The Greatest Game You Will Ever Play

"No graphics, no sound, no razzle-dazzle -- but NetHack is still one of the finest gaming experiences the computing world has to offer."

- Wagner James Au, The Best Game Ever,, 01/27/2000

Imagine Yourself In A Murky Dungeon

The only thing heavier than the air in this place is the pack on your back. You haven't eaten in days, and you can't remember when you last saw the sun. You think about your faithful little dog who joined you on your journey to retrieve the Amulet of Yendor.

And you think about how you had to eat his corpse after he was torn apart by orc zombies.

You feel that eating the little dog was a bad idea. And what's worse is that now you get the distinct impression that every creature you see wants to rip your head off.

Your thoughts are interrupted by the cry of a shrieker, a sure sign of impending trouble. With a heavy sigh, you ready your sword.

Times are tough.

"The depth of gameplay in NetHack is nothing short of miraculous, a standing testament to what can be accomplished by a community of gamers working towards a common goal."

- Erik Reckase,

Infinitely Replayable: Randomly generated dungeons for every adventure

Challenging like no video game you've ever played before

Exciting on a whole other level

Free and open source

Available for every platform from the Atari to the iPhone

What's All This Then?

NetHack is the deepest and most challenging video game ever created. In continuous development by an international team of over 100 developers since 1987, NetHack boasts an unparalleled level of interactivity, replayability, and difficulty.

In NetHack, players are charged with the task of retrieving the Amulet of Yendor from the Mazes of Menace, a vast dungeon that is randomly-generated to insure a unique experience for each new adventure.

In the Mazes of Menace, your wits are your greatest strength, and success is dependent upon your creativity and cunning. There are no do-overs in NetHack, and death is swift for those who fail to learn the intricacies of the Mazes. NetHack is a truly difficult game, and many play for years before emerging from the dungeon victoriously.

Think you've got what it takes to plumb the depths, snag the Amulet, and make it out alive? Give it a go. NetHack is open-source and freely available for nearly every platform under the sun, and below you can find links to many popular versions.

"Unlike modern games that prepackage your entertainment in hi-def visuals [and] hi-fi surround sound, NetHack relies entirely on your imagination."

- Michael Saba, NetHack: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Death,, 9/4/2008

This just can't be happening. Twelve floors down, scores of foes vanquished, more than a few close calls, and I'm about to meet my end at the hooves of a particularly frightful pony.

A recent encounter with a dragon has left me with low life, lower energy, and a near-empty pack.

I frantically search through my inventory for some kind of solution to my equestrian nightmare. No dice. Damn it.

Luckily, I've got a good head start on my little pursuer, and I stumble through the door before me into a large room. A chest! This could be just what I need. But it's locked! I take a mighty swing at the lock, and my staff splinters into a dozen pieces.

Oh, come on!

The light from my candle casts a comically dramatic shadow on the pony as it tears into the room. Suddenly, I remember the luckstone in my pocket! Liberating it from its linty prison, I chuck the luckstone with everything I've got...

The rock connects. The pony falls down dead. Now that's lucky.

"The fact is that comparing Diablo to NetHack is like pitting a wading pool against the Marianas trench; the former is fun and gives you a taste of what the real thing is like, while the latter is immense and deep enough to crush visitors who venture in unprepared."

- T. Byrl Baker, Unsung Heroes: Ground Breaking Games,

5 Tips For All New Adventurers

  • Get Spoiled

    NetHack is all about creative thinking, patience, and luck. But it's also about learning. When you need a little help finding out what to do or what just happened to you, check out the NetHack Wiki for guilt-free spoilers.

  • The E-Word

    Inscribing the word "Elbereth" on the dungeon floor invokes the power of the elven deity and can protect you from most monsters.

  • Watch that hunger!

    Food is incredibly important in NetHack, and staying fed is a top priority. Remember that you can eat many corpses, so long as they haven't rotted.

  • Lighten the load

    If your pack starts to get heavy you can suffer penalties from falling down stairs to not being able to eat. Travel light to move swiftly and safely.

  • Pray when you need a miracle.

    Praying can heal wounds, relieve hunger, uncurse items, and more! But be careful not to pray too often. You wouldn't want to upset your god...

"NetHack is, without a doubt, the greatest game you will ever play."

- Me

The Stats

In Development for 25+ Years by over 100 developers and played more than 3,402,733 times by over 87,861 users on dozens of platforms

Spawning Countless Copies And Shaping The History Of Videogames And yet it has Never Been Equaled In Its Breadth Nor Its Replayability ...Seriously.


Each @ symbol below links to a blog post, website, forum topic, or review from the last 20 years about NetHack.

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The History Of NetHack

Rogue, The OG Dungeon Crawler, is released
Hack, the grandfather of NetHack, is posted to Usenet by Jay Fenlason
Andries Brouwer releases a major retooling of Hack, version 1.0
Mike Stephenson merges several forks into NetHack 1.4f
NetHack version 2.3e is released
The DevTeam forms and releases NetHack 3.0, a major rewrite of the game
1989    - 1992
NetHack is upgraded to 3.0.10 and ported to various platforms
Izchak Miller posts NetHack 3.1.0 to Usenet on behalf of The DevTeam
NetHack 3.2 is dedicated to Miller, who passed way in 1994
NetHack 3.3, the 24th public release of NetHack, is published
NetHack 3.4 is released by The DevTeam
NetHack 3.4.3 is made available
After a 10+ year hiatus, a new version of NetHack is released
You play NetHack for the first time and fall madly in love with it

The Dungeoneers

Adam Aronow, Izchak Miller, Mike Stephenson, Alex Kompel, J. Ali Harlow, Norm Meluch, Andreas Dorn, Janet Walz, Olaf Seibert, Andy Church, Janne Salmijarvi, Pasi Kallinen, Andy Swanson, Jean-Christophe Collet, Pat Rankin, Ari Huttunen, Jochen Erwied, Paul Winner, Barton House, John Kallen, Pierre Martineau, Benson I. Margulies, John Rupley, Ralf Brown, Bill Dyer, John S. Bien, Ray Chason, Boudewijn Waijers, Johnny Lee, Richard Addison, Bruce Cox, Jon W{tte, Richard Beigel, Bruce Holloway, Jonathan Handler, Richard P. Hughey, Bruce Mewborne, Joshua Delahunty, Rob Menke, Carl Schelin, Keizo Yamamoto, Robin Johnson, Chris Russo, Ken Arnold, Roderick Schertler, David Cohrs, Ken Arromdee, Roland McGrath, David Damerell, Ken Lorber, Ron Van Iwaarden, David Gentzel, Ken Washikita, Ronnen Miller, David Hairston, Kevin Darcy, Ross Brown, Dean Luick, Kevin Hugo, Sascha Wostmann, Del Lamb, Kevin Sitze, Scott Bigham, Deron Meranda, Kevin Smolkowski, Scott R. Turner, Dion Nicolaas, Kevin Sweet, Stephen Spackman, Dylan O'Donnell, Lars Huttar, Stephen White, Eric Backus, Malcolm Ryan, Steve Creps, Eric Hendrickson, Mark Gooderum, Steve Linhart, Eric R. Smith, Mark Modrall, Steve VanDevender, Eric S. Raymond, Marvin Bressler, Teemu Suikki, Erik Andersen, Matthew Day, Tim Lennan, Frederick Roeber, Merlyn LeRoy, Timo Hakulinen, Gil Neiger, Michael Allison, Tom Almy, Greg Laskin, Michael Feir, Tom West, Greg Olson, Michael Hamel, Warren Cheung, Gregg Wonderly, Michael Sokolov, Warwick Allison, Hao-yang Wang, Mike Engber, Yitzhak Sapir, Helge Hafting, Mike Gallop, Irina Rempt-Drijfhout, Mike Passaretti, & Others

Some info above taken from the Official NetHack Guidebook.