The Two Brothers Who Changed Video Games Forever

The creators of Dwarf Fortress explain the complicated, bizarre, and hugely influential game they’ve built.


Episode Notes

This week, host Isaac Butler talks to Tarn and Zach Adams, two brothers who’ve been continually crafting and updating the video game Dwarf Fortress for two decades. In the interview, Tarn and Zach discuss the earliest versions of the game, which were available online for free in the early 2000’s and served as an important influence for games like The Sims and Minecraft. Tarn and Zach also discuss the intricate details of the game and the gigantic number of narrative possibilities that players can experience. After years of tinkering, the “fortress mode” of the game is finally available for purchase, and “adventurer mode” won’t be far behind.

After the interview, Isaac and co-host Karen Han talk about what happens when a project starts to evolve into something unexpected.

In the exclusive Slate Plus segment, Tarn and Zach explain how Dwarf Fortress ended up in the Museum of Modern Art.

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Podcast production by Cameron Drews.


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Slate interviews creative people about their work.

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