A released djinni grants the player a wish
A released djinni grants the player a wish
The NetHack DevTeam
Initial releaseJuly 1987 (1.3d)[1]
Stable release
3.6.1 / 27 April 2018; 9 months ago (2018-04-27) Edit this at Wikidata
LicenseNetHack General Public License (derivative of BISON general public license, a precursor to the

NetHack is a single-player roguelike video game originally released in 1987 with ASCII graphics. It is a descendant of an earlier game called Hack (1982), which is a clone of Rogue (1980).[2] Comparing it with Rogue, Engadget's Justin Olivetti wrote that it took its exploration aspect and "made it far richer with an encyclopedia of objects, a larger vocabulary, a wealth of pop culture mentions, and a puzzler's attitude."[3] In 2000, Salon described it as "one of the finest gaming experiences the computing world has to offer."[2]

The player chooses a character race and class for the mission of retrieving the Amulet of Yendor in a randomly generated dungeon.[4][5]

History and development

The first version of NetHack was released by Mike Stephenson on July 28, 1987.[6]

A core development team emerged with the release of NetHack 3.0 in July 1989. Over the next 14 years of development they established a tight-lipped culture, revealing little, if anything, between releases. Owing to the ever-increasing depth and complexity found in each release, the development team enjoys a near-mythical status among some fans. This perceived omniscience is captured in the initialism TDTTOE, "The DevTeam Thinks of Everything".

Stephenson licensed the software under the NetHack General Public License, allowing other developers to release their own versions. The license is certified as open source by the Open Source Initiative.[7]

For 12 years, the last version to include new gameplay features was NetHack 3.4.3, released in December 2003.[6] Subsequent updates included new tilesets and compatibility with variants of Mac OS.[8] In the absence of new releases from the developers, several variants developed by fans emerged.

On December 7, 2015, version 3.6.0 was released, the first major release in over a decade. While the patch did not add major new gameplay features, the update was designed to prepare the game for expansion in the future.[9][10] NetHack remains " of the oldest games still being developed".[11] A public read-only mirror of NetHack's git repository was made available on February 10, 2016.[12] Version 3.6.1 was announced on April 28th, 2018, a return to a somewhat more frequent release schedule.[13]

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