There was a point about 10 years ago where I did almost nothing except work my computer job, smoke weed, drink vodka and coke (why did I think that tasted good?), and play ADOM.
Something about it was just plain entrancing. There were so many things to keep track of. Even getting a fighter the healing skill was a multitasking adventure with real choices and consequences, to say nothing of all the randomly generated difficulties encountered along the way. And after my first few wins, when I started making serious attempts at the ultra ending, playing ADOM took up about as much of my attention as did living my waking life.
Maybe it's because roguelike players have active minds - I dunno. But I feel like there was a special reason why I dedicated so much of my time to that game. I mean, I had a console and a decent gaming PC, but ADOM was where my I found myself fixated.
Reading what I've written so far, my story seems to echo all those sad sack "I lost my life to WoW" stories. Weird, since roguelikes are just about the opposite of WoW. Where WoW is static, roguelikes are dynamic. Roguelikes are solitary, and WoW provides the illusory sense of community. Roguelikes are so visually minimalistic, next to nonexistent, like a thought experiment inside someone else's logical framework. Plus, good roguelikes are characterized by constant decision-making on the part of the player, where WoW has more or less put the lid on any kind of "self-styled" form of play or character building. Lastly, a roguelike ends.
I guess I want to say that, while the escapism was the same, the sensation of escape was probably different from what I imagine WoW to be. Sure, it was an obsession, but it was an obsession with purpose. I wanted to get the best ending on the hardest roguelike.
So, long story short, I never got the ultra ending. I had a troll barbarian who was pretty damn close, but I realized late-game that there was no legit way I'd get to the level needed to get the assassin prince's quest.
I realized this after the end of a weeklong vacation from work. I had told myself I'd go camping, possibly trek down the grand canyon. Instead, I played ADOM from the time I woke to the time I slept.
And I didn't get the ultra ending.
Then I gave my computer away, quit my job, and didn't touch a computer outside of school for about 4 years...
Anyone else chase the dragon like that? And, more importantly, did you ever catch the dragon?
Tell me a story.