Dungeon Crawl

Dungeon Crawl screenshot

My netbook refuses to run almost all modern games, largely because of its 1024×576 screen resolution. Most games from the mid-90s onwards tend to demand 800×600. Old “roguelike”:https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Roguelike games run on it fine, as they come from the distant past, so I have been playing “Dungeon Crawl”:http://crawl.develz.org/wordpress/ on the “recommendation of Troy Goodfellow”:http://flashofsteel.com/index.php/2010/11/17/comfort-games/.

I have never played a roguelike before so there has been a bit of an adjustment. Dungeon Crawl is basically a fast RPG with minimal graphics and zero plot but played with a high-score mentality. I have played it many times over the last few days and have never come close to finishing it or even hitting the mid-game. Apparently most are this tough. Nethack, the most famous roguelike, is even nastier.

Troy’s blog post points out that there is not too much strategic though required but that Dungeon Crawl requires you stay engaged or you will come a cropper. In this way at least it’s similar to computer solitaire or Minesweeper.

I can’t say I am now hooked on roguelikes, but I now know what people are talking about and I have a decent game to pass time with on my netbook.

Please let me know of any decent Ubuntu-compatible, offline-play and netbook resolution friendly games I can try. It’s a narrow list.


  1. I don’t know Dungeon Crawl personally, but if it’s the same as nethack it takes some time for the addiction to set in. It may not have much off a story, but the sheer amount of things you can do, even compared to modern computer RPGs, is staggering. I had quite a successful game just polymorphing myself into big nasty monsters …

    Of course, by quite a successful game I don’t mean I actually won it; as you said, nethack is NASTEE with two capital E, and I usually die early because I’m to impatient…

    I just had to pipe in on the subject of roguelikes … on Ubuntu-compatible games on the netbook, I have no idea, sorry.

  2. Funnily enough I played today as a Troll Berserker and I’m burning through it. Maybe addiction *is* setting in. I’ll have to give Nethack a go, especially if it’s more involved than Dungeon Crawl.

    No problem about the Ubuntu games question. Only a few of us care… I’m trying a new game called _Inside a Star-filled Sky_ right now.

  3. The thing I enjoy about Crawl is that it doesn’t have Nethack’s sheer variety of weird combinations of things. In Nethack I always feel like there _should_ be a way of keeping myself from dying. In Crawl, sometimes the answer is “don’t do what you did five moves ago”.

    For pure tactical exercises in roguelikes, I’ve also played a lot of Angband and some of its assorted variants. It has a lot (perhaps too many) ways of getting out of trouble, and since the levels aren’t persistent you can recall back to town if things get too heated and you can find a corner to stand in for a little while. It is, however, a much _longer_ game than Crawl (even in the case where you’re trying to find all the Pandemonium runes or something).

  4. You’re right Andrew. Dungeon Crawl is hard, but that makes it short and digestible. If only AAA game developers understood that.

  5. I don’t know what unbuntu is, but have you seen SpiderWeb Software? I’m playing and loving Avernum 6 — truly old-time gaming (though perhaps not as old-time as Dungeon Crawl). I love it.

  6. Thanks Ashley. I do like a good hack and slash RPG. I played Dragon Age recently. It was fun, but after 100 hours I had enough…

    “Ubuntu”:http://ubuntu.com is a _free_ operating system, like Windows 7 or Mac OSX. You should check it out – particularly on old Windows XP computers that need new life. Here are some good reasons.

  7. Glad you are trying Dungeon Crawl, Iain. It is still my comfort game, and in the move has been one of the few games I have had time for. And it is still very rewarding.

    Dying a lot more recently. Stupid deaths too.

  8. Thanks Troy. It’s an honour having you commenting here.

    I only discovered Three Moves Ahead a few months ago and I have enjoyed it very much. Great to find a podcast that crosses over video and board games.

    I’m very much looking forward to your Europa Universalis 3 introduction… ;o)

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  10. The processor is not the strongest point in Netbooks… It makes them nearly unusable for most tasks. Most netbook processors offer performances close to a Pentium III processor (which is very old). Netbooks are a pure product of marketing, certainly not engineering.

  11. I’ve also been playing crawl lately. It’s great. I love the modern look and feel (for a roguelike), and vi-keys!
    Other good roguelikes:
    -Already mentioned ADOM has to be my most played game.
    Incursion is cool, don’t remeber why I stopped playing it…
    They should work fine on a netbook.

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