Wednesday, April 30, 2008


A couple of nights ago I loaded Myst IV onto my new computer, thinking I'd give it another go after running aground on its very first puzzle the last time I tried.

This time I've had more success. I've managed to find my way from one Age to another, solved a few puzzles, slid down a very cool lava tube and lost my patience with panpipe music. And yet I've felt vaguely dissatisfied by it all.

It's taken me a while to work out why, but now I think I have. It came to me when I realised that each session had ended with me being stuck on yet another gorgeously rendered but irritatingly opaque puzzle thrust upon me by the intensely smug members of Atrus' family.

Sweet merciful crap, I said. You people are all Mac users, aren't you.

It made sense. The surroundings are exquisitely beautiful and filled with subtle sound effects, but if you want to actually do anything you run up against dense graphical interfaces that don't make any sense until you've spent half an hour pushing every button in different orders and finally made something happen. And of course all of this technology is gorgeously stylish but it invariably breaks down within five minutes of you coming across it, if it wasn't broken before you arrived.

An early prototype of the iMac in Steve Jobs' back yard.

Meanwhile everyone around you is incredibly self-satisfied, and there are signs of earth-nurturing, tree-hugging hippie crap everywhere. The characters are all creative, intelligent and incredibly dysfunctional... that is when they're not being crashing megalomaniacs.

Ah, so that's what the inside of a MacBook Air looks like.

So here's a little message to the patriarch of the Myst universe: don't come the gentle artisanal genius with me, Atrus. Your sons are both psychopaths, your wife is a flake, and you daughter is more annoyingly precocious than Dakota Fanning in an Elmo costume. Here's an idea: how about taking a break from telling me what to do while designing partially-functional art deco machinery and booking yourselves into some family therapy!


Blogger 2BarRiff said...


Bleah. Try Pyst instead.

7:59 PM  
Anonymous TroyG said...

Pyst is funny and as simple as Myst is tricky.

Incidentally "mist" (it's a homophone so I think that's enough of a segway) is German for "dirt" or "dung".

I guess that's why the Rolls Royce Silver Mist didn't sell too well in Germanic areas.

9:50 AM  

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