Hack is the precursor to NetHack, both members of the family of text-based Rogue-like games. Like other roguelikes, Hack is the quintessential computer role-playing game (RPG): Choose a character class and venture forth into the dungeon to fight monsters and gain treasure.
Like all descendants of Rogue, Hack is displayed from a top-down view, painted with text characters. The player ventures throughout the dungeon, visiting rooms connected by thin corridors. Gameplay is turn-based, with the turn beginning with the player's action (move, attack, eat, cast spell, etc.). Commands are mapped to various letters of the keyboard, including "i" for inventory, "e" for eat food, etc. with one exception: Attacking a monster involves running into it, so the "attack" function shares the same keys as movement.
Hack is one of the first significant deviations from Rogue, notable by the rich interaction possible in the game world: Simple actions result in complex (yet logical) reactions. For example, it is not uncommon to throw a boomerang only to miss the target and have it return to hit the player; or kill a monster that has the ability to turn you to stone as an attack, then accidentally step on its carcass on the way out and turn to stone; or having a bolt of fire from a magic wand ricochet around the room, hit the player, and cause his magic scrolls to catch on fire; etc. In addition, monsters and objects have secondary, hidden properties; for example, killing and eating a leprechaun will result in the player randomly teleporting to different locations.