Photo of my Pocket PC of me finally winning NetHack (with tiles instead of ASCII characters.)
When I was a young geek, I had two older friends I admired named Brock & Jay. They were sort of mentor-nerds to me. We would get together almost every Saturday night, watch Doctor Who, and play the games all the cool kids played, like D&D & Star Saga One.
One fateful night back in '89, they installed the holy grail of geek-games on my mother's 286,
Hack. Hack was the successor of Rogue. In these games, characters were represented by ASCII characters. You were an "@", your dog was a "d", Orcs were "O"s - every letter of the alphabet was used, upper & lowercase. Likewise, almost every key had two functions. ("p" is to pay a shop-keeper, but "P" is for putting a ring on your finger, or an amulet on your neck.) If you want to try it out, an XP compatible version called RevivedHack is available. It's a hell of a lot more fun than games where your only commands are up-down-left-right,-shoot.
In the mid-90s, the next definitive version was released, called NetHack. NetHack is like Hack, only ridiculously harder. Sadly, its extreme difficulty makes it more frustrating than fun. (Honestly, now that I've ascended, I don't think I'll ever play again.) The object is to descend into the Dungeons of Doom, retreieve the Amulet of Yendor from the Underworld, bring it up to the Astral Plane, and sacrifice it on your god's altar. Don't ask me why your god needs an amulet - he just does. However, if you insist on Hacking, I'll share a few tips with you:
First of all, yes Virginia, you're going to have to cheat. For those who don't know, Rogue-like games are notoriously linear. If you save, the game exits. When you load, the save-file is erased. It's a one shot only deal. Bullshit. You can have -40 armor & 300+ hitpoints & have some Nalfeshnees, Ki-rins or Archons curse & destroy all you have on the final levels. Are you really going to start all over again? Hell no! After you save, copy your *.sav file & paste it into a backup folder. When you die, simply copy & paste it back! Make sure to note & keep milestone saves, such as capturing a necessary item or genociding a species.
Second of all, when you're powerful enough, kill all the shopkeepers & other-aligned priests. Yes, this will put your luck in the toilet, but don't worry - we'll soon fix that. Collect all the shopkeepers' cash, and every bit of $ you can find. When you have an excess of 25k Zorkmids (the more the better,) find an altar of your alignment with an attending priest. Stand on the altar & chat (#c) with him. When he asks for a donation, give the priest all your cash. Not only will all be forgiven, but you will become very lucky. (See how much like real life it is?) Pray now, and you will be blessed. Now, go back to the other-aligned altars & sacrifice animals to turn them to your god. (Note- don't bother with the altar at the gates of Gehennom, it can't be done.) Once the altars are yours, sacrifice unicorns of other alignments to your god, and your luck will shoot through the roof.
For Bob's sake, find some magic protection! Sadly, you have only two choices- a Cloak of Magic Resistance, or armor made from Grey Dragon scales (slay a Grey Dragon, wear it's scales & read a Scroll of Enchant Armor.) Unlike the other dragons, simply eating a Grey Dragon corpse won't give you the power of its scales. Why? Because the DevTeam are a bunch of dicks, that's why.
Keep a scroll of remove curse handy for when you're ready to enter Moloch's Sanctum, as the invocation ritual to open the sanctum gates won't work if any of your artifacts are cursed. When you're ready to get the Book of the Dead from the Wizard of Yendor, stand in the corner & zap a wand of digging diagonally at his tower, followed by a wand of death. This is the only way to kill him without a fight. (Don't worry, once you're inside the sanctum, he'll come back to life again & again until you reach the astral plane.) Collect a ring of conflict, but don't put it on until you're inside the sanctum. (You're definitely going to need it on the Planes of Air & Fire.)
One more note- do not genocide cockatrices. Yes, they can kill you with a touch, but with a high enough armor class, they can be easily ignored. Find some gauntlets & wield cockatrice corpses as weapons. You can't genocide angels or daemons, but a smack in the face with a cockatrice can turn even the most powerful of them to stone.
Also, get used to these acronyms: TDTTOE- The DevTeam Thinks of Everything, YASD - Yet another Stupid Death, and YAAD - Yet Another Annoying Death. You'll repeat them to yourself a lot.
Well, that's it. I'd suggest checking out Wikihack & reading all their information before starting. Then, when you finally ascend after ten years of trying, you too can look back & see what a colossal waste of your life it's all been. Enjoy!