Dunnet (video game)

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Genre(s) Text adventure

Dunnet is a surreal, cyberpunk[1] text adventure written by Ron Schnell in 1983. The game enjoys certain popularity because since 1992 it is part of the default packages in many versions of Emacs. The name is derived from the first three letters of dungeon and the last three letters of Arpanet. It was first written in Maclisp for the DECSYSTEM-20, then later re-written in Emacs Lisp so as to be more portable. The game has been recommended to writers considering writing interactive fiction.[2]

Modern versions[edit]

Dunnet is playable on any operating system with the Emacs editor.[3] Emacs comes with most Unices, including OS X and distributions of Linux. Several articles targeted to OS X owners have recommended it as an easter egg as a game that can be run in Terminal.app.[4][5] It can be run by running emacs -batch -l dunnet in a shell or the key sequence M-x dunnet within Emacs, the former being the preferred and official way to run it.[6] Dunnet was used as a benchmark in the effort to port Emacs Lisp to Guile, progressing from running standalone games[7] to running the entire Emacs system in less than a person-year of work.[8]


The game starts out like most text adventures, with the player standing at the end of a dirt road, but it turns to the surreal when players realize that they are actually walking around inside a Unix system, and teleporting themselves around the Arpanet. There are many subtle jokes in this game, and there are multiple ways of ending the game.


  1. ^ "There Is A Surreal Cyberpunk Adventure Game Built Into OS X That You Never Knew About". 
  2. ^ "Interactive Fiction – An introduction (updated)". 
  3. ^ "Dunnet". A text adventure that is built into almost every copy of the Emacs text editor. 
  4. ^ "Play an 'old-school' adventure game". 
  5. ^ "Discover the Text-Based Adventure Game Built Into Your Mac's Terminal". 
  6. ^ Dunnet help command: "NOTE: This game *should* be run in batch mode!"
  7. ^ "Guile Scheme Emacs-Lisp Compatibility Matures". 
  8. ^ "Re: Emacs Lisp's future". 

External links[edit]