January 25, 2011

The nurse hits! (I hope you don't mind.)

Here's something you don't see everyday: a celebration of "roguelikes." Rogue itself was before my time, but but it's not an exaggeration to say that much of my life in the 80s and 90s -- and even, occasionally, more recently -- was pre-empted and shunted aside by Hack and the successive versions of Nethack (along with variants like Moria and Angband.) You know how it is. You'll take a break from studying your Greek with just one quick game, and before you know it, the sun is coming up and you realize you've spent the last ten hours tapping into the void, digging direct routes through the maze levels so you can easily traverse them once you have to contend with the Amulet's teleportation interference.

It's sad, maybe, but those were some of the best times of my life. (And I can still recall the precise details of certain ascensions going back decades. Yaggle-Taggle the Barbarian. Conchobor Jr. the Tourist. Good times.)

It taught me, if nothing else, D&D's chief flaw: that it had to be played with other humans. Nethack, on the other hand, was just you and a green-glowing screen, a vast improvement. To this day, I will sometimes notice, somewhere deep inside, a slight, involuntary shudder when I see a capital letter L, particularly if it's green. (Not a lower-case "l" -- those leprechauns are annoying but nothing like a Lich.)

So yeah, I'm a nerd or whatever.

Still, you can too, if you want. Latest version is here.

(via boingboing.)

ADDED: This essay on the history and significance of Nethack was posted in the boingboing comments and is worth a look if you're at all interested in the subject. I sure hadn't realized that Eric S. Raymond had written the player's guide!

Posted by Dr. Frank at January 25, 2011 03:46 AM | TrackBack