Stiq Flicks: Myst and The Game

Stiq Flicks – from film and video game industry freelance writer Kevin Kelly – examines video games and attempts to pair them with matching films. It's like wine and cheese, but with more aliens.

Stiq Flicks Myst and The Game
Myst is out on the Nintendo 3DS this week, which now means that the title is available on every machine ever invented. Doubt us? If you're wearing a Casio watch, hit FUNCTION and STOP/START at the same time, and Myst will launch. Okay, that's a slight exaggeration, but not by much. Since the game came out on the Mac in 1993, it has since been ported to everything from the Atari Jaguar CD to the iPad.

Unfortunately, this port of the game is a bit strange as it places the action on the 3DS' lower screen, with static images on the top screen. But despite the layout of the game, it's still Myst in your pocket.

Regardless of where you're playing it, Myst is still a great game, especially if you figure in the fantastic sequel it provided with Riven. It's all about mystery, puzzles, intrigue, and murder. Just like David Fincher's The Game.


Director David Fincher got his start in the film world working at Industrial Light & Magic on films like Return of the Jedi and Temple of Doom before moving on to the world of commercials and music videos. His first feature was Alien 3, which had numerous production issues and wasn't exactly well-received. To hear Fincher's side of what happened, check out his commentary track on the director's cut of the film, which is definitely worth a watch.

Seven was what catapulted him to the top of the thriller genre, and in 1997 he followed that film with The Game, which put Michael Douglas – as Nicholas Van Orton – deep inside the inner workings of a disturbing series events that culminate in murder, corporate intrigue, mistaken identity, and the unraveling of the human mind. Or is it all just a game engineered by his brother Conrad Van Orton, played by Sean Penn?

You've probably heard of alternate reality games, or even taken part in them, but The Game makes them all look like tiddlywink tournaments. What begins as an innocuous gift soon spirals into something out of control that takes over Nicholas Van Orton's personal life, and becomes central to a corporate deal he has been trying to put together. He's given clues and hints along the way, which range from keys to an incredibly creepy clown doll.

Where The Game excels is in keeping you guessing the entire film. Is it all part of a game meant for rich executives? Or is it just a cover for something deeply disturbing? It's too bad that there wasn't an actual ARG that ran alongside The Game, because the company that developed that experience could have made a fortune. Although it wouldn't be complete without Sean Penn as your enigmatic brother, and he might come at a pretty steep price.

While you won't find Michael Douglas exploring temporal rifts or searching for the missing pages of some book, you will find him trapped deep inside a world where he doesn't know reality from game. And really, isn't that what we're all looking for when it comes to a game?


Where You Can Watch The Game
The Game is available to stream in SD on Netflix's Instant Queue, and you can also rent it on Amazon Instant Video for $2.99 in SD or $3.99 in HD. You can also purchase it there for $9.99, but only in SD. The Game is also available on consoles to stream, and you can purchase an HD version for 1680 Microsoft Points ($21.00) or SD for 800 points ($10.00) on the Xbox 360 and priced similarly on the PlayStation 3.

If you're looking for physical media, you can snag The Game on DVD for only $6.99, but if you can hold out until September, you can pick up the Criterion Blu-ray of this film. Criterion had released a laserdisc of the film (as one of their last laserdiscs) back in 1998 complete with more than an hour of special features and an alternate ending, but this version features new special features, including a brand-new digital transfer. It won't come cheaply at $39.99, but Criterion puts together some of the finest presentations in the world, and we sure would love it if they would turn they preservationist instincts to the world of video games.

However you decide to watch it, check out the dark look at a mind-bending game in The Game, and work your way through the Ages in Myst and figure out some puzzles of your own.


Kevin Kelly is a writer and pop culture junkie with a fixation on video games, movies, and board games. His writing has been seen at Moviefone, io9, Film School Rejects, TechRadar, Wizard World, G4, and The Austin Chronicle. He lives in Los Angeles and does not know how to surf. Follow him on Twitter @kevinkelly.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.