An image from Dwarf Fortress, taken from the Wiki.
Before there was Minecraft, there was…. Dwarf Fortress. Dwarf Fortress looks just like a game should look: ugly. This demands something that many computer games fail to demand: player imagination.
It takes a game with images like that, to generate the most fantastic fanfic ever written. Indeed, much of the appeal of the Moria and other Rogue-like games of the 1980’s and 1990’s, was not so much the game… but the emotional bond players developed for their @, and the stories that arose from the descent of @ into the depths of dungeons of Moria, or Angband, or elsewhere.
These journeys and ascii-venture prompted Toady One to develop the freeware game Dwarf Fortress. No, not Open Source. Just Free. And for ever-so-long a time, one which would run on nothing but Windows.
The most epic fanfic ever written about Dwarf Fortress is the story of Boatmurdered. Boatmurdered is the story of a succession game – a saved game which was passed from one denizne of Bay 12 Forums to another.
The Legend of Boatmurdered is a thirty-plus megabyte PDF of over three hundred pages. It describes to the reader the horror that was boatmurdered.
As with most Dwarf Fortress fanfic, it is a telling of the game with the added element of “narrativium” to borrow a Pratchetism – in Diskworld (which also features dwarfs), Narrativium is the magical element which requires that history unfolds in a manner which leads to interesting reading, once it has been written down. With Dwarf Fortress, the point of the fanfic, is applying narrative style to the fairly random elements of the game – such as the sudden appearance of a maurauding unicorn or troop of monkeys in the early game, the inadvertant flooding of a massive hall with magma, or the creation of a wonderous artifct carved from the bone or skull of a mighty enemy of the fortress.
If you, or your kids, are into Minecraft. Read – or pass to them to read – Boatmurdered. It’s like reading The Hobbit after watching Lord of the Rings on blue-ray, you know it’s what you were always supposed to do.