Some games sell you on the gameplay and story, others on the music and overall presentation, but some games are different. Then there are games that enthrall with that very first opening sequence. Regardless ofhow the game plays or how the story plays out, those first few seconds or minutes were enough to get you to think convince you that you needed to see this game through to the end.
Such was the case with me and a now 20 year old game by the name of Myst. I must have been seven years old when I first booted up Myst, and to be perfectly honest it terrified me. Those old letters, that foreboding music, the image of falling into a dark, empty, endless space…it was the stuff of nightmares. So I stayed away from it, convinced it was a horror game and would not allow any prompting to get me to go near it. So it sat…for two years. It was out of sight, but oddly enough was not out of mind. That opening stayed at the back of my mind that entire time, surfacing often enough to keep me wondering what sort of game Myst could possibly be. With each mental visit, that initial fear was replaced more and more with a wondrous curiosity. It built to the point that I decided that I had to see what lied beyond that first minute, had experience for myself the possible wonders and horrors contained therein.
It took me two years, but I finally returned to Myst and experienced once again the introduction that terrified me so. That old foreboding feeling was still present, but instead of something to fear I found an irresistible mystery. At that point I knew I had to know how this game played out, no matter what the game threw at me.
Unfortunately, nine-year-olds aren’t the the patient or stable sort. In my experience playing the game for the first time, I never once had something jump out at me (which I remember being a simultaneous relief and disappointment). Still, that opening was creepy so I was convinced that something was going to jump out at any time from anywhere (In the dark powerhouse, behind the rocket door, anywhere in Channelwood…you see where I’m going right?). I was able to make it through the Channelwood and Mechanical Ages, but my nine-year-old self eventually got impatient with the puzzles and expecting monsters around every corner (Sirrus and Achenar’s rooms in the Mechanical age certainly didn’t help that particular expectation), that he went to the library, found out how to skip to the end, and finished it right there. It was a bit unceremonious for something that I had built up for so long, but hey I was nine. Nine-year-olds don’t give a crap about giving things their due.
Over the years I’ve come back to it time and again trying to beat it legitimately, I feel it deserves the effort somehow. However, after the solutions to the puzzles defied me several times (guess I just don’t have the mind for it) and as time became in shorter supply, I eventually stopped trying to beat it and let it fade into my gaming background.
But you know what? Even after all these years and all I’ve experienced with Myst, seeing that opening still inspires a faint desire to attempt it just one more time.
Have you ever had an opening or a portion of a game that resonated with you? Has time diminished it at all?