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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that in spite of its "E" rating, this game touches on some serious themes including human sacrifice, insanity, murder, and children turning against their parents. With its difficult puzzles, vague and nonlinear directions, and need for copious reading and note-taking to keep track of goals, Myst is not likely to hold the interest of younger gamers.
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What's it about?
The point-and-click adventure game MYST may be one of the best-selling PC games of all time, but its gameplay has not aged well in the years since its 1994 launch, nor does this glitchy and low-res version for the Nintendo DS do the game any justice.
You play a traveler who arrives on the island of Myst and becomes entangled in the story of Atrus and his two sons, Sirrus and Achenar, whom you encounter through letters and notes, holographic projections, and other indirect means. Left to wander the island and the various \"Ages\" of the world, which are accessed by traveling through the pages of special books, you must slowly piece together where to go and what to do next by solving various puzzles based on your environments.
Is it any good?
The puzzles in the original PC version of Myst were obscure to begin with, but on the DS they're even more difficult to decipher owing to the tiny screen size and lack of mouse curser. And let's face it, one of the most compelling things about Myst, back in the day, were the graphics -- which were some of the first to take advantage of new CD-ROM technology and for the time were pretty breathtaking. On the DS, however, graphics are compressed and low-resolution, which means that walking around no longer has the air of discovery and wonder which gained the original game such praise. The DS-specific addition of a note-taking feature also falls flat, since instead of a logical doodle-pad to use with the stylus, you're given a type-writer to laboriously peck out sentences key by key. Graphical glitches and poorly-implemented stylus interface round out this dubious port.
If you absolutely have to play Myst, the game is best experienced with a monitor and mouse, so find a version that will run on your PC instead.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether they would have enjoyed Myst better if there had been other characters to meet and interact with, or if the fact that you're alone makes the game more compelling. Which of the game's four endings did they experience, and why did they choose that particular ending?
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