A Case for Pyst

Do you fondly remember that riveting interactive video game, Myst? If you do, you fall into two camps. You had the patience to finish the entire game. (Like David.) The other group is you damn near pulled an Elvis on your computer. (Like James.) This is to say that I am very much like both of my grandfathers (The German and the Aztec, that is.) I have little patience for many games these days. However, I am a fan of remotely juvenile humor at times. How do you think I made it in the Army?

However, we’re not here to discuss whether I was the Army’s equivalent of Gomer Pyle. (I wasn’t.) We are here to talk about the fine art of parody and how it’s prevented many a company from being sued to hell.

Pyst was that parody. The premise was simple: You’re stuck on Myst Island with everyone else who hasn’t beaten the damn game. Which would probably include me. David had to send me the ending to the game, just so I would understand what the hell I was playing. It’s one of the few times he’s gotten an good laugh on me.

Pyst Island is heavily polluted, as nobody has been able to escape the damn place since the start of the game. Which is possibly the majority of Americans who even installed it. The number that the game has is around four million. Whether or not that’s plausible, it’s not the point. It’s basically an exercise in absurdity. I mean, look at that picture to the right…

John Goodman as King Mattruss should be enough to tell you that you’re going in for a non-serious time. Goodman and Peter Bergman knew each other from the comedy circuit, and they both decided to make fun of the entire trope of famous actors appearing in full motion video clips within the games. Even Donald Sutherland has been in this trope with 1990’s Conspiracy.

Of note is the fact that both men created the original title song, I’m Pyst. And yes, John pulled out his piped for this masterpiece. (It might possibly be better than the bullshit in Blues Brothers 2000.) Which also doesn’t take itself seriously, either. The game itself is also quite hilarious, by the way.

They took out the puzzle aspect. You’re just roaming around Pyst Island at will. There’s a plot in there somewhere. But, much like the original game, nobody else is too sure what the heck it may be. Hence, the irreverence of the entire game. Nobody has any idea what’s going on. Nobody has any clue on the entire story. Just like the original game.

The company, Parroty Interactive, is long gone. An acquisition by The Learning Company finished them off for good. They did manage to pull out: Star Warped, The X-Fool, and Microshaft Winblows 98. So, it’s not a complete one and done. However, there is one thing it has for it. It was one of the first parody games, and it’s something you should remember for the ages.

If you do find a copy of it, or find it at some abandoned game site… Don’t take it hard. It’s a joke, not a phallus. Enjoy the joke.

Leave a Reply