The first image isn’t actually a good example of what I want to talk about; it’s just a cool map in a video game. What I want to talk about in this post are maps that actually represent the level or playable space in a game, but which don’t actually serve a gameplay purpose to the player.
Let’s dive in.
Riven (the sequel to Myst) has a game design philosophy in which the gameplay and narrative are the same thing. So, I decided to look at one clever example of this.
Waxing about Myst:
Myst was a great game and perhaps one of the first “art” games (I could probably write a whole blog post about this alone). “Walking simulators” like the Stanley Parable, Dear Esther, and Gone Home owe their existence to Myst paving the path over a decade earlier. Its artistry has been overlooked by most people because at the time of release (1993) no one gave a damn about games as an art form. And then Doom came out and the only thing people cared about were those types of games.
One of the consequences of Myst being passed off as a novelty of its time is that its sequel, Riven, never got the intellectual and academic scrutiny it deserved.