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*sigh* RealMyst

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johnhattan

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I saw something disappointing on the web this morning. It's a review of RealMyst, and I was saddened to see what the reviewer had to say about it. He started out by unfavorably comparing Myst to 7th Guest. Why did he consider Myst to lag behind? Because 7th Guest had nice animated transitions from location and location, which made the game seem "more immersive".

One thing he never mentioned, though, is how sadly non-immersive 7th Guest was, because the puzzles were so obviously disconnected from the plot. Here's an example of the kind of puzzle you'd need to solve in each game:



Myst: You see a key in the bottom of a well, tied to a chest. You figure out that if you flood the well, the chest will float up to you, and you can get the key. You go into the pump-house and figure out the combination to flood the well, and you get the key.

7th Guest: You enter a room, and you are presented with an 8-Queens problem (i.e. how to place 8 queens on an empty chessboard so that no piece threatens any other). You cannot leave the room or do anything else until you solve the 8-Queens problem. When you solve the problem, another door opens and you can go into the next room where you are presented with a similar puzzle.



Maybe it's just me, but 7th Guest didn't strike me as "immersive" at all. It seemed to me to be a disconnected set of puzzles connected by animations. In Myst, you actually interacted with the environment, the puzzles were actually integrated into the environment, and the consequences of solving the puzzle were clear.

Seems to me that game design is taking a back seat to technology nowadays. The screenshots of RealMyst don't look nearly as nice as the original did. Is the ability to move through the environment smoothly really important enough to the game to lose the rich painted look that the original had?

Rather reminds me of that color remake of Psycho last year. Some folks thought they could improve on a classic with an infusion of modern technology. The result didn't strike anyone as particularly good or bad --just unnecessary.
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