I started playing an early version of Hack called "Amulet of Yendor" at the age of 6 on my mom's CGA-card 8086 machine. She brought me the 5 1/4" floppy along with a batch of other shareware games from the library (anyone ever play "Cavequest"? That game needs a console makeover, right now). Everything was yellow. The classes were Fighter, Wizard, Knight, Tourist, Caveman, and Speleologist, but Caveman was the obvious choice because they had the highest strength, and strength was the only attribute. You had to pick something up to eat it or to figure out what was underneath it. And shop prices were randomly reassessed each time you picked something up. The minotaur (m) sat in the center of a maze on level 26, 27, or 28, on top of a wand of digging, which you needed to carve a path behind a boulder that lay on top of the Amulet of Yendor. It was a big day in grade 4 when I figured this out. What I now know to be called "save scumming" was de rigeur. Not sure if I ever actually ascended without it. I wrote a series of short stories called the "Amulet Adventure" series between the ages of 9 and 12 in which I accessed a hidden "level 29" in the game that sucked me into the gameworld so I could play as myself. As I recall, the portal was activated by accident when I inadvertently depressed the control, alt, and shift keys. I lost the game files when I accidentally deleted *.* in the directory rather than *.bon. (Why did I hate ghosts so much?) Years later, in high school, I found NetHack, then again in college, and again in grad school....
I only started reading spoilers a year ago (though I had ascended several times--legitimately--by then), mainly in an effort to cure myself of my cyclical addiction to this game. No dice. Things I had not figured out on my own included wishing for artifacts (which I assumed was impossible the first time something slipped out of my hands) and the many uses of alchemy (my college roommate and I tended to put our potions into the waterworks system).
More recently I've been really into SLASH'EM and I don't think I'll be going back. Unlike a lot of mods, it actually feels like a better-balanced and more exciting game--especially for those of us who have already been spoiled. I like to think of it as NetHack if it were designed by Alan Moore: it references and plays with the conventions of NetHack while at the same time building on and enriching it. As I play I'm writing about spoilers and strategies on these pages. This is an exercise in vanity masquerading as public service.
I'm really glad this Wiki is here! I especially love the more unusual takes like the Tinning Kit and 1-Turn Ascension articles. I think when you get really familiar with something it's fun to start exploring and experimenting with the parameters of the system, and this seems like a great place to do that. Although I think there's an important distinction between good and bad tips, I don't think this wiki should be just for information. We're writing about a game so let's make it fun.