Dwarf Fortress—The Game To End All Games
Isn’t it tiring when people keep repeating ‘Game X is the Dark Souls of genre Y’?
For players of Dwarf Fortress, that sentence is not only tiring, but also insulting! The far more accurate statement would be ‘Game X is the Dwarf Fortress of genre Y’, because if you want difficulty and !FUN!, you go to Dwarf Fortress, and you never look back. This is not a review, but rather an encouragement to try out one of the most inaccessible, but most engaging game of all time.’
DF has various layers and modes of gameplay. In the most popular one, the player is taking control over a band of dwarves colonizing a new piece of land (or mountain) for their kingdom. They have to grow food, defend against many evils, build a fortress, and come up with ingenious ways of not getting killed by the various threats from within and without. Here’s a couple of ways that dwarves can die:
Getting eaten by a were-frog.
Starving to death because they went mad carving a ring made out of elf bones.
Drowning in lava.
Drowning in lava on purpose.
A flooding, caused by a cave-in.
A lava flooding, caused by a cave-in.
Getting eaten by clowns from hell.
Running into the shooting line of a marksdwarf because they haven’t drunk alcohol for too long.
Running into the shooting line of a marksdwarf who is also a vampire who is wearing a ring made out of elf bones.
The possibilities are endless.
The game simulates everything, even the universe that the game takes place in itself. Players can create new worlds that get populated with dwarves, elves, goblins, humans, monsters, and other creatures. All of those entities have lives of their own, and you can even trace what any entity did in the history files.
This all is the life-project of Tarn Adams. A fascinating thing about the development of Dwarf Fortress is that it is completely crowdfunded; but people are not paying Tarn to finish the game. Rather, they want him to never STOP developing the game. Some say they will only be satisfied when the game is able to simulate our universe itself.
All of this fascinating weirdness is hidden behind an obtrusive UI disaster and ASCII symbols. But don’t you think that is a matter of concern to true followers of DF: the UI, if anything, serves as a puzzle to solve to be admitted into the hallowed halls of Urist. Thankfully, there are various mods to make the game palatable to at least some of those completely disgusted by the game’s graphical presentation. But even those should give the game one more look, because of one reason: BOATMURDERED.
Boatmurdered is a Let’s Play of the traditional written kind which chronicles the history of a dwarven fortress, and its slow descend into madness. Cannibalism, raging bloodthirsty elephants, children playing with the innards of their parents as their home crumbles around them… it has it all. If nothing can make you give the game at least one spin, maybe that story will.
If not, then at least rest assured that all those who would make you believe that Dark Souls is the pinnacle of challenge in gaming are dead wrong. Because Dwarf Fortress exists, and it’s here to steal all pretension of competency that you may have ever held about yourself.
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