Review: PYST

  • Publisher: Parroty Interactive
  • Developer: Entasis
  • Writer: Peter Bergman
  • Released: October 1996
  • Genre: Parody

First off, PYST isn’t really a game. There aren’t any puzzles to solve or any goals to achieve, at all. You just click through the different scenes and find hotspots that play a short animation, FMV or sound clip. It’s little more than an interactive slide show. You can go through the whole thing and see every sight and sound in the “game” in about half an hour. The people who paid full price for it, when it was first released, must have been pissed. It was a whole $15 dollars. Most cellphone games will only run you about a buck and there’s at least something to do in one those.

The plot? This “game” is about what would happen to an island that is very similar to, but, legally distinguishable from Myst, if it were trampled over by 4 million tourists (about the amount of copies of Myst that were sold at the time PYST was published -the joke is that the people that bought Myst actually went there, or something). There’s graffiti everywhere and people have peed on things.

There’s also some jazz about the king of the island, King Mattrus (played by John Goodman(!?)), and his twin sons, Prince Syrrup and the prince formerly known as “Prince”, trying to stop an evil corporation, Octoplex, from putting condos on their island. Or, maybe it was that they wanted to sell their island to the evil corporation to recoup their losses from people wrecking-up the place. I wasn’t really paying attention.

How in the world did they get John Goodman to work on this, you ask? Peter Bergman was one of the members of The Firesign Theatre, a radio comedy troupe formed in the 1960s, that actually still performs today. The group is quite respected in the comedy world, so, I guess, they can ask a lot of comedy type people to work with them, even on a non-game game.

So, wait, how does a radio comedian from the 1960s form a video game company? Ah the pre-dot-com bubble bursting days were a magical and mysterious time, my friends. A magical and mysterious time.

The comedy background really shows in the writing and acting, too. It’s just that you’re too angry that PYST isn’t actually a game to appreciate it.

A bit of an aside, Peter Bergman actually died earlier this year. The man was really funny. I suggest looking at his other work, like Radio Free Oz, to see what he was really about. Radio comedy is a bit of a lost art. People don’t even buy comedy CDs anymore, instead opting for videos of HBO specials and such.

What else is there to say? I guess I should say something about the graphics, since that’s, basically, all this game is. The graphics are a mix of pre-rendered 3d that’s attempting to look photorealistic and what looks to be Microsoft Word clip art that has been animated. It’s weird and I don’t get it.

Here, have a playthrough of the game that I did two years ago:

 Driven, The Sequel to PYST

There was a planned sequel  to PYST, called Driven, but, Parroty Interactive’s parent company, Palladium Interactive, was bought-out by The Learning Company in 1998 and Parroty was dissolved by them, before work on Driven was finished.

All that’s let of Driven is a demo that was included on some PYST Special Edition CD-ROMs.

Here, have a look at it: