Slow-paced, no-death video games?
August 23, 2012 1:45 PM   Subscribe

What video games might I like? Difficulty level: very picky.

I like video games. Or, rather, I have liked a handful of video games very much. By far the games I like most are point-and-click adventures because of the lack of stakes, slow pace, level of engagement, and sense of humor. I keep trying to find more video games that I enjoy, but inevitably get frustrated or bored early on and disengage. What I'm looking for are some suggestions for either classics that I might have missed or current games that might have slipped under my radar.

Some of my relevant favorite games include: Lucasarts adventure games (Day of the Tentacle, Monkey Island 1/2/3, Fate of Atlantis, Sam & Max Hit the Road), Stalker/Policenauts, Paper Mario 1/2/Super, Pokemon Red/Blue (later ones get too complex), Zelda: Wind Waker (I like the exploring the open world and swashbuckling), Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Scribblenauts

Some issues I have that might help clarify what I do and don't like:

Don't like:

- Starting over/deaths. This is going to eliminate most games , but if I've made more than a couple minutes progress and die, I'd rather give up than waste my time going and retreading things.

- Timers. I play very slowly and leisurely. If I feel like I have to race against the clock I get anxiety.

- Too monotonous/repetitive. RTS games almost always fall under this category for me, as do any RPGs that involve grinding.

- Intense memorization. If I have to write things down to remember them later on, I probably won't bother.

- Resource management. This is incredibly tedious to me.

- Too violent. I don't find much pleasure in blowing realistic people's heads off.

Do like:

- Easy. If the game has me trying something over and over again needing precise skill or has me hunting for a FAQ to figure out what to do next, I'm probably out. It doesn't need to be effortless, but if it does require a decent amount of work it needs to hold my interest in some other way.

- Funny. Humor can be enough to offset undesirable qualities, and the quirkier the game is the more I like it.

- Fun. If the basic mechanics of the game are fun, like the sword fighting in Wind Waker.

- Retro or retro-style. Most 3D titles lose my interest, likely since I started playing video games in the 90s and had stopped being interested around the time N64 came out. There are plenty of exceptions to this, but I really like retro-style graphics at the very least.

I've loved many games that don't hit all of these, but it gives you a general idea. I know I've given pretty loose guidelines, but at least you get a general idea. From NES to PSX, or current Mac/Android/Wii/Wiiware I'm open to platforms.
posted by gregoryg to Media & Arts (55 answers total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
If you enjoyed LucasArts' old adventure games, you could do worse than looking through Telltale Games' catalog and picking something you like. Except Jurassic Park because damn if that game hasn't been almost universally jeered.
posted by griphus at 1:49 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't know if you're open to PS3 suggestions, but if so, there's a compilation coming soon with all three of Thatgamecompany's downloadable titles (Flow, Flower and Flowest Journey). All three are relaxing and meditative, quite pretty, and more or less frustration-free.
posted by Merzbau at 1:49 PM on August 23, 2012 [3 favorites]

Endless Ocean and its sequel for the Wii are both very relaxed. There's not really any such thing as death/restarting, basically no violence, memorization, or resource management. Essentially, they're SCUBA diving simulators with a plot to link together the places you dive. There's a lot of open exploration, but not much pressure. Very relaxing, and very much unlike most games.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:49 PM on August 23, 2012 [4 favorites]

Oh hell they're not out for the Mac. I'm not sure if they work in a virtual environment or not.
posted by griphus at 1:50 PM on August 23, 2012

You mention LucasArts point-and-click adventures; have you checked out Telltale? They have a Sam & Max series and a Monkey Island game.
posted by eruonna at 1:50 PM on August 23, 2012

Man, I'm kind of jealous of you, since you haven't played Portal 2 yet.
posted by theodolite at 1:50 PM on August 23, 2012

Response by poster: Oh hell they're not out for the Mac. I'm not sure if they work in a virtual environment or not.

Actually, they are! Forgot to mention that I did like their Monkey Island and Back to the Future efforts.
posted by gregoryg at 1:52 PM on August 23, 2012

I would also suggest you get this book and see if there's stuff you like in it. It's mostly about the older adventures games, but it has newer ones such as the Chzo Mythos games.
posted by griphus at 1:56 PM on August 23, 2012

The new episodic Walking Dead games from Telltale are almost perfect for you. There are occasionally events where you have to press a button quickly, but for the most part, these are really fun, video game "choose your own adventure" experiences.
posted by jbickers at 1:59 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm playing a PC game called "Quantum Conundrum," in which a young person (player-character, in the first person) must find out which dimension his mad-scientist uncle has gotten himself into. He moves through the mansion, solving puzzles using a glove that lets him slip instantly and effortlessly into one of 4 other dimensions, which are just like this one, but some important physical property is different. For example, the first dimension is the fluffy dimension.

I die a whole lot in this game, but never more than about 10 seconds back in time-- the game knows that some of its puzzles are just slightly twisted jumping puzzles, so expect to fall now and then. It's a fun game, and easy to pick up or put down as needed. Also, dying can be its own reward, with the messages one gets there.
posted by Sunburnt at 2:04 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, Portal/Portal 2 - no question, you'll love them. World of Goo (hilarious, quirky, retro themed puzzler) is fantastic and adorable, though might be a little harder than you'd like. Bastion (narrated cartoony platform shooter with phenomenally good music and voice acting/story) is great. Braid (brain bending time puzzler/platformer with beautiful music and look) is really hard if you want to finish it, but is pretty easy to get to 75% or so and absolutely worth looking at.

Not sure if all of these are available on your platform, mind.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:05 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Ugh, and I meant Snatcher, not Stalker! Thanks for the great suggestions so far, everyone.
posted by gregoryg at 2:06 PM on August 23, 2012

If you like adventure games, you might want to check out the offerings from Wadjet Eye games. Some of them you can die in, but some you can't. Resonance is great, although you can die, and there is at least one timed event. Still, great game.
posted by dortmunder at 2:06 PM on August 23, 2012

Definitely Portal 1 and 2! They are a little difficult at times, but fun-challenging, not throw-my-mouse-at-the-wall-challenging.

Also check out the Phoenix Wright series. They're great, funny modern adventure/puzzle games that originally came out on the DS, but are now (I believe) ported to iOS. The same developer came out with Ghost Trick, which is also on iOS and also fantastic.
posted by sonmi at 2:06 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm like you in a lot of ways - I generally latch onto certain games and play them to death. For me in the last several years that's included the Katamari games and Super Paper Mario - and since you didn't mention Katamari, if you haven't played those before, look for anything from that franchise!

I came here to recommend Glitch (previously on the blue), which is the first online multiplayer game I ever played and which I got WAY more obsessed with than I expected to. It meets a lot of your criteria (no starting over, very leisurely, no violence, surprisingly funny, not any more memorization-oriented or grindy than you choose to make it). If you decide to try it out, there is a MetaFilter group there with a pretty active chat channel, in case you want to add a social element to your gameplay.
posted by jessypie at 2:07 PM on August 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

I feel like this question was made for me because I have many of the same preferences.

Honestly, I've found that I enjoy a lot of old Genesis/SNES-era platformers and RPGs much moreas a grown up because I can play them on an emulator and start from any point rather than a set save point. FFIV and VI are particularly good. I'd also recommend Super Mario World, Yoshi's Island, and Yoshi's Island DS as fun, relatively stress-free platformers. There are timers, but the games are otherwise really stress free (maybe mute the music in the dungeons and haunted houses; it always made me antsy). Shenmue was cool, back in the day. I usually just went to the arcade to play video games in the video game than actually, you know, playing the game.

Looking forward to hearing more suggestions.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:08 PM on August 23, 2012

Oh! Roller Coaster Tycoon! The early Roller Coaster Tycoon games are like crack for me in the same way that SimCity 2000 once was (which I'd also recommend, if you've never played). Something about the modularity of building is really peaceful and you can still manage to do stuff without paying much attention to the anxiety-inducing monetary aspects.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:11 PM on August 23, 2012

Oh, and I'd actually warn against Braid. I found it frustrating and the overwhelming dark tone of impending doom wigged me out.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:17 PM on August 23, 2012 [3 favorites]

I also came to recommend Glitch. It's still in beta; if you (or any other reader) wants an invite, I have two available and would be happy to give them away. MeMail me.

(Also, I'll totally be checking out the MeFi group! I didn't know one existed!)
posted by snorkmaiden at 2:23 PM on August 23, 2012

I recommend Knytt Stories! It's a game where you gain abilities that gradually let you explore further and further. There are some challenging platform-y bits, but usually the savepoints are spaced such that you don't have to backtrack. Plus it's gorgeous and a bit retro-pixely, and has a semi-active fan community that's produced some good fan-made levels.
posted by rivenwanderer at 2:25 PM on August 23, 2012

(Following snorkmaiden's comment, I also have three Glitch invites available and am happy to give them out if anyone wants one. I'm not sure how quickly new accounts are created without an invitation these days.)
posted by jessypie at 2:26 PM on August 23, 2012

Epic Mickey.
posted by dpx.mfx at 2:30 PM on August 23, 2012

I came in to recommend Journey, but instead I will just strongly second Merzbau's suggestion of all the ThatGameCompany games. They are perfect for your description, and just the kind of game I like too.

Also look out for the release of Unfinished Swan later this year, it will also be right up your street. I've played it, and I'm excited about it!
posted by Joh at 2:31 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nthing Flow, Flower, and Journey from ThatGameCompany.

You might also like the Blue Toad Murder Files and the Professor Layton series.
posted by Boxenmacher at 2:40 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't know if Okami is your ideal game but I thought it was really pretty great. There is fighting, but the game's central mechanic is drawing on the screen. It's really more about cleansing corruption, feeding animals and generally making the world a brighter place. (gameplay vid).

It is pretty easy, I beat it and never died once. It was originally a PS2 game but was ported over to the Wii. It is 3D, but has an awesome art style.
posted by cali59 at 2:47 PM on August 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure if this counts as resource management or not (since I cheat anyway). I like playing games like SimCity and Zoo Tycoon but I always start with a cheat code for unlimited money because all I really want to do is build the damn thing.
posted by magnetsphere at 2:50 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

You need to play Machinarium! Hands down the funnest, funniest en most gorgeous point-and-click adventure ever.

It's got an engaging story, the puzzles are imaginative and you can't die. Seriously, try it!
posted by Sourisnoire at 2:57 PM on August 23, 2012 [5 favorites]

Man, I wouldn't say Portal fits the requirements at all. Plenty of opportunity for death, plenty of need-to-time-it-just-right actions. Also typically not easy, especially in later puzzle levels. Also also violence (Are you still here? *splatter*)

Also Glitch is just.. not a game, yet. It consists of gathering things, using those things to make equipment, and then using that equipment to gather/generate other, different things. The only real goal at the moment might be house upgrading.. except most of that requires real cash monies. Skip Glitch until they have some idea of what you're supposed to DO.

I'd definitely recommend Endless Ocean, although the first more than the second.

Might also want to hit up Big Fish Games and try some of their "hidden picture" adventure games. Pretty much everything over there has a 1-hour demo, so you can try a bunch of things and get a feel for them.

Minecraft on peaceful/creative mode?
posted by curious nu at 3:22 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Another vote for Glitch! (I also have a couple of invites if anyone else runs out.)
posted by Room 641-A at 3:23 PM on August 23, 2012

I used to LOVE Pokemon Snap on Nintendo 64. I don't know if it was released on other platforms. It's a pokemon-based photo safari game, where you're in a vehicle traveling through a designated area - you don't have to steer or anything, it's like a slow amusement park ride. Various pokemon cross the road, are spotted in the distance, can be lured out, etc. It was SO much fun, cute, and easy to learn.
posted by Occula at 3:33 PM on August 23, 2012

On should-have-previewed-better: You don't need any money to play Glitch. You can pay real cash to upgrade certain things like wardrobe and furnishings but there are a limited number of free upgrades so it's not as if you'd be walking around naked*. None of the paid upgrades has any impact on actual game play, however.

*Unless you wanted to, which would be pretty normal in Glitch.
posted by Room 641-A at 3:36 PM on August 23, 2012

Boom Blox on Wii
posted by rhizome at 3:51 PM on August 23, 2012

Seconding the Ace Attorney/Phoenix Wright series! It's interactive detective fiction in the form of a game where you play a defense attorney(-slash-freelance-detective) investigating crimes. The puzzles make you think just enough to keep you engaged without being at all difficult. There's a lot of humor and character development and you can save pretty much any time.
posted by bettafish at 4:25 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

It sounds like other people are recommending computr games, so....
Torin's Passage!
It's from the 90's, but you wanted retro...and it's awesome! And funny!
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 4:31 PM on August 23, 2012

You need to play Machinarium! Hands down the funnest, funniest en most gorgeous point-and-click adventure ever.

I was just going to recommend this one. It's only superseded in gorgeousness by Botanicula made by the same people.
posted by bluefly at 5:16 PM on August 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

Journey is 100% your game. Braid is difficult, but not generally in a twitchy, rage inducing way, and due to the mechanics of the game, any death is easily reversible. It's incredibly challenging, but also intellectually rewarding, and you can play in short bursts, solving one puzzle at a time, as the mood strikes you.
posted by empath at 5:16 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Please yes, get Journey and flOwer immediately. You will not regret it. If you don't like them as "gaming" experiences then try thinking them as interactive poetry instead. Still worth it.

Braid drove me crazy.

A little out of left field but you might enjoy the Fable games. Particularly Fable III, which cut down on a lot of the grinding, I thought. They're relatively easy and quite funny and can be played at any pace. You might consider them too violent? But there isn't actually much blood and I think the violence is fairly subdued. The dark themes are not, but it's a sarcastic, self aware sort of dark. If you go for swords you get quite swashbuckly. Every niche can be explored. You can do so in a chicken suit.

I love Okami but found it too hard in the end, and too stressful. (Omg my puppy noooo!) But its sequel, Okami-den, for Nintendo DSi, was perfect for me. The stylus turned the inking mechanic into something much less tedious. The game was still incredibly funny and, if possible, thousands of times cuter. You can run around and explore as much as you want. The only problem is that it was kind of short.
posted by Mizu at 5:56 PM on August 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

I also recommend The Walking dead (Telltale Games), with the following caveat: it is possible to die if you don't respond quickly enough. However, I've only died twice in the game (only the first two episodes are out, and those took me 4 hours), and both times it 'respawned' me at the beginning of that specific 'test,' so all I had to do was replay 30 seconds.

You might also like SOME Popcap games, like Plants vs Zombies. Most of them are merely 'meh', though.

Now, let's talk indie games!

For Interactive Fiction, I'd suggest you take a look at Violet--short, funny, and I think it may be actually impossible to lose, and it has a built-in hint system if you get stuck. You might also like Lost Pig, in which an... intellectually challenged man tries to find a pig. (The 'interpreter' I suggest is Gargoyle).

People already mentioned Machinarium and Botanicula. They are excellent! World of Goo is, as stated above, maybe a bit too hard, but is a legitimately joyful game.

I also strongly recommend Knytt Stories/Knytt. Knytt is a single game; Knytt Stories is a whole whack of games, some made by the creator, some made by fans. It's adorable. (Note: some of the fan-made Knytt Stories levels are wickedly hard by design, so... be aware when you're downloading new levels). Here is a Knytt Mac installer (comes bundled with Wine).

I'm... not sure if you would like Bastion. It's gorgeous, it's immersive, but the gameplay boils down to 'kill doods' and it is very possible to die and have to replay.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 6:22 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]
posted by spatula at 6:39 PM on August 23, 2012

Photopia (scroll)
posted by trunk muffins at 6:50 PM on August 23, 2012

Your taste is video games is very similar to mine.

Awhile back, on a whim, I bought a delightful little game called Costume Quest from the PS3 store. It's an adventure RPG that involves fighting, but in a simplistic way (you basically just have to press a button or two on the controller). The game is super cute to look at, has some funny dialogue and is easy (trust me, if I can finish it, everyone can).
posted by Defying Gravity at 6:50 PM on August 23, 2012

Lots of good suggestions here; I'd personally recommend Journey and the Pheonix Wright games. Ghost Trick might be worth a look but it is harder (which still means not very hard).

Generally speaking, you might want to investigate visual novels that have actual game components - Phoenix Wright is kind of like this. A lot of these don't make it into English, but at least one Sakura Wars game was translated. It's only possible to lose in the battle sequences, which are like Final Fantasy Tactics but with no levelling up or equipment or other micro-management, just tactics, and are pretty easy in the games in the series I've played. Most of the game is silly dialogs with puzzles and a handful of minigames thrown in; if you act like a jerk and fail at all the minigames all that happens is your teammates get worse in battle.

I often wish that life was like Sakura Taisen in that being a jerk resulted in Hard Mode.
posted by 23 at 7:32 PM on August 23, 2012

Myst is on

I have not played much of what is mentioned above, but I'd wager many of them were inspired by this game. Its two decades old, but still one of the best.
posted by iurodivii at 8:20 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

I could have written your post - I seriously have the exact same preferences with games.

My favorite game ever is little big planet for the ps3. You can die, but the save spots are aplenty, and overall it's a very easy game. The art and music are awesome, and it was often funny. There is also a huge community of people who make their own levels and upload them to the lbp server, so even once you're done with the game there's a ton more free content.

I tried braid and hated it. It was just too hard, and that destroyed its fun-making capacity for me. It takes a level of patience that I just don't have.

The same studio that made costume quest also made a game called Stacking where the characters are Russian nesting dolls; as you stack up characters, you gain different abilities. It's really an awesome idea, great art, very funny, and has pretty easy puzzles.
posted by imalaowai at 9:10 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

*Phoenix Wright
*That Game Company (Flow/Flower/Journey)
*Portal 1 & 2

...Katamari?!?! You are a little guy who rolls things up into a ball to make stars. You start with paper clips and get bigger and bigger items like books then cats then people then cars then trees then buildings then ferris wheels then theme parks then cities then countries then THE MOON. It's endlessly entertaining, super funny, no death/penalties/scoring. There is a time element on the levels and a rather alarming BZZZT BZZZT BZZZT that sounds for the last 30 seconds, but other than that I think you would love it.
posted by wintersonata9 at 9:23 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am like you, in that I'm easily bored, and relatively crap at games, so whatever I play must be entertaining, and not too hard, and please no tonnes of dying (super mario galaxy, you bastard).

I loved Okami on the wii. It's possibly my favourite game of all time. It wasn't hard, there's effectively no real dying, it's funny and beautiful.
posted by smoke at 9:37 PM on August 23, 2012

How about World of Goo? At its core it is a physics puzzle game, but the mechanics are fun and there is real humor and whimsy in its distinctive visual style.
posted by mmascolino at 9:38 PM on August 23, 2012

I was going to chime in to recommend The Longest Journey and its follow-up Dreamfall. Both are available for cheap on Steam. But then they are Windows only atm...

So I will just chime in about Machinarium and the Telltale games - they are great.
posted by gemmy at 9:52 PM on August 23, 2012

I also disagree on Portal. I love Portal, but it is difficult in places, you do die and have to redo a lot, and the timing gets intense. I love puzzle games and platform games, but I had to get my hardcore gamer SO to complete one bit of Portal 1 for me, and Portal 2 had a lot of repetition. Don't take that as a bad review, because its not, but I don't think the game is for you.

Katamari I'm not sure about. Another game I love to bits, the basic mechanic is SO FUN, and the art style and humor is great. However, the timer aspect made it really hard for me. I wish there were an unlimited timer option, because then it would fit your needs. Its probably cheap enough to at this point you could try it though, because its a superb game.

My follow up suggestion would be the lego star wars games (and probably others in the lego movie theme series). Best as a co-op game but still fun single player. Basic mechanic is running around shooting, platforming and collecting things, but its not violent at all. If you die, you respawn immediately on the spot so no progress is lost, and the stuff you have collected falls out of your body (to be re-collected by your co-op partner, or yourself if you are fast enough). Mostly its very simple and fun, and funny in places. I remember a couple of spots where I couldn't figure out what to do and had to look it up, but those really stand out as unusual, the game is relaxing fun.
posted by Joh at 10:20 PM on August 23, 2012

Nthing Quantum Conundrum.
posted by Artw at 11:18 PM on August 23, 2012

The Lego games? (eg. Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Batman) They're very easy but quite humorous, especially if you are a fan of the original source. I've been playing Lego Harry Potter on and off for a few weeks now and it's not stressful at all. Even if you fall off a platform or die during a boss battle, you're automatically regenerated and all you lose is points. (You can find bonus items throughout the game that help you along so this isn't an issue.)

Have you tried any of the casual games available nowadays? A lot of that is aimed at casual players and doesn't require much reflex. You can have a look on or for some suggestions.
posted by fallsauce at 2:07 AM on August 24, 2012

2nding Plants vs Zombies... great game, quirky humor, and lots of fun.
posted by Grither at 4:33 AM on August 24, 2012

My tastes are similar to yours, and I loved Capcom's Zack and Wiki. It's a point-and-click puzzler for the Wii that's charming w/o being too cutesy.
posted by TG_Plackenfatz at 1:49 PM on August 24, 2012

Gravity Bone (free) and the sequel: 30 Flights of Loving ($5)
posted by hellojed at 4:25 PM on August 24, 2012

I don't want to say I have direct suggestions, but I do have some games I want to share.

- Civilzation 5
The game's difficulty starts of very forgiving, and there is a very large amount to the game, you rarely have to fight and you generally don't have to save/reload as if you died in another game. The better players think more between turns than having to make snap decisions. I feel like the game is like playing an homage to human history focusing on highlights on a global scale. It is complex, it takes time to learn but does its best to reward lesiure time investment if it is in a style you can appreciate.

- Deus Ex: Human Revolution
A wonderful sequel to a pillar of PC gaming history that was made with talent and love. It has carefully orchestrated music, plot setting and graphics that make it a real experience. If you quick-save a lot you have minimal re-treading, everything I've seen so far you can really take at your own pace and the game offers a lot of variety on various ways of playing it. The demo videos may look flashy if you look at some online and the game more than most any I've played deliver exactly the experience you see. A controversy when it came out was that people were trying to play the entire game without killing a single person and complained you had to kill a few required 'boss' enemies through the plot. I considered it a feather in the cap of the developer that so few enemies had to be killed.

- LA Noire
It is now out on PC and I love the idea of 'playing' a detective-style movie game where much more weighs on your interactions with people, intuition and problem solving than any 'action' scenes. If anything I hear the action scenes are more bolted-on to the game, and you have the option of passing the action scenes if you wish. I haven't played this game but only heard good things about it and I want to buy it and play through a 'story-only' mode with my girlfriend for fun, it seems like it has some great ideas on where gaming and media could go.

- Minecraft
This is a very hard game to describe but I think it has wide appeal for all the right reasons. The easiest description of it is 'first person legos', but it doesn't really do it justice. It is something like a retro open world simulator. It is very quaint and you have pigs and zombies wandering around and you get interesting relaxing instrumental music as you play doing whatever you want. About half the people I speak to about it can't fathom it and the other half think it is wonderful. The key point is you get what you want out of it, or leave it. One friend makes stuff like houses and farms with his kids, other people build things and share them online. I tend to be more of a competitive hard-core type gamer and have been playing through Vech's Super Hostile maps - Vechs makes worlds you can download and play that ration your resources in a difficult world and you try to reach the end. In a lot of ways now that I think about it his maps are very like zelda games but I think his maps are a bit more difficult than you intend. Also I only get my jollies out of this by doing it multiplayer with friends on a server I host. Like the civ series I think this is a beautiful game and well worth the fame and insane amount of money it got a previously unknown dreamer/game programmer.

- Nethack
This of course is by far the most off-beat suggestion. This might be the most difficult game ever created within reason, but from another angle the answer for every situation is easy to grasp if you know how the game works. The default means of playing you use weird keys to navigate and have to interpret simple coloured letters as various monsters. For ages I never cared to approach it, but after finding and finding to telnet into I devoted a large amount of time to the game, and even shared many sessions with my brother on mumble voice chat and using a shared 'screen' session.

Somehow this might appeal to you if you found the same zen way to approach the game as I did, where the intial understanding of how to play the game is the first puzzle you face. You never have to worry about reloading after deaths because each death is final. There is no reload or checkpoint, you simply have to start the game again. It is hard, but if you can accept and deal with those limitations this game has a lot you might be looking for. It is completely turn based. An amazing percentage of every game is actually 'winnable', my guess is easily 95% of games are winnable, if you just think and choose the logical course of action. There is always that 1 in 20 chance that tells you this time just wasn't your time to win. The maps are randomly generated and the resources you scrounge are random, but if you are smart and roll with chance you get what you need to survive. These are the reasons I love the game. There have been many nethack threads on mefi.

I didn't want to mention on preview I'm a fanatical PC-only macs/consoles must die gamer. I'm sorry if any of these titles aren't available on your preferred platforms!
posted by BurnMage at 8:12 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

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