There are no puzzles in Pyst; it’s just a series of barely-interactive scenes where clicking objects causes little bits of canned animation to happen on screen. Click a bird and it poops. Click the dog and it pees. Click the outhouse and nothing happens for some reason, even though toilets are a comedy goldmine.

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Image for article titled I Installed Windows 3.1 To Play A Myst Parody Starring John Goodman
Screenshot: Parroty Interactive (MobyGames)

There are specific references to Myst, like blue and red books, a library full of secrets, et cetera. Much of this is probably a little funnier if you’d just spent dozens of hours playing Myst. But not that much funnier. One of the king’s sons is known as “The Prince Formerly Known As Prince,” if you needed another indicator as to exactly when this game was made.

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The song “I’m Pyst (Theme From Pyst)” is actually pretty good. You can experience that part without having to install Windows 3.1.

Pyst even includes its own “Making Of” video. Maybe that came off as indulgent in 1996, but today, I’m happy to have this little documentary showing this tiny software company that only lasted a few years but still managed to get one of the most recognizable actors of the day half-naked and up against a green screen.

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It’s easy to dismiss Pyst as a lousy game, but as a historical artifact it’s fascinating, a remnant of the impression that Myst left on the world and a document of how it was perceived. It’s annoying that the only way to experience these games today is to jump through the hoops of reinstalling Windows 3.1 on one’s computer, but it’s great that people have done all the hard work to make that a possibility.