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Nethack 3.4.1
February 25, 2003 4:16 AM   Subscribe

In these difficult times it's a relief to know that Nethack is still being updated.
posted by chrisgregory (23 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Okay, maybe I could have tried to make the post sound more exciting. But it's late and I've had too much to drink and I'm dealing with a rabid real estate agent who wants to kick me out so that the landlord can get a new tenant in who is prepared to pay lots more bucks.

Have you ever played Nethack? I have. For years. Nethack has consumed years of my life...(hic)...it's an obsession, damn it....(dribble)...oh bugger, I'm going to bed...(hic) I think I just wet myself (slobber)...(passes out).

Nethack is the Bomb! (farts, passes out again).
posted by chrisgregory at 4:27 AM on February 25, 2003


I played Nethack. I played Neverwinter Nights. I prefered the one with the graphics.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:41 AM on February 25, 2003 [1 favorite]


PG: If your only beef with Nethack is that it's not graphical, have a look at Falcon's Eye (not yet updated for 3.4, but still makes Nethack pretty for those who don't like the good old '@' or 2-d tiles).
posted by jozxyqk at 4:44 AM on February 25, 2003


And its also been released for Smartphone - I now have nethack running along nicely on my Orange SPV, great stuff, pocket rpg.. :)
posted by Mossy at 4:58 AM on February 25, 2003


Mossy: Say what? Where can you get it from?
posted by adrianhon at 5:33 AM on February 25, 2003


Here. Scroll down to the last set of links - Nethack experimental for Smartphone 2002 :)
posted by Mossy at 5:38 AM on February 25, 2003


I've been hearing people go on and on and on about Nethack for years and I have never heard a satisfactory explanation as to how a bunch of "@" and "." characters = fun. I'm not saying I don't think it's possible; I'm just saying I don't get it. Can someone explain the allure?
posted by vraxoin at 6:23 AM on February 25, 2003


Can someone explain the allure?

All the energy that didn't go into useless eye candy went into nine years of game complexity. There's a cliche among nethackers, "The Dev Team Thinks of Everything!", which is usually uttered in awe when some very obscure interaction between game elements is discovered.

Also, Nethack is one of the toughest games to win around. There is no restart from saved after you die unless you cheat. If you've ascended (thus winning the game), you did it the hard way.
posted by ursus_comiter at 6:28 AM on February 25, 2003


Nethack is one of the best ways to waste time. Plus, if you use the text mode, you can (probably) get away with playing it at work!
posted by skryche at 7:00 AM on February 25, 2003


Can someone explain the allure?
Gamepy Hall of Fame
Salon's Best Game Ever

The game has been in continous development for nearly two decades, and rather than just keep dumping crap into it, they've refined every detail, and carefully expanded what is there -- making a game that looks like an role playing game but is at least half strategy game. The replay value is amazing. There are Graphical Versions if you can't handle ascii. If you need great visuals to enjoy a game, tho, it's probably a lost cause.

(self-link coming), I run a Public Nethack Server for the Ars Technica community. Mefiers welcome.
posted by malphigian at 7:48 AM on February 25, 2003


Hey, is there a MMOG version of Nethack?

*ducks*
posted by thanotopsis at 8:58 AM on February 25, 2003


Ah, thanks malphigian! I haven't played much NH since my undergrad days, 10+ years ago. I did download the win32 a while back, but found it not as much fun since you didn't have two of the features found when playing on a network: comparing your scores against others, and encountering other people's bones levels. I'll have to give it a try tonight.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:06 AM on February 25, 2003


I find nethack far too random and much prefer Angband or one of its many variants. Not to mention the Angband Borg which will play the game for you (it really is fascinating to watch). I've been playing T.o.M.E. for about two weeks straight now trying to make a yeek sorc winner with no luck.

and actually there is a MMOG version of angband.

I hope this doesn't derail this thread. What is it that makes nethack your roguelike of choice?
posted by darkpony at 9:16 AM on February 25, 2003


DevilsAdvocate, playing on public servers does help, although I'm quite able to play on my standalone doggedly when I'm in the zone.

The bite of that, though, is that I play the same class of character until I ascend. The bones levels become horrendously scary pits of doom for my characters as a result, especially now that I'm playing an Archaeologist who's letting his pets do all the work until he gets a dwarvish mattock or an artifact weapon. I've got bones with more than one LARGE dog named Krypto waiting to eat me.

... And I never seem to have tripe rations when I run into them.
posted by ursus_comiter at 10:07 AM on February 25, 2003


What is it that makes nethack your roguelike of choice?

I like the *bands fine (zangband best), but I really don't understand you're "far too random" complaint about nethack. The *bands have a lot more random items, weapons whereas nethack has fewer items with more applications. The random items add a lot of color to the endgame, tho. The *bands also seem more extensive pure hack'n'slash -- it's a lot more wacking away at things and a lot less puzzling over the sticky situation you've currently got yourself into (see my comment above about nethack being half strategy game). A lot of angband time is spent killing hundreds of monsters at the same depth until you've leveled up or found something cool. This has a certain appeal, but its not nearly as long lasting for me as the nethack style.
posted by malphigian at 10:12 AM on February 25, 2003


One of my all time favorite games - the non-ascii version can never measure up to the all ascii version for me, though that could be the nostalgia talking.

Is Rogue still available online?
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:33 AM on February 25, 2003


I've been hearing people go on and on and on about Nethack for years and I have never heard a satisfactory explanation as to how a bunch of "@" and "." characters = fun. I'm not saying I don't think it's possible; I'm just saying I don't get it. Can someone explain the allure?

"I don't even see the code anymore -- just blonde, brunette, redhead..."

After you learn to read the screen -- which can be a little difficult unless you grew up on CRT character graphics -- your mind starts simply translating the symbols (which really aren't half bad representatiosn of what's going on, if not the least photorealistic) into the situation. Combine that with the depth of gameplay and options available to you, and it really becomes immersing fast.

And it's hard. And complex. Even after you've started to ascend characters (I've done a Rogue and a Healer, and gotten a few more close), starting out with an initial character over again remains difficult. There are so many perils, and sometimes the random number generator is just plain mean. But you get this sense of satisfaction from knowing you took a difficult/hard luck character that could die at the first appearance of a rothe or forrest centaur or even a tough kitten, and turned them into a powerful, viable character to whom most of the dungeon's menaces are relatively dispatchable (or at least escapable) -- if you're careful. If you are not careful and attentive, no matter how advanced your character is, you can die instantly.

The only game I've ever played that's harder and more complex is real life.
posted by namespan at 10:57 AM on February 25, 2003 [1 favorite]


malphigian,

My mistake, not clear. By random I mean my death. My memories of nethack all seem to be of me feeling very good about myself and then suddenly and randomly being very dead. I guess that is what I mean by random...while death can still come quite randomly and quickly with Angband I ussually know I'm over my head and somehow expecting it.

and yes, angband spends alot of time leveling at certain depths and searching for some resist item or other.
posted by darkpony at 11:03 AM on February 25, 2003


darkpony: Ah, that's true, there are a lot of things that can kill you quickly -- but pretty much all of them are avoidable, and you only need to die from them once to learn :). It does have a steeper learning curve than angband, I suppose.
posted by malphigian at 11:07 AM on February 25, 2003


namespan: I never really could get anywhere with rogues, healers or wizards. Tourists & archaelogists can be fun once you build 'em up a bit, though. And I like the monk class in newer versions--basically a Shaolin Monk type, that can get surprisingly far without using weapons, wearing armor (other than a robe) or eating meat.

Plus, I always thought that this Simpsons ep contained a Nethack reference, when Homer stuns the killer robots with his camera flash.
posted by arto at 1:28 PM on February 25, 2003


darkpony:

My memories of nethack all seem to be of me feeling very good about myself and then suddenly and randomly being very dead.

I think I understand... I played for two years in high school, never getting anywhere, and then over the last six months. I'd start building up a character I thought rocked, and suddenly things would go downhill quickly.

This still happens. I was taking a monk through the castle, had cleaned out most of the baddies, when I noticed a Titan over in the corner of the throne room. I went to whack him, and he started summoning monsters. After about three rounds of this, facing about 15-20 high level monsters in a big open room, it was clear to me I had to get out. A black dragon disintigrated me as I reached for my scroll of teleportation.

The thing is, I very well could have survived that if I'd been thinking. I had a shield of reflection, which would have at least kept me intact until I was able to level teleport outta there. I had taken it off some number of rounds earlier to more easily cast spells, and I had forgotten that fact. YASD.

I think after a while, you start playing nethack in hyper cautious mode, even after you get your characters to confident mode. *Every* time I'm even thinking about walking onto a square that I've seen a formerly live cockatrice on it, I make sure I'm wearing gloves (and I always pick them up and put them in a container so somebody doesn't pick it up and use it on me). Once I've id'd a wand of teleportation, I always have one out. No matter how much food I have stashed in a bag or a box somewhere, I always keep 1-2 good comestibles on me. Each of these well-reinforced principles came from one death or another. If you play long enough and read the spoilers and try everything you can think of, eventually, I think you start playing like this and making progress.

I never really could get anywhere with rogues, healers or wizards. Tourists & archaelogists can be fun once you build 'em up a bit, though.

Arto: playing with tourists and archaelogists is practically bragging (tourists much more so than archs... I've got an arch about to hit the planes with the amulet!). Rogues have superior starting equipment for twoweapon combat, and healers and wizards just die a lot until you "build 'em up".
posted by namespan at 4:33 PM on February 25, 2003


namespan: Maybe that just reflects my playing style, I tend to be a bit more "hack & slash"-ish, which is almost certainly the wrong thing to do with wizards. With tourists and archaelogists, you just need to keep an eye on your HP, run away if you get in trouble, and try to keep your experience level around the same as the dungeon level. Oh, and build up a good strong character before you even think of doing the Gnomish Mines. Oh, and one neat trick for archaeologists: (a)pply your bullwhip towards a monster, and sometimes you can steal their weapon.
posted by arto at 7:30 PM on February 25, 2003


Nethack was fun for a bit, but the fact that it lacked a really deep plot bothered me. Then a friend found ADOM and suggested it for me. It's fun, it's more colorful than Nethack, it has an interesting plot and several different endings. (ADOM Guidebook if you get stuck.) [/plug]

I've played RPGs with graphics too, and both are fun. You don't need pretty graphics to have fun with a game.
posted by sailoreagle at 6:33 AM on February 26, 2003


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