Best Free Windows ASCII Games

Dwarf Fortress

We’ve been big fans of ASCII graphics, mainly because we love everything retro. Just as a game like Fortnite offers amazing gameplay with colorful graphics and quick matches, games with sufficiently poor visuals stretch your imagination and make you adopt a new headspace entirely.

The games featured below focus on gameplay rather than the visuals. This can actually make for a more addictive game.

ASCII games are typically easy to write and require less processing power than games with graphics.

ASCII games often receive little coverage in the press. However, there are some real ASCII gems out there waiting to be explored which are immensely addictive and great fun to play.

The idiom ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ can be extended to ‘don’t judge a computer game by its graphics’. While the games featured in this article have extremely basic graphics, they have many redeeming qualities beyond evoking fond memories of the early days of computer gaming.

DiabloRLRoguelike "unmake"
Dwarf FortressSingle-player fantasy game, similar to NetHack
ImperiumGame of intergalactic exploration, warfare, and economics
NetHackDungeons and Dragons-style adventure game
UnNetHackAdds a number of enhancements to NetHack, such as additional monsters etc
IntricacyGame of competitive puzzle-design
Goblin HackSmooth-scrolling ASCII graphics adventure game
BrogueDirect descendant of Rogue, a dungeon crawling video game
Cataclysm DDAPost-apocalyptic roguelike
Ascii Sector2D trading and space flight simulator with roguelike action
ASCIIpOrtalText based puzzle game inspired by the popular video game.
DRLFast and furious coffee-break Roguelike game
Curse of WarFast-paced action strategy game
0verkillBloody 2D action deathmatch-like game in ASCII-art
AngbandSingle-player dungeon exploration game
EmpireThe pinnacle of strategy games
MyManInspired by Namco's Pac-Man
vitetrisTerminal-based Tetris clone
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1 Comment

  1. Another mature ASCII game collection that includes PacMan & Frogger
    is “CoterminalApps”…

    CoTerminalApps is a portable collection of non-graphical, Colored-ascii-character puzzles & games that run in a commandline Terminal on Windows, OS-X and Gnu/Linux. Now with sound.

    Has runtime-priority control of console terminal, if needed.

    Rebuildable using the free AdaCore GNAT Ada compiler.

    Includes rpn(calculator), two arcade games cpac(Pacman) & cfrog(Frogger) as well as 10 puzzle games.

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