Wait, That Was John Goodman? Episode 1: Pyst

Welcome to everyone’s favorite recurring series of hard-hitting entertainment journalism, a string of posts that has the gall to stare into the pop culture abyss and say: huh, I had no idea John Goodman was in that. Roseanne’s fake husband has had many ups and downs in his career and there’s no doubt he’s still flying high today, as far as actors are concerned. But a job path this long and winding has many crevices (not a fat joke! I promise!) worth exploring, and none darker than our first installment.

Not long ago, I may have mentioned that I took a second look at my old favorite, the PC game Riven, and that kind of put me into a bit of a Myst nostalgia swirl. As I rewatched Let’s Plays, read up on the wiki page and even made the mistake of dropping six bucks on this piece of trash, the embers of memory started stirring: I was in elementary school, on a bus. A friend of mine was showing me a CD case for a parody game that made fun of Myst. It was called (major LOL alert) Pyst. There was a tiny picture of a shittily drawn cartoon seagull. And there was a song to go with it, something about aliens abducting a guy in his pickup truck…

Well, guess what? No, seriously. That guy, singing this song, was indeed the Goodman of which we speak. John Goodman. The actor. And not only did he lend his soon-to-be-Blues Brothers 2000-certified lungs to the title track, he was in the game that came with it! 

Now, I never actually got to play Pyst, which may be is almost certainly a blessing in disguise, because judging by the video playthrough of it on Youtube, it’s even more immature and dumb than it sounds: Goodman plays “King Mattruss,” a very loose takeoff of Atrus who floats around in a vortex, wears a crown and has nothing really interesting or funny to say. And if you’re wondering if you get to see him shirtless sitting in a hot tub by the end of it making a clumsy reference to one of my favorite songs by the Police, rest assured, nips do indeed come included. And before you ask, no I couldn’t bring myself to watch the whole thing and just skipped to the end. Lucky me.

You know what’s doubly heartbreaking? Peter Bergman, one quarter of the legendary counterculture comedy troupe The Firesign Theater, wrote, produced, and starred in this heap, although Bergman’s obituary in the New York Times amusingly refused to mention it by name (and they apparently thought the real one was called “Mist.” Ha! What clowns!). I almost wish this had been a success just so he could have done a comedy game better than this one. But I guess we get two slumming comedy actors for the price of one.

The thing is, the self-seriousness of Myst is a great subject for parody and would have been especially great at the time, though had Pyst come along a little later, it might have made for a funny flash game and found a home on Zthing or Newgrounds. The general idea that Myst has become overrun with adventurers that have trashed everything is kind of funny, and the parodies of the error messages you would almost certainly get in any given playthrough is maybe worth a chortle, which is only two-thirds short of a chuckle and twice as good as a snicker. I only wish they had the budget to do a full satire and make it actually, you know, look like the game. From what I hear, this is barely a game at all as opposed to a series of interactive slides. But that was arguably what Myst was in the first place, I guess.

Anyway, I just spent way too much time squawking about something that almost certainly doesn’t deserve it. Point is, Goodman wuz here. And now I almost certainly know what I’m going to ask him about if I ever meet him. It’ll almost be as good as that time my brother told Jeff Goldblum he loved him in Run Ronnie Run.

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