You've heard of Dwarf Fortress, no? It's a life simulation game in the vein of The Sims or the Tycoon series of games, only instead of managing a roller coaster park or a counter-culture polyamorous lesbian family, you take care of a tribe of dwarves in their fortress. And you will lose, but the game's mantra is "Losing is fun!", so it's ok.
The graphics are charmingly archaic, rendered exclusively in extended ASCII. This allows two things to happen. One is that an amazing amount of information can be conveyed in a very small visual space (and ensures even the weakest video card can render the game). This: ♠§dg represents a dog tethered to a tree about to get mauled by a goblin. Learning to read the graphics takes some time, but has a neat "I can see the Matrix!" sort of payoff. The second is that computer processing power is freed up to run the obscenely complex mechanics that operate the guts of the game.
But what about the team behind the game? What mad geniuses spend their time on such a project? Just two brothers: Tarn and Zach Adams. Jonah Weiner of the New York Times got ahold of the brothers and conducted an interview to pick their brains about their methodology, their opinions on Mine Craft, and how on earth Dwarf Fortress, a free-to-play indie project, actually sustains them. Follow the link to give the interview a read. Then, if you think you can handle the insanity, download a copy of the game (there are versions for Windows, OSX and Linux) and give it a run for yourself. Then come back here and share your stories of losing!