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In what’s probably the oldest game title to get an upgrade for modern Macs, the legendary graphic adventure game Myst has just gotten a pretty substantial new release that brings compatibility with the latest Mac technologies and high-quality realtime 3D graphics.
This not only includes support for Apple’s M1 Silicon, but also Metal 2.1 and AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution, which gives it a 50 percent performance boost on M1 Macs, even while running at full 4K resolution.
This re-imagined version also features improved modelling, textures, and dynamic lighting effects, and while it’s optimized for Apple Silicon, it’s a universal binary that still runs fine on Intel machines as well. In fact, Cyan notes that it should work with any Mac released since 2018, as well as the 2017 iMac Pro.
Built from the ground up, Myst is teeming with new art, new sound, re-imagined interactions, and even optional puzzle randomization. Finally… the highly anticipated modern Myst experience has arrived!Cyan
Cyan also adds that the game has now been built using the Unreal Engine, and includes “fresh takes on the visuals in every area of the game.”
Notably, however, although the version of Myst available on Steam states that it supports VR play, this is intended for PC users of the game. The Mac App Store version of Myst notes in its FAQ that “This version of Myst does not support VR, as the platform itself does not support it.”
In addition to an entirely new graphic design, this latest version of Myst includes support for many different languages and new accessibility features, including dialogue and gameplay-context subtitles, thanks to a localized UI. Users can also now take photo captures in-game to keep track of what they’ve encountered, although those looking for a true sense of nostalgia may still prefer to pull out the pen and paper.
Developed by Rand and Robyn Miller and Cyan Worlds nearly 30 years ago, Myst has become one of the most famous adventure games of all time. It was one of the first games to take advantage of the then-massive amounts of storage offered by CD-ROM technologies, offering a pre-rendered world of graphics that were absolutely stunning for the technology of the day.
In fact, Myst sold more than six million copies in the first few years after its release, and remained the best-selling game in history for almost ten years before it was eclipsed by The Sims in 2002.
Since the Miller brothers were huge Mac fans, having been inspired by the Macintosh Hypercard development program, Myst was one of the first games to be released exclusively for the Mac. It sold a mind-blowing 200,000 copies in the first six months — a number that would have made it a best-selling game in the much larger PC market, but was absolutely astonishing in an era when the Mac was far less popular than it is today.
The game was ported to Windows a few months later, where it sold more than one million copies in its first year of release. Myst is also credited with helping to drive the adoption of CD-ROM drives, as it was the only way you could play the game.
Staying True to the Original
According to Myst developer Rand Miller, this latest release is the new “definitive version” of Myst, but despite several spin-offs, he and his brother Robyn felt it was important that this latest version stay as true as possible to the original.
While the 1993 Myst spawned several sequels, spinoffs, and even the 2000 remake realMyst, which introduced real-time motion graphics and added a new Rime age, this one is simply Myst — the original 1993 game built with today’s technology.
What we’ve been telling people, is we want this to be the ‘Myst’ you think you remember. This is what you picture in your head when you think of playing ‘Myst’ 30 years ago.Hannah Gamiel, Cyan development director
The team at Cyan notes that their goal was to make a game that brings players back to the way it felt to pop the CD-ROM into their drive for the first time back in 1993, while actually including all the things that many players had already filled in within their own minds.
For example, many Myst players remember seeing clouds in the sky during the opening scene of the game, when in reality it was only a plain grey background. Other objects like birds flying around in the sky gain extra details, and light now flickers through trees, and cranks and levers for puzzles are manipulated in a more realistic fashion.
This will especially hold true for those playing the game with an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive — and perhaps someday with Apple’s AR/VR headset — where players will actually have to grab and manipulate objects with their hands, from turning knobs to grabbing ladder rungs and pulling themselves up.
While the entire experience will be familiar to longtime Myst fans, the team at Cyan has thrown in a curveball for those who want to a challenge. Players can choose to randomize the solutions to all the classic puzzles, so veteran players can face the game with the need to figure everything out from scratch.
Robyn and I, we were just experimenting and we were young, and we really didn’t know what we were doing. But one of the things we wanted to do was make something that felt like a place. Not just a game, but a place. We succeeded, at least partially, and what that means is that people want to keep going back to that place. And as we make it better, they still are satisfied and fulfilled a little, going back to that place.Rand Miller
Mac users need to be running macOS Big Sur 11.5.2 or later, a quad-core Intel or M1 processor, and 8GB RAM, although Cyan recommends 16GB for the best performance on Intel Macs.