The Ultimate Retro-Stupid CRPG gets a facelift!

I got the info from RPG pundit’s blog (Read the man’s colorful prose at your own risk).

The grand daddy of free geek CRPGs(Computer RPG), Nethack, has had a recent facelift.

I’ve been playing NetHack on and off for more than 10 years, much to the amusement of my buddies who can’t fathom how I could play a game whose default graphics was Ascii characters for so long.

The thing is, I have very seldom found a game of Nethack’s depth in term of different stuff you could do. Sure World of Warcraft and Hellgate London look a lot nicer… but you can’t do as much!

From using a wand of polymorph on a pile of junk to make new Magical Items (do it too often and you get a hostile golem) to diping a scroll in a fountain to erase it so you can use your magic marker to inscribe a scroll of Genocide, to training your pet by feeding it so it can pilfer from stores… The sheer level of interaction with the game’s objects and characters are staggering.

Also, It doesn’t get more Retro-Stupid than that! You can die of the most inane things in that game… Eating too much, getting hit by a wand of death ricochetingt on a wall, stepping on a trap that summons stupidly powerful monsters in all adjacent squares.

But the stupid runs both ways. My favorite thing of that game: Yielding the corpse of a cockatrice (with gloves of course), called “the rubber chicken”, to turn all your foes into statues… just be careful not to go blind or get your gloves stolen by a Nymph…

Anyway, over at Dark Art Studios, someone updated a 3d tile-based GUI of Nethack and applied it to the latest version of the game (3.4.3 Dating back to December 2003).

This version is called Vulture’s Eye and can be found here.

Time to hunt for that +2 Grey Dragon Scale Mail armour… It’s not like I ever was dedicated enough to win that game (i.e going down to the 100th level, getting the ‘true’ amulet of Yendor, make it back to level one, reading a cursed scroll of gain level on the 1st level’s up stairway… Ah nevermind! If you know the game you know how it goes… if you don’t, give it a try).

I only made it to the Vampire’s castle without cheating in 10 odd years of playing sporadically… including whole weekends virtually non-stop… (And I made it only marginally farther while cheating)

Heck I remember losing a much beloved character on a Sunday Afternoon and then thinking “$#it, another weekend wasted!” Good times!

Happy Hacking!


  1. YASVON – Yet Another Stupid Version Of Nethack . . .


    Actually I love nethack, despite never having had time to get far into it, and this is the prettiest version I’ve seen so far. I might have to keep a copy of this on my flash drive for the really really slow days at work.

  2. Stop it! Do not show me new ways to waste my weekends. I have a wife now, have you no shame…oh the humanity. Must resist game…stay strong…deep, cleansing breathes…

    Trask, the Last Tyromancer

  3. ADOM ( is objectively better than Nethack and it has not been spoiled with bad graphics thus far, and probably won’t be in the near future.

    Tommi’s last blog post..Fluxx and Uno; system and memory

  4. I’ve played a few of the isometric 3-d tile sets of Nethack, but I’ve never been happy with them. I do definately prefer them to the ascii sets, but to date my favorite play method is a top down 2-d graphical set.

  5. @ John: You remind me of the time I was on Usenet reading about Nethack ascendancy stories! Good times!

    @ Trask: I’m sorry man… couldn’t resist

    @Tommi: I played Angbang some but I never tried ADOM. I used to think I’d try to beat Nethack first before moving on to the other Rogue-likes… I don’t think that’s ever goping to happen.

    @Michael: After having played a few games with this interface, I must say that I also prefer the 2d tiles… makes it easier to see where everything is…

  6. Slash’Em is a decent version of the game, and it stays pretty current with the main Nethack development cycle, or it did a couple of years ago when I was playing it.

    That was pretty much my experience. The 3d was prettier, but the 2d graphical interface was a lot easier to use.

    Ooh for other retrogaming fun, there’s a very nice port of Elite out there called Oolite.

  7. @Michael: I remember Slash’EM quite well, I don’t know if it’s still there but my name used to be part of the credits when I played the game heavily in the mid 90’s and gave a lot of feedback.

  8. 2D version is definitely the best one. However, I don’t have time for this. I don’t. I don’t.
    If I remind myself much enough my will is stronger.

    Maikl’s last blog post..Elemental Elementals part 2 – “Burned to the ground”

  9. I think that I played this a long time ago. It took me longer to make my character then it did for me to die. I really suck at video games. I also tend to get obsessed. I have a very weak spot for Legend of Zelda games, when a new one comes out I tend to disappear. I need to get a Wii! I was going to pick one up this year, but with 2 kids they tend to think that all of my money is theirs, and they are damned good at doing this.

    Currently I’m playing a leisure PC game called Port Royal 2 which is fun for me. ARRG It’s a pirate game, and I’m such a pirate dork I go to Ren Faire dressed as one, even going so far as dressing my kids like them too. Thank god I love being a geek 🙂

    Ripper X’s last blog post..Creating Mysteries part 2

  10. @Maikl: Come on… just until the castle level to see if the Wand of Wish is still there. Wand of wish man!

    @Rip: Have you tried Puzzle Pirates yet? It’s a puzzle driven pirate game whose whole economy rests on player labour and Loot money! You can even win a gazillion of the game’s fake money (that can buy the game’s real money) by playing Texas Hold’em poker in the inns.

    My favorite Pirate game remains Sid Meier’s Pirates (all versions). Damn I loved that game. I still have it on my Steam account.

  11. Hahaha, Messed around with it quite a bit this morning.
    Found out a few things.

    1- Kicking walls and such can lead to death
    2- I like monks
    3- You don’t think it was a good idea to eat that
    4-Exploration mode!
    5- Do you die? Y/N
    6-You seemed to have entered a primitive world. (Monsters were Large letters!)

  12. Woot!

    Welcome to the world of Nethack:

    Try the following (spoilers):

    1-Drop a ring in a sink
    2-While levitating, move over a sink
    3-Zap a wand of turn Undead on a Corpse
    4-Dip your longsword in fountains (especially if you are a Knight)
    5- Name your Elven Dagger ‘Sting’
    6- Polymorph into a Dragon, Lay an egg, and pack the egg in your backpack
    7-Try eating a troll corpse
    8- Write on the floor with an unidentified wand
    9-Eat a dead quantum mechanic
    10- When in doubt, apply a Unicorn horn to you (press ‘.’)