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NetHack is a single-player roguelike video game originally released in 1987. It is a descendant of an earlier game called Hack (1985), which is a descendant of Rogue (1980).[2] Salon describes it as "one of the finest gaming experiences the computing world has to offer."[2]

The "net" element references that its development has been coordinated through USENET,[3][4] even before the World Wide Web existed. The "hack" element refers to the game it was based on, Hack. The player takes the part of a dungeon-delving character in search of the Amulet of Yendor.[5]


History and development

NetHack is open source and remains one of the oldest computer games still actively developed,[6] with bug fixes added as deemed necessary by a group of volunteers commonly called the DevTeam. The DevTeam rarely discusses versions under development in public, and releases new versions without notice. However, they do maintain a list of known bugs. Since NetHack is open source, others are free to release patches to the game between official, versioned releases.[7]


Before playing a game, the player is asked to name his or her character and then select a race, role, gender, and alignment, or allow the game to assign them. There are traditional fantasy roles such as knight, barbarian, wizard, rogue, valkyrie, priest, monk, and samurai, but there are also unusual ones, including archaeologist, tourist, and caveman.[8] The player character's role and alignment dictate which deity the character serves in the game and "how other monsters react toward you".[9]

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