NetHack going strong. What does it mean?

Do graphics matter? Are people only serious about "serious" games? DO communities of players only coalese around big, modern MMOGs?

Obviously, no. But for those who need to be reminded, I give you the 2006 NetHack Tourney (the 2007 tourney is happening right now).

Anyone who’s ever played NetHack can see that it is profoundly re-playable, but if you followed that link, you’d find a thousand specialized ways to play NetHack (play vegan; don’t eat meat, don’t wear leather, don’t attack "animal" monsters). What other game even comes close?!?

Sure, most RPGs and adventure games have some re-playability. Many of them actually encourage you to go back and play all the way through again. Silent Hill 2 lets you play through again with a chainsaw. Resident Evil 4 gives you alternate characters and new weapons when you go back through.

And then there’s Diablo (and Diablo 2), which was intentionally a graphically-updated version of NetHack.

So, IF you build a game with loads of procedurally-generated content and an open answer space, are you garanteed to build a large and loyal player community?

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