A user has suggested improving this page or section as follows:
"Style - NetHackWiki is not an encyclopaedia. Nevertheless, according to the Style guide, articles in the main namespace should be written in a largely encyclopaedic tone. While this should undoubtedly be applied with latitude on a page entitled Fun, an overly chatty style and particularly use of the first person should be avoided. This article should be rewritten to follow the style guide. (see also discussion page.)"
Fun is an intangible, but arguably very important element in NetHack. Death by boredom is a real risk if you're an obsessive player -- you get a little reckless, your judgement slips, and WHOOPS! DYWYPI?
Playing for fun versus playing to win
Start scumming and farming, and various other game tactics which involve long repetition without actually breaking any rules, can increase your score or chance of winning the game while greatly increasing your boredom. Perhaps the most notorious example of this is pudding farming, the practice of killing unlimited numbers of black puddings, while standing on a permanent Elbereth.
Greed and impatience can be big obstacles to fun, resulting in many YASDs. For example, robbing a shop by jumping out with the entire shop contents is quicker than tediously waiting for your pet to shoplift everything you need, but carries a risk of being killed by the angry shopkeeper. Sometimes playing fair is more enjoyable. (On the other hand, sometimes the opposite is the case, especially if you have a really cool trick up your sleeve. Chaotic characters are often more fun to play for this reason.)
Excessive reading of spoilers can arguably decrease the sense of achievement gained from learning the game by yourself. An alternate philosophy is that dying to something you don't understand is not fun; IRC and this wiki can help with those frustrations.
Playing with roles that suit your tastes for difficulty and complexity is a way to increase your fun. Alternatively, you could have a policy of randomizing your character role and race whenever you start a new game, attempting to get as far as you can with whatever the RNG throws at you. This can prevent you from getting in a rut, letting you get a taste of different styles of play, and may improve your NetHack skills as a result. Adeon's ascension record on nao suggests that every game is ascendable.
Playing the game on a shared computer and competing for high scores can be fun. Sharing bones files is too. Bones files can be shared online using a program such as hearse, which can be interesting and refreshing.
The most social way to play NetHack is to log on to a public server and also join the [#nethack] IRC channel on freenode. As well as sharing bones files, players can watch each others' games and offer advice.
Writing up an ascensions online is arguably fun, or at least provides a satisfying epilogue for a game that you played or watched.
YASDs are not typically fun for the player, but may be fun for the audience if the game was played online. Spectacular YASDs on NAO can be viewed by telnetting to termcast.org and selecting the SplatTV channel.
Having to limit what you carry around is pretty annoying, which makes a bag of holding a very game-enhancing item (even if it won't reflect a death ray).
Some philosophies say that one should do activities for the sake of the activity and live in the moment, rather than for any particular outcome. In this way it is better to place the emphasis on playing NetHack one level at a time, without limiting your satisfaction to that elusive ascension. A game of NetHack could be an excellent meditative practice for you. (If you reach enlightenment while playing NetHack, go eat a sandwich. That will take a while.)
- Nethack: 9 Life Lessons, Sophia Gubb, 2010
- Dwarf Fortress Wiki's slightly different take on "Fun"
- What NetHack monster are you?