legendary Entertainment has just closed a deal with Myst creators Rand and Robyn Miller to turn the game into a new series, either for network or digital. The creators will be involved, and they hope to turn Myst into an immersive transmedia franchise, with a companion game and other apps expanding on the show’s story. Here’s the thing: it could actually work.
While most summaries of Myst will talk about how players take on the role of someone called “The Stranger” and solve puzzles to uncover a world of intrigue, that doesn’t really capture what makes Myst special. Myst was so captivating because it didn’t tell you a thing. You didn’t play as “The Stranger,” you played as yourself—the world was presented to you in the first-person perspective, and didn’t explain a thing to you. You were alone on a strange and beautiful island, and as you wandered around, you’d find strange things: trap doors and diaries and puzzles. Each discovery was more intriguing than the last, and throughout it all, you’d wonder, “Why is this all here?” And eventually, piece by piece, the game would answer your questions.
That sort of experience, where the act of watching and reading and interacting is one of discovery, where you’re presented with a beautiful world that doesn’t explain itself to you but invites you to figure it out—that’s a thing that’s ripe for reinventing from the ground up. And since the Myst games have been dormant since 2005’s Myst V: End of Ages, it stands to reason that those involved aren’t looking to cash in on a hot property, but choosing to adapt a story that has potential to be something new and interesting.
If you want to play Myst, you can get it on just about any platform (including iOS and Android) here.