Few games had the intergenerational appeal of Myst. Its focus on story and graphics struck a chord with practically every age group. So much so it dominated the bestseller charts for ages. With its success, the Multimedia boon from a few years ago was truly here. In 1996 one comedian set out to lampoon this growingly digital facet of pop culture, they created a company to do so, and set their first target on the adventure game behemoth that adored old and new alike. That game was Pyst.
Pyst premise is simple but effective; what would happen to the island of Myst after 4 million people came and visited, with the rampant disregard that tourists treat every pristine place. You set about exploring the island, with litter, graffiti and refuse everywhere. You find postcards of some of the visitors… Caricatures mainly as you walk across the barren, polluted island to King Mattruss.
The brainchild of comedian Peter Bergman, the game does more than just skewer Myst: Gen X, cryptic computer complaints, and crass consumerism are just some of the many topics that Pyst manages to throw fun at. Throughout the convincing recreations of classic locations. You encounter Prince Syrup in the reflective pool from the original Myst. His name a play on a character from the game. The famous observatory has been wrecked and inside rendered a Horoscope generator. Outside is no longer a serine path surrounded by pillars, instead, an enormous television set complete with exercise routines. The entire island is like this and is just waiting for you to explore.
As an actual game, there isn’t that much to do compared to the original Myst. I guess all the hard logic puzzles were solved by those who came before you. It is a pretty approachable parody tough. This being the age of multimedia interactivity (or a parody at least) the CD hosts a wide assortment of animations, classic FM Video of Peter Bergman and even John Goodman himself, all doing goofy skits parodying consumer watchdog shows and workout videos. There’s even a musical number at the end with Godman and the like, a nice bonus that can be accessed at any time in the menu.
The e-parody concept does show potential here, combined with the internet offerings that Parroty Interactive enthusiastically supported. In a way, it feels like a precursor to a lot of the comedy skits and parodies that gained steam in the wild west days of flash and YouTube. Those who find that humour enjoyable may still see a lot of charm in the jokes here. If you have fond memories of Myst or are on a John Goodman completionism quest. I recommend a day-trip to Pyst Island, though do remember to pick up after yourselves.
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