A typical Myst Puzzle.
The gameplay in Myst is first-person, where the player journeys through many pre-rendered scenes by clicking on locations on the screen. The player interacts with objects by clicking or dragging them. Animations are videos embedded into the pre-rendered scenes, to give more of a sense of immersion despite limited technology.
Because the scenes were pre-rendered, the artists were able to portray the worlds of Myst in stunningly beautiful 3D, which wouldn't have been possible at the time had the game been rendered in real-time.
The player is asked to solve many puzzles in order to progress through the game. There are no scenes of action or violence. There is no time limit and no threat of death. Instead, the world of Myst is calm and serene, drawing the player in with its atmospheric music and sounds as they uncover the secrets of the mysterious island at their on pace.
The story of Myst begins when the player - known simply as the "Stranger" by fans and certain references to the player in the game world - discovers a mysterious book. When he opens it, and places his hand on the Linking panel on the last page, he finds himself transported to the mysterious island of Myst. There, he must explore the seemingly deserted island in search of clues to where he is, and how to get back home.
The Stranger quickly stumbles upon two books - one red, one blue - that each have a person trapped inside of them. These are Sirrus and Achenar, who are brothers, and the sons of a man named Atrus. Each brother claims that the other killed Atrus, and cannot be trusted. The Stranger is thus presented with a dilemma of whom to trust. Which brother is telling the truth? This is made harder by the fact that the books that have imprisoned Sirrus and Achenar are missing most of their pages, so their images are coming through extremely fuzzy, and are very hard to understand. The Stranger is tasked with finding these missing pages in order to move the story forward.
As the Stranger explores, he finds many more Linking books hidden throughout Myst island. Each book Links him to a different world - or " Age" - and he must solve the many puzzles of a particular Age before he can return to Myst island, hopefully with a red or blue page in hand.
Along the way, the Stranger uncovers more clues as to what exactly happened on Myst, including messages and letters from Atrus himself to his wife Catherine, speaking of his destroyed library, and his suspicions that one of his sons is responsible.
*This section contains spoilers.*
Myst has multiple endings. After the Stranger locates all but one of the red or blue pages, Sirrus and Achenar are able to tell him where the fifth pages are hidden. If either of them are given the fifth and final page of their book, they will be set free. However, each brother stresses the fact that the other cannot be trusted, and implores you bring only their own respective page, and not the other.
Both, however, agree that you should not touch the green book that is next to the final red and blue pages. They warn you that it's another trap book, like the ones they themselves are imprisoned in.
You are thus given three choices: Return the red page to Sirrus, return the blue page to Achenar, or open the green book, betraying the warnings of both of them.
If you return the red page to Sirrus, you suddenly find yourself inside his book, looking out at the library. It's not hard to realize that this was a trick, and that you are now trapped. Sirrus makes a point to call you a fool, and starts ripping pages out of the book, ensuring that it is very unlikely that you will ever escape...
If you return the blue page to Achenar, you suddenly find yourself inside his book, looking out at the library. It's not hard to realize that this was a trick, and that you are now trapped. Achenar laughs manically, as the somewhat unhinged individual you have seen him to be. He gleefully rips pages out of the blue book, ensuring that it is very unlikely that you will ever escape...
When you open green book, you are greeted by the site of a bearded man, huddled over a book in which he his writing. He asks "who the devil" you are, and is very quick to warn you not to touch the Linking panel of his book. Not yet. He has many questions for you, and his name is Atrus, father of Sirrus and Achenar. He tells you that he needs a white page from you, and that you should not come to D'ni - where he is trapped - without it.
If you ignore his warning and enter the book without the white page, you end up trapped forever in D'ni with Atrus, unable to do anything except wander around the room forever.
However, if you use clues you found elsewhere throughout the game in order to find the white page and bring it to Atrus, then he is able to complete the Myst book he has on his desk, and journey back to the island. He tells you that he has a difficult choice to make, but that his sons have betrayed him, so he knows what he must do. He leaves temporarily for Myst island, and when he returns, he tells you that while you surely have many questions, his writing cannot wait. His wife is being held captive in another Age, and he fears that he may need your services in the future to help him. This is the set up for the game's sequel, Riven.
The only reward he can offer you is access to his library on Myst, and free exploration of the Ages. Thus, while the game is concluded, the game does not lead you to a credit sequence, and rather lets you wander around the worlds as you see fit.
If you return to the library on Myst, you will notice that where the red and blue books once sat, there is now only a large burn mark in their places.
The game has been remade on the PC twice. Once remastered in 24-bit color with enhanced sound as Myst: Masterpiece Edition, and again as realMyst, which was a full recreation of the game in Cyan's real-time 3D engine called Plasma.
Myst: Masterpiece Edition and realMYST are available to purchase digitally, DRM-free, courtesy of GOG.com since 2009.
The game has also been ported to a variety of consoles and hand-helds, including the Sega Saturn, the Sony Playstation, the Atari Jaguar, the CD-i, the 3DO, the PlayStation Portable, and the Nintendo DS.
The port of Myst for the iPhone was released for the Apple iPhone on the App Store for $5.99 on May 2nd, 2009. This copy features the full original game with improved graphics and contains the original sounds and soundtrack.The iPhone version also features auto-zoom, the original cinematics, swipe-to-turn, and all of the original ages and gameplay.
A 3DS port has been announced for release on April 24, 2012 in North America. Called "Myst 3D," most of the gameplay will take place on the bottom, 2D screen, with some discovery gameplay in 3D on the top screen. This port is being handled by Maximum Family Games.