Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I started playing Dwarf Fortress, a charming little game about dwarves who build a fortress. As opposed to a fortress build out of dwarves, which would just be silly. I heard about it quite some time ago and put off checking it out despite how interesting it sounded because I was afraid it's interface would be a cluttered nightmare of shortcut keys and menus. Which it is, but it's not as bad as it sounds really. Nethack is no worse really, and while I would greatly prefer using a mouse for most of the selection process, it works pretty well. I still wouldn't recommend it to anybody by ultra-uber-hardcore gamers. Not because it's hard, although it is, but because it's just so massively overwhelming in almost all aspects. But if any of my non-existent readers wants to try, look here for help.

Right now my current fortress isn't doing so well. Faced with a lack of food and booze (but more armor then I could possibly ever need), most of my dwarves have been caught up in a "Tantrum Spiral" which basically means they all throw fits which causes others to throw fits which causes others to throw fits until every dwarf is doing nothing but stomping around hitting things and wracking all my stuff. Personally I am at this point waiting for them all to die so I can start over and do a better fortress somewhere else. Yeah it sounds heartless but they are the ones who decided to smash my farm. I am just sad to leave all of the tons and tons of more or less useless loot behind. But I could always go get it in adventure mode, where it is bound to be more useful. Adventure mode is an alternative gameplay mode where you can explore old ruins of forts you abandoned and learn more about the world. It's a lot more like Nethack and other such games where your just one guy exploring the world and getting treasure, except the world you explore is the same one you try and make forts on.

The unofficial (hell maybe official) motto of Dwarf Fortress is "Losing is Fun!". And by and large it's true. You can't really win as far as I know, just hold off death for as long as you can, and when anyone dies, they are dead and thats it. But the interesting thing is the game it's self. The way it remembers all your attempts, the way the world and it's history is created more or less by the computer and grows even more as you play, the way you find new things and interesting ways to do things. I guess thats why it's not for everyone. It's not a simple game with a simple score or a simple ending, it's an insanely complex game that manages to be fun anyway.

I bet I will get bored with it after a few weeks anyway though. I always do.

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