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Myst

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Myst

The Myst cover art.

Myst is a video game designed in 1993 by Rand and Robyn Miller, founders of Cyan Worlds. It inspired a large following in terms of graphics, music and storytelling. Until 2002, it was the best selling game ever. Four sequels have followed in the series, most famously its first, Riven. It even spawned a short-lived MMORPG, URU: Live.

The player is initially dropped from the sky into an unknown world. From a first-person point-of-view, the player explores the mysterious backstory while interacting with various types of environmental puzzles. Often the player comes upon locations, now abandoned, which may have been the home or studio of someone who is no longer present. The background of the series deals with the fictional D'ni civilization, a race of people who possessed the ability to craft "links", in the form of books, to other universes called "Ages". This serves as the plot foundation for the travel between worlds in the games.


Similarities and shared themes

The writers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have admitted to bringing a lot of the feeling of Myst into Lost. They particularly pointed out exploration of the environment and nonlinear gameplay as major similarities.

Lindelof: (...) For me certainly, the big game-changer was Myst. There's a lot of that feeling in Lost. What made it so compelling was also what made it so challenging. No one told you what the rules were. You just had to walk around and explore these environments and gradually a story was told. And Lost is the same way. The problem on Lost has always been, no one has told the characters what to do. 1


There are readily observable similarities between the two works, most noticeably the fact that both take place, in large part, on a seemingly deserted island filled with strange mechanical "stations". Both have an expansive background story which is revealed gradually through exploration. Further similarities include:

  • Each of the stations (and accompanying Age) has a pictogram symbol. (DHARMA Logos)
  • At the beginning of the game, the player is not presented with any assignments or directions, leaving exploration as the only option to gain knowledge.
  • There are other people on the Myst island, using their knowledge of the surroundings to their advantage. (The Others)
  • Much of the backstory involves father-son conflicts, and other dysfunctional family problems. (Parent issues)
  • The main character(s) are stranded, and are looking for a way out. (Slavery and imprisonment)
  • Additionally, in a spin-off of the game, URU: Live, it is discovered that corporations and organizations in the real world have discovered a way to access the Ages in Myst and have begun allowing "explorers" in, similar to the Hanso Foundation in Lost.
  • The game's plot features two feuding brothers. In Myst and Myst IV: Revelations, complementary locations for the feuding brothers are routinely visited. Similarly, in Lost Season 6, the complementary Cliffside Cave and Lighthouse are shown to be dwelling places of the opposed Jacob and the Man in Black -- various caves and lighthouses being visited on more than one occasions throughout the Myst series.

Reference

[1] Lyst: Cuse and Lindelof on Lost and videogames, interview by James Poniewozik from time-blog.com)

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