I finally get a good character going, and NetHackCocoa decides to crash on me and then show this lovely little message whenever I try to restart:

Destroy old game

Naturally I click 'No' and then attempt to find the nethack recover application that I've heard so much about.

However, to my surprise I can't seem to find it anywhere. I've looked in the NetHackCocoa.app package and in my ~/Library/NetHackCocoa directory. I made a complete backup of that area...as much as I wanted to avoid save-scumming I think that recovering from a crash doesn't count :/.

Anyway, in my ~/Library/NetHackCocoa are a bunch of files with my username and various numbers appended, followed by a bones level, logfile, paniclog, perm_lock, and record files. Also an empty save/ directory.

I've seen other people who have tried recovering say that the game is thinking they're cheating...so I'd like to avoid that if possible...


Attempted to use the tty version of recover, met with the following error as well:

Cannot open level 0 for (uid)(username)

2 Answers 2


In the unix/windows version you can do this by using the Nethack program. The syntax for it is

nethack -uCHARNAME

Replace CHARNAME with what ever your character name was.

If you got the above message in your question doing this:

Cannot open level 0 for (uid)(username)

I would check the file directory for a file that looks like this:


loginUserName = Your login username charName = Your character's name

Check the permissions on the file and make sure that you have access to the file. Other then that I do not believe there is much you can do. If you have a backup the file I would try to replace it as it seems to be the culprit.

  • Permissions seem to be OK.
    – erik
    Oct 22, 2012 at 16:04
  • @espais did you try nethack -u command? If so what was the error message you got from it.
    – Halfwarr
    Oct 22, 2012 at 16:12
  • I think the problem is more tied to the Mac port. I can run Nethack in tty mode just fine (nethack -u just starts a new game). The Mac app runs separately from tty nethack.
    – erik
    Oct 22, 2012 at 17:09
  • @espais only thing I can suggest is .zip up your files. Post it somewhere and send me a link and I'll do the recovery on a Win 32 machine.
    – Halfwarr
    Oct 22, 2012 at 17:19
  • 1
    @espais download the win32 binaries, and in the command prompt use the command nethack -uCHARNAME. (Replace CHARNAME with the character's name)
    – Halfwarr
    Oct 22, 2012 at 18:10

This may not be relevant, but I once confuse myself endlessly because there was an old Nethack process still running in the background somewhere. Make sure this isn't the case!

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