The kids have a bunch of fancy video game hardware. But one of the games they’ve spent the most time playing recently is one that I used to play on a VT100 almost 25 years ago. It doesn’t require any graphics support fancier than curses.
It’s called nethack.
It’s surprising that the game has had this kind of staying power. It’s just your basic dungeon quest game. There’ve been many of those since, but nethack endures. The picture above shows one level of the dungeon. The ‘.’ and ‘#’ characters represent places you can walk. The ‘%’ character represents food or a dead body. You move your character around the level, battle monsters, and pick up items.
Nethack was one of the first big open source projects. Anyone can fix a bug or add a feature. And they have added features. The number of characters, monsters, items, and quirky features is pretty overwhelming at this point. Keeping it all straight is pretty difficult. This guidebook will give you a bit of a feel for it all.