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NetHack from aaaa to Zruty Ep. 4: Customizing the options file

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Welcome to our newest Let's Play series! I'm diving into the end-all-be-all of roguelikes, a game you may have heard of but probably haven't played. NetHack has been around since 1987 as a descendant of Rogue, which a few games have taken inspiration from since then. But where Rogue was a simple game that was expanded on in Hack and NetHack, NetHack hasn't spawned its own sequel: it's simply grown and grown and grown in complexity for nearly 30 years.

Well, except for the ASCII graphics. Those are still pretty simple.

The same way I took on Dwarf Fortress, I decided I wanted to learn the ropes of NetHack with an experienced player at my side. My friend Jeremy Nissen, who has completed many NetHack runs, joins me for this series to impart wisdom, explain NetHack's intricacies, and let me get my self killed on more than one occasion.

Look for new episodes every Wednesday!

In this episode: Wes and Jeremy explain what an Options file is and how to customize it, then dig into some more fundamentals for new players. A new run begins and ends with a new discovery: Sokoban! It's an exciting ASCII cliffhanger you won't want to miss.

Wes Fenlon

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games. When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old RPG or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).