Where’s the map? Where’s the question coin boxes?

I’ve come to the ad realization this week that I’m old and just not as down with computers as I thought I was.  I’m definitely not a gamer either, at least not in the modern sense of the word.  I’m still very much a gamer in the classic sense…I love my old school Nintendo and possess masterful skills when it comes to Super Mario Brothers.  I know all the little secrets, can spit fireballs with the best of them, etc, etc.  Plus, I get Super Mario Brothers.  My job is to save the princess while collected as many coins (points) as possible along the way.  Clear cut…I love it.

I tried my hand at Myst IV: Revelation this week, an it was an awful experience.  I don’t get it, and frankly, it made me a little motion sick.  I listened to the background story of the game and established that I’m supposed to help make a decision about whether some corrupt brothers, who destroyed a bunch of mythical worlds, should be let out of mythical prison.  Armed with a camera and journal, I’ve been tasked to take pictures and records notes, and maybe solve some puzzles along the way.  Right.  So, I can play along, do the whole imagination thing, but  for the most part I thought the game was so complex that it just frustrated the hell out of me.  There was o map to help me around the mythical world, which really pissed me off and my tour guide, Aragus gave me a bunch of orders (including babysitting his kid) and took off, leaving me to find the shut off valves for water pumps, work some crystal monitor thing, and then transport myself to him, all of which he assumed I could do lickety-split as I had been to the mythical world so many times.  Again…no map on where any of this stuff actually is (although I did learn the code is in the journal on the desk…damned if I know how to open the journal though.)

I don’t  like taking orders, especially not from the bossy mythical man.  Mario never ordered me about.  The program ran so/so on my  computer, mostly, as my interns (who got bored of watching me struggle from room to room and took over playing the game) tell me is because I refuse to buy a $500.00 graphics card to make the program run.  The program, btw, is 8GB.  I don’t have that much free space left on my computer!  So to get it to run properly, I was forced to completely reorganize the contents of my hardrive.

It was fun walking into all the different rooms and taking pictures, although I’m not sure why  I was doing it in Myst.  I could see a web designer creating a virtual museum as intricate as Myst that allows visitors to walk from one room to another, take pictures of art or objects, record notes, share those notes, etc.  I would be a very cool project.  It should also be one that everyone understands, not just people who spend hours playing “Call of Duty: Iwo Jima” or have taken the time to visit the first three Myst worlds.  I don’t expect visitors to my museum to just find their way around.  They get a map, and to a point, we guide the experience of the folks that aren’t comfortable doing it themselves.  I would expect that a virtual museum would do the same thing.  If I was designing something like this and expected visitors to come to a conclusion about their experience, I’d make it easier for them to gather tools and information.

All and all, I  think I became frustrated with the program from the get-go as it was difficult to use and get accostomed to, and there was very little learning curve.  Things slowly went downhill from there and in the end  wasn’t really sure if I cared about the corrupt brothers staying imprisoned or not.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Where’s the map? Where’s the question coin boxes?

  1. I’m right there with you, Karin. I love the concept of applying Myst skills to a virtual museum–although I don’t think the Lost Museum was well-designed. It’s just too much work to understand the complex game codes and rules and rewards…

  2. Pingback: Jenny Reeder

  3. Tad

    I purchased Myst V. I’m having the same problems– I can’t even find a map when I look around on those web pages that specialize in cheat codes and walk throughs… (Remember when games had maps, and all you had to know was up up down down left right left right B A start?) It’s frustrating when a game that’s supposedly an all-ages one makes you feel so stupid.

    Plus, it’s plot and character oriented, but the plot is hard to follow and the characters are completely unsympathetic. There’s two “tour guide” type characters, and I find them both INSUFFERABLE. I really wish Myst V wasn’t a nonviolent puzzle game, ’cause I’d pay twice as much for a version where you can repeatedly pop those two in the face.

    The fate of the world seems to lay in my deciding correctly which of the two of them to trust, but I just want both of them to go away.

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