As the first-ever full-fledged parody of a CD-ROM — excluding all the half-baked games that are parodies of themselves — Pyst is to Myst what MAD magazine’s ”201 Min. of a Space Idiocy” was to the Stanley Kubrick movie: a pretension-busting romp through a ripe-for-puncturing cult classic.
In Pyst, players take a tour of the eponymous dump of an island, which (as perky guides explain in breezy voice-overs) is about to become a high-priced real estate development. The disc has 10 amusingly cluttered tableaux, including the Chernobyl Room (a nuclear reactor that appears to be only slightly safer than the one in The Simpsons) and Alien Trash (which reconfigures Myst’s famous rocket as a creaky rust bucket with an AC extension cord). Unlike Myst, Pyst offers no problems to be solved — the excruciatingly enigmatic hints scattered throughout are meaningless and just part of the joke — but this shortfall is partly compensated by the appearance of Roseanne‘s John Goodman, who has a jolly good time in his brief cameo as King Mattruss.
Pyst‘s humor ranges from the sublime (the ”I bought Netscape at 20!” graffito in the Horror-Scopium) to the sophomoric (clicking on the bong and seeing a puff of smoke is fun, but I could have done without the dog piddling on a totaled car). It’s not worth the price of Myst, but for a mere 15 bucks, a couple of million people might appreciate the joke. B+