Apathy - Soon come inside it
ASCII GamesIn a slump of computer nostalgia, I started daydreaming about all those character-based games I played as a kid. Growing up with the Tandy 1000 (with additional external 5.25" drive!), I played and programmed myself silly with the following wonders of creativity.
RogueIt all started with Rogue, the first curses game. It sure doesn't look like much, but with some twisting those programmers made everyday characters into monsters. To this day, a lone L still ticks me off... give me that gold back you thieving bastards! Plus, it is most likely the largest influence on my vi addiction due to the
Glenn Wichman, one of the culprits involved in this addictive toy, has a page explaining the deep, dark history of Rogue. He also maintains a list of testimonials to the healing powers of said game.
Start climbing down the Dungeons of Doom, seeking the amulet of Yendor, and having way more fun than should be allowed as a little smiley person at these pages:
What on earth could be more fun than Rogue? The distant relative, ZZT, which is somewhat real-time instead of always pausing for input. Epic Megagames' ZZT was a DOS-only phenomenon as far as I know, but Linux folks should have little trouble running it in a DOS emu. In the height of the DOS shareware golden days, it was coded and promoted by Tim Sweeney, who admits the name is not a real acronym but was chosen so ZZT would come up last on every shareware listing. Yes, the same Tim Sweeney who kicked out the purdy Unreal engine that's powering everything from Notre Dame 3D simulators to Wheel of Time games. Here's a recent interview with the man that deals with how online followings affect a game's development and long term performance. Not relevant, but quite funny quote:
Wouter: ...What do you think the market is going to come up with in beating the Unreal engine? And who do you think is capable of doing that?
My pops had this shareware game on his CGA-capable Tandy laptop (I guess we were just a Tandy Family) which weighed something around fifty pounds. I used to pound the keys for hours figuring out the ingenious puzzles in the default .zzt files that came with the thing. Lions, tigers, and ...others, oh my!
At the official page of this ZZT-inspired ultra hi-fi blast-o-matic text-mode game creation system is intriguing, I was unable to get into their FTP server to snag it. Until I went to mWorld, which also hosts a veritable avalanche of games for the system.
The smiley ratings seem to be fairly accurate. You should definitely check some of them out. Bernard the Bard steals some familiar mods and is very fun to play; I found a plunger, and when trying to use it on the wrong thing instead of just saying "Error", the Bard sticks it on his head and grins. In cute ASCII-mation, of course. The Snarfoogles episodes are nice and short, but full-screen ASCII movies of the happy smiley shooting itself are worth the price of admission. Strange humor. For a more serious, epic game look at the Honor Quest special edition; complete with nifty Celtic font hack and professional sounding tunes, I am impressed.
Despite the name, it has nothing to do with the net. Playing like an expanded, dadaist Rogue, this is an odd experience. Although it seems less random and more linear in having an actual plot with quests, there's plenty to discover about the irrational ranting of reason in this direct Rogue descendant. Those dang eyeballs always keeps me on my toes.
Most likely to be the popular choice for King of Roguelike Games, Angband and its variants follow the same method of gameplay as Rogue but toss in a lot of the mythology of your pal and mine, J.R.R. Tolkien. Start at the official Angband Home Page, thanks to Mr. Jacobs at Genehack. Mosey on over to the framed Thangorodrim for a very nifty, informative site. [Wow, nice source art!]
There are a zillion variations on the original Rogue theme. See the Roguelike Games page for endless piles of 'em!
This page will eventually live at asciigames.html, but it is not there yet because of the limitations of the Pitas system.
[original: 10/29/1999 - last edit: 10/31/1999]
Dan Fitch firstname.lastname@example.org|
Thanks to the wonder-full folk of Pitas.com for hosting my old-fashioned link-list!