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Legacy of Dwarf Fortress

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Dwarf Fortress has made an impact on contemporary culture and society.

The game influenced Minecraft, which reviewers considered a more user-friendly version of Dwarf Fortress. Adams says he is thankful for the Minecraft developers citing his game because that drew more players. There have been other games inspired by the game but they failed to replicate its visual style and depth. Homages to the game appear in the World of Warcraft. In July 2014, the game won a poll conducted by Turtle Beach as the community's most "Beautiful Game"; games were nominated by fans posting videos, images or text, and a list was compiled by the community which also contained The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Far Cry 3 and The Last of Us. Justin Ma, one of the developers of FTL: Faster Than Light, commented on its use of text-based graphics, "Part of the reason Dwarf Fortress can include a breadth of mechanics unseen in other games is because complex mechanics are expressed in the most simple of visual forms." Gaslamp Games cited it as one their main influences for the game Clockwork Empires.

In March 2013, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City exhibited Dwarf Fortress among other games selected to depict the history of video gaming. As new updates are made available, the Museum of Modern Art instantly downloads them and archives them in their secure server. Curator of the exhibition, Paola Antonelli, said she was amazed by the combination of "beautiful aesthetics" and "mind-boggling" complexity in the game.

Game designer Craig Ellsworth commended Dwarf Fortress for having a uniquely long "staying power". According to Ellsworth, it will not be replaced by any other more advanced game of its genre, partly because of it being the pioneer of its own and since it is on PC; console games get replaced faster. He wrote, "There is simply no such thing as a flashier Dwarf Fortress, and there can't be, by definition." Other reasons, according to him, were it being free and its long development period with its design to be "never-ending". He wrote that the game will have it maximum interest at its 1.0 version with its legacy being more than just a historic value compared to other classic games. He pointed out that people like the game in its present condition; they will continue playing it more ardently, as long as it keeps developing, especially with new additions and features. He compared it to the board game Monopoly and the card game Magic: The Gathering. Ellsworth finally said that the game is either a "one-time fluke" or will inspire "a rise of ultra-small indies" with similar financial setups.

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