In Myst, you play a nameless stranger who is brought to a mysterious island. As you explore the island, you discover books that allow you to travel to other worlds. While doing so, you uncover clues concerning the mysteries and origins of the island and its inhabitants, and become tasked with preventing the island and its wonders from falling into the wrong hands. With its involving storyline and stunning — for its time — graphics, Myst sold millions and is still lauded as a breakthrough game, and is frequently mentioned whenever the “video games as art” debate crops up.
The game’s movie rights have been optioned by producers Hunt Lowry and Mark Johnson, who were behind Donnie Darko and The Chronicles of Narnia films, respectively. From the Deadline article:
One focus of the film will be the influence of a human who entered Myst and inadvertently brought down the civilization. Johnson and Lowry are separately teamed on an adaptation of the John Grisham novel The Testament. With Vanderbosch and Testerman, they are on the hunt for a writer before they shop it to studios. “Our aim with this project is to stretch the genres it operated within, much like the source material did,” Vanderbosch said. “It is such an innovative property and by utilizing the novels as our primary resource, we have the opportunity to offer audiences the essence of MYST without being limited only to the famous island of the first game. Our focus has always been on creating an entirely new visual experience driven by engaging characters and an epic narrative.”
I could see a Myst movie being a great success, so long as the filmmakers stay true to the mysterious nature and tone of the original game. One of the reasons why Myst was so popular was that it relied more on ambience and atmosphere than action and dialog to draw in and involve the player — it was, and I think, remains still, a unique experience, especially when compared to the video games of today.
Hollywood’s involvement doesn’t necessarily engender a lot of confidence in that regard — Myst strikes me as less a Narnia-esque epic and more like a project better suited for a smaller, more independent-minded approach — but one can always hope, can’t they?