From Cyan and Broderbund
Myst starts with an interesting premise. You have just touched a book that transports you to another dimension. You have to learn everything about this place on your own. The game booklet has a few hints and information about saving games but no more details on what you are expected to do.
Part of the fun of Myst, for me, was just the experience. This was the first game I've ever played where the world so totally absorbed me. The graphics are jaw-dropping gorgeous (I saw a graphic artist do just that) and the music blends in well. The toys the brothers had in some of their bedrooms were quite fun. I love the gadget that goes from a rose to a skull as you move a switch.
It is also the first game I played where some clues are based on sound not sight (or a description when you pick up an object.)
The game play is very simple. You have a hand which shows you what directions you can move. To manipulate an object, point at it and click. If nothing happens, you can't do anything with this object (unless there is a handle/button and you failed to click on the correct part). You cannot die in this game and I believe that you cannot get the game to a position where you cannot win. Also, there is only one type of thing you can carry around with you, which limits the puzzles to a large extent.
There are a few embedded quicktime videos, carefully set up so the quality is high even though the picture is small. I like the effect used to blur out the brothers in each book when you first find those books. I just about jumped out of the chair after entering a certain room in the Channelwood age.
The biggest gripe is, I just wished there was more of it. More worlds to explore, perhaps the possibility of having puzzles that involved needing to visit world 1 then world 2 before you can solve the puzzle in world 3.
Also the end could have been more exciting. You don't get to watch something important (description withheld for those who haven't played it) and then you're told you can wander through the worlds of Myst. Very bland.
Also having just looked at it again after putting it aside for a bit over a year, I'd say the replay potential of this game is low. I could almost from memory go directly to the end game.
I (and a lot of others) have been waiting for the sequel. It should be bigger and better, now that they've had such a splendid start. I can see how some gamers would find this boring. You are alone in the world, no interactions and little action. I suspect the Myst is a love-it-or-hate-it game.
New update. Myst 2 is being made. I've been told by someone from Cyan that several of the gripes above have been dealt with in the new game. Also that the graphics are going to be much better. No release date yet, but something to be aware of.
In spite of the fact that I finished this game in about 5 days (3 of which were normal work days), I do love it. It shows the potential for games with more realistic environments and puzzles that are part of the world.
I had read an abstract on using virtual reality to cure people of a fear of heights, which I have to a small extent (well, that depends on how high you want to talk about. :) ) Channelwood showed me that it really was possible to get that sensation of height even through a normal computer screen with no VR enhancements. The combination of rickety-looking walkways and a noticeable drop below made me feel slightly queasy. Actually, in real life, I never would have been able to use one of those walkways.