NetHack to drop support for floppy disks, Amiga, 16-bit DOS and OS/2

Get off your ASCII if you want seminal adventure game to stay alive on legacy platforms

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Roguelike ASCII adventure game NetHack has just received its second upgrade in 12 years.

NetHack 3.6.1 follows 2015’s version 3.6, which was the game’s first update in a decade.

The new update allows knives and stilettos to be used as can-openers, ends the pernicious practice of diagonal jumping through open doorways and allows taming monkeys and apes with bananas.

Players whose characters are blinded may welcome news that eating a nurse’s corpse will cure that affliction.

There’s around 500 other changes, too, in what the game’s maintainers have described as a “maintenance release”.

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The maintainers have also signalled further releases are in the works, but not on Amiga, Atari, Macintosh Classic, BeOS, OS/2 or 16-bit MS-DOS, “unless someone comes forward to maintain them”.

Floppy disk support will be ended on all platforms. Also on the way out is support for most K&R and pre-ANSI C features, including the Bitfield macro and K&R function definitions.

The likely loss of the platforms and code mentioned above may not perturb many: Rouguelike games are a very niche concern these days. But with NetHack 4.0 offering the dual indignities of colour and proper icons on users on Windows or Linux, there’ll surely be someone out there willing to put their ASCII on the line to keep some vintage code evolving. ®


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