‘Myst’ turns 25: Cyan Worlds celebrates seminal game with an anniversary Kickstarter

A screenshot from RealMyst, Android version, 2017.

Cyan Worlds, the game developer based outside of Spokane, Wash., launched a Kickstarter this week to mark the 25th anniversary of the release of its groundbreaking PC adventure game, Myst. It reached its initial funding goal of $247,500 in eight hours, before the company had the chance to send out its press release, and as of this writing, has more than tripled its initial goal.

Backers at the $49 tier and above receive digital copies, through either Steam or Good Old Games, of the entire Myst series: the original game, Riven, Myst III: Exile, Myst IV: Revelation, Myst V: End of Ages, Cyan’s 2003 followup Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, and 2014’s Unity-powered remake of the first game, realMyst.

If you’re willing to pay more money, the backer rewards get progressively more interesting. At $99, you receive physical copies on DVD of all seven games, in an exclusive collection box that looks like one of Myst‘s trademark Linking Books. At $169, you get an actual Linking Book: the box comes with an animated LCD panel in it that displays “flyby” images from the Myst games. The Kickstarter description also hints that hooking the book up to your computer via a USB cable may unlock additional “goodies.” Finally, for now, a $250 backer receives all that, as well as working physical recreations of Gehn’s pen and inkwell from Riven.

Gehn’s pen and beetle inkwell. (Source: Cyan Worlds’s Kickstarter page.)

While you’ll be able to buy a complete boxed set of Myst in stores after this, the Linking Book, pen, and inkwell are exclusive Kickstarter rewards, and once they’re gone, they’re gone for good, according to the developer. It’s already too late to buy into the Kickstarter’s $1,000 tier, which includes one of the hand-drawn concept sketches created during the design process on Riven.

The Myst series has been quiet for a few years now, but it’s difficult to understate the impact it’s made on video games as a whole. The original Myst came out in 1993 and rapidly became the best-selling computer game of all time, until finally being beaten out by the first Sims game in 2002.

Along with The 7th Guest, Myst‘s emphasis on non-violent exploration, narrative, viciously difficult puzzles (the official strategy guide for Myst sold almost as well as the game itself did), and immersion in a visually compelling game world were ground-breaking, and gradually gave rise to an entire sub-genre of “Myst clones” that tried to replicate the same approach. You can draw a straight line between Myst’s storytelling and most modern games’ narrative design, particularly “walking simulators” such as Gone Home, Dear Esther, and What Remains of Edith Finch. The franchise still has a fanatical fanbase to this day, which includes an annual convention, Mysterium.

Cyan Worlds’ recent projects include 2016’s Kickstarter-funded exploration game Obduction.

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