New rumblings about a Myst movie were more or less irresistible as strip material. Now, though, as the most deeply Myst obsessed human being affixed to this planet, I must spend the rest of the post walking it back.
It’s simply a misnomer that Myst has no story. It has the very oldest kind of story in fact, one about fathers and sons. If it had been less spellbinding visually, maybe somebody would remember it. As it stands, Myst - for most people, on whatever platform they find it - is a game about a lighthouse. Is that still better than a game about the most recent, largely mute space Corporal? Probably.
Myst IV and URU in particular tell stories that aren’t just fascinating for their explicit storytelling, but which I mean the kind of storytelling one typically sees, which is to say those portions of a game that in capital letters blink on and off with the words “THIS IS THE STORY PART DOG.” These are games whose richest narrative is inherent in their respective worlds, where the “puzzles” arise organically from the personalities in play. The places you visit in Myst are all created by someone, which makes them reflections of their character, so when you make your way through these places their mind is laid bare.
There is a segue now, but don’t be alarmed. It’s a circle; we’re just looping around.
TGS saw the announcement of a bunch of weird Kinect experiments out of Japan, but the most surprising part of that announcement wasn’t the roster, though it had its share of invigorating psychoactive compounds. No, it was that so many of them are bound not for the retail shelf but are destined for XBLA - denizens of the company store. I breathed a sigh of relief, not just for the delicious cart of electronic Dim Sum they’d apparently commissioned but because I think in terms of scope and scale, XBLA and Xbox Live Indie Games stand a much better chance of communicating something noteworthy with the hardware. XBLIG because that psychotic fraternity will, like a dented can, incubate the strangest and most dangerous sort of creatures. And XBLA because the raw mathematics of the model mean that people can bet on a neat idea without having to hedge it into some reductive paste so it won’t spook the Goddamned normals at Target.
To my mind, nothing could communicate the soul of Kinect better than Myst - a “tactile” world of mysterious devices and interactive art, where precision blasting is no virtue.