What is Dwarf Fortress Classic mode?

This is how it all began.

Screenshot by Gamepur

Since its initial release in 2006, Dwarf Fortress has evolved into one of the most creative and enjoyable management sims in gaming. Over the years, developers Bay 12 Games have consistently introduced several innovative mechanics. However, one particular feature that players often seem curious about is the game’s offering of a Classic mode. If this question has crossed your mind recently, you’ll be able to find out everything about Classic Mode in Dwarf Fortress below.

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Dwarf Fortress Classic mode working, explained

Screenshot by Gamepur

Dwarf Fortress Classic mode essentially brings back the text-based graphics that were present during the game’s first few years. Toggling it on will turn your in-game environment into a mixture of numbers, symbols, icons, and punctuation marks.

Most icons and menus you typically use to build structures and craft resources will still be in the same spots. However, they will naturally be replaced with the same minimalistic symbols in keeping with the Classic mode theme. Fortunately, the text box at the top of your screen will display the name of the object you’re hovering over, so you’ll still be able to understand each specific icon.

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It’s an incredibly drastic departure from the relatively advanced visuals of the Dwarf Fortress Premium version that was released on Steam in 2022. We wouldn’t recommend toggling it on for a casual playthrough simply because it would make the enjoyable process of building a dwarven base much more tedious. But if you decide to go with it, you’ll be able to experience what it was like to play through Dwarf Fortress during its early days.