Daily Update: Nethack and MUDs
I don’t know why, but I have an affinity for text based games. I played ZORK when it first came out. I played MUDs over a 1200 baud modem. I had a great time doing so. This was how I was introduced to computers was through games and the best games were all text based. When you found a game with great graphics for a PC it was usually a text based adventure with splash graphics.
Yes, I grew up in the primitive age of computers.
So I was having a hankering for playing a game the other day and this might shock you, but I don’t own a gaming console or a gaming PC (something I will remedy one of these days). So my PC will heat up if I play a graphics intensive game and without a console…well, you get the point.
So that leads me back to text based adventures. Now Nethack isn’t really a text based game, but it doesn’t have any graphics either. It’s run in the computers CMD window and everything is drawn with text characters. If you’re lucky enough you can have color as well. Each letter or symbol represents something different. For example a blue E is a water elemental, but a blue e is a floating eye. A red E is a fire elemental. A D (depending on the color) is a dragon (color determines what type).
The game is a D&D style game where you ‘roll’ up a character by picking what you are (race, class, sex, alignment) and this determines a number of factors about your character. You’re dropped into a dungeon on level 1 and you need to get to the bottom of the dungeon, collect a special token, and get back to the top of the dungeon. There is also a special quest depending on your characters class and alignment.
What does this mean? It means there are dozens of levels in the dungeon. There are multiple different quests. There are endless possibilities.
The game is based on the original Rogue game developed in 1980 and evolved into NetHack in the late 80s (1987?). It’ gone through a lot of changes over the years and some people have even developed graphical versions of the game. And yes, there is an app for that. So I downloaded the app. I’m still getting used to it. I’ve died multiple times. When I played the PC version it was easy to stop playing, copy your character file, and restart. This would give you a backup save point. When you die in nethack, that’s it. It’s over. You don’t start where you left off. That means it’s quite frustrating if you’ve spent a number of hours playing and suddenly you die through some accident (accidents happen in the dungeon) and all your progress is gone. Poof. Just like that. Over.
These are the kinds of games I grew up with as a kid. There were no endless lives. You died, you started over and learned to be more careful. You didn’t float back in a bubble and magically continue your game. Oh heck no. You also didn’t follow the same path everyone else followed. You didn’t just solve a level and move on. Nethack develops levels as you go and draws them randomly ever time. That means you never know what you’re going to get or where it’ll be at. Only a few levels are static like the quests and the lower levels, but for the most part you’re looking at a random dungeon.
I will probably play a little each day. I don’t think I’ll get sucked in like I did long, long ago. It’s fun to see what’s similar in the app version, but I’m used to playing with a keyboard. It’s taking some getting used to.
Other than that, I wrote a bunch yesterday. I knocked out another 2500 words. I hope to do the same today. We’ll see how it goes. I have some honey dos and some shopping to take care of. I need to take Sputtery Truck to the shop tomorrow. I have pictures of ducks to download. Busy Busy Busy.