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.
|Dwarf Fortress||Single-player fantasy game, similar to NetHack|
|Imperium||Game of intergalactic exploration, warfare, and economics|
|NetHack||Dungeons and Dragons-style adventure game|
|UnNetHack||Adds a number of enhancements to NetHack, such as additional monsters etc|
|Intricacy||Game of competitive puzzle-design|
|Goblin Hack||Smooth-scrolling ASCII graphics adventure game|
|Brogue||Direct descendant of Rogue, a dungeon crawling video game|
|Cataclysm DDA||Post-apocalyptic roguelike|
|Ascii Sector||2D trading and space flight simulator with roguelike action|
|ASCIIpOrtal||Text based puzzle game inspired by the popular video game.|
|DRL||Fast and furious coffee-break Roguelike game|
|Curse of War||Fast-paced action strategy game|
|0verkill||Bloody 2D action deathmatch-like game in ASCII-art|
|Angband||Single-player dungeon exploration game|
|Empire||The pinnacle of strategy games|
|MyMan||Inspired by Namco's Pac-Man|
|vitetris||Terminal-based Tetris clone|
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Another mature ASCII game collection that includes PacMan & Frogger
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.