Hack (video game)
This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2007) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
1.0.3 / 23 July 1985
|Type||Roguelike video game|
|License||3-clause BSD license|
History and development
Hack was created in 1982 by Jay Fenlason with the assistance of Kenny Woodland, Mike Thome, and Jonathan Payne, while students at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School. A greatly extended version was first released on Usenet in 1984 by Andries Brouwer. Brouwer continued to work on Hack until July 1985. Don Kneller ported the game to MS-DOS and continued development there. Development on all Hack versions ended within a few years. Hack descendant NetHack was released in 1987.
Hack is still available for Unix, and is distributed alongside many modern Unix-like OSes, including Debian, Ubuntu, the BSDs, Fedora, and others. Hack has also been ported to a variety of non-Unix-based platforms. NetHack is available for almost all platforms which run Hack. There is one exception: Hack is available, but NetHack is unavailable, for the Game Boy Advance.
This describes Brouwer's version 1.0.3, which is the most canonical version, being the one installed by package managers on Linux systems.
Being developed by one man means the game is more balanced. Even when you have discovered all properties of monsters, wands, potions, and have fathomed the role of "luck", the game remains as playable as ever. It may take ages before you reach that stage. You're helped by rumors: cryptic hints, hidden in fortune cookies.
The object of the game is to delve into a dungeon to retrieve the Amulet of Yendor, and perish with as much game points as possible. The player can start out with a different ability set, such as Wizard or Cave(wo)man. The player confronts various monsters: hobgoblins, leprechauns, acid blobs, bats, centaurs, chameleons, dragons, ghosts, imps, trolls, and has weapons, armor, potions, wands, rings and special items to aid in this, e.g. related to fire there is a scroll, a ring, a monster and a wand, and their interplay is to be discovered.
There is time pressure because you die if your food runs out, food is scattered around the dungeon. There is a limit to what you can carry, forcing you to leave valuable items behind. The gold and gems you carry when you die increases your score, but it is heavy too.
The player must enter Hell to recover the Amulet. Entering Hell for the uninitiated just means that "you burn to a crisp". (In NetHack, Hell is renamed.)
The player encounters special rooms such as shops, crypts, and vaults. Other spatial elements in the game are traps and swamps. As your experience grows, so do your abilities, score and the need for food.
Hack implements a graphical user interface using arrangements of ASCII or Extended ASCII glyphs to represent game elements. Some later ports of Hack, on AmigaOS for example, use graphical tiles in place of these letters and symbols.
Typical Hack session
You hear some noises in the distance. ------ |....| ----- ##+....| |..$+# |...<| +...|# |....| |...|############### ------ |...|# #-----+----- |..%|## #|.........| # -----# #|.[......%L -+---- ############## #|.........| |....| # #+@........| |....+#### ##----------- |....| |....+ ------ Level 1 Hp 15(15) Ac 9 Str 16 Exp 1
- @ - the player character
- + - a door
- $ - gold
- % - food
- L - monster; a leprechaun
- [ - armor
- # - corridor
- < - stairway leading upwards
- "Hack". RogueBasin. Archived from the original on August 30, 2006. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "Index of games/hack/". DragonFly BSD revision-control system. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "Hack". Archived from the original on August 4, 2003. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- Harvey, Brian, A Case Study: The Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, archived from the original on June 1, 2016, retrieved December 19, 2018
- "Hack 1.0.3". NetHackWiki. Archived from the original on May 12, 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "Game history 1.0.3". NetHackWiki. Archived from the original on November 17, 2010. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "NetHack 1.3d". NetHackWiki. Archived from the original on May 29, 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "bsd-games.spec". Fedora Project Packages GIT repositories » bsd-games.git. Line 162. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "List of handheld roguelikes". RogueBasin. Archived from the original on December 19, 2018. Retrieved 19 July 2013.