A roguelike is a member of the role-playing video game genre that borrows its name and gameplay elements from the 1980 computer game "Rogue". Superficially, a roguelike is a two-dimensional dungeon crawl with a high degree of randomness and an emphasis on statistical character development. Though traditionally featuring a text user interface, many such games utilize graphic tiles to overcome character set limitations. [cite web |url= |title= Roguelike Development FAQ |accessdate=2006-11-29 |author= Damjan Jovanovic |date=2005-01-13]


Some features of "Rogue" existed in earlier games, notably: "Adventure" (1975), "Dungeon" (1975), and several written for the PLATO system, such as the multi-user games "dnd" (1975) and "Moria" (1975). Both "dnd" and "Moria" utilized limited graphics. "Moria" offered a primitive first-person, three-dimensional view, [ [ Fun with PLATO] ] while "dnd" presented a top-down map view similar to "Rogue".

Most of these earlier games scripted scenarios in advance that varied little from one play session to the next.Fact|date=October 2007 In "Rogue" and "Moria", the dungeon is randomly regenerated when the player begins, creating a new challenge each time.


These games present a plain view. Traditionally, an "@" sign represents the player character. Letters of the alphabet represent other characters (usually opposing monsters). "Rogue" itself only made use of capital letters, but present-day roguelikes vary capitalization to supply additional visual cues. A dog, for example, may be represented by the letter "d", and a dragon by a "D". Coloration may signal further distinction between creatures. For example, a Red Dragon might be represented by a red "D" and a Blue Dragon by a blue "D", each of differing abilities significant to player strategy. Additional dungeon features are represented by other ASCII (or ANSI) symbols. A traditional sampling follows.

Graphical adaptations are available for most early roguelikes, and it is not uncommon for new development projects to adopt a graphical user interface.

Players issue game commands with at most a few keystrokes, rather than with simple sentences interpreted by a parser or by means of a pointing device such as a mouse. For example, in "NetHack" one would press "r" to read a scroll, "d" to drop an item, and "q" to quaff (drink) a potion.


*Roguelike games randomly generate dungeon levels; though they may include static levels as well. Generated layouts typically incorporate rooms connected by corridors, some of which may be preset to a degree (e.g., monster lairs or treasuries). Open areas or natural features, like rivers, may also occur.

*The identity of magical items varies across games. Newly discovered objects only offer a vague physical description, with purposes and capabilities left unstated. For example, a "bubbly" potion might heal wounds one game, then poison the player character in the next. Items are often subject to alteration, acquiring specific traits, such as a curse, or direct player modification.

*The combat system is turn-based instead of real-time. Gameplay is usually step-based, where player actions are performed serially and take a variable measure of in-game time to complete. Game processes (e.g., monster movement and interaction, progressive effects such as poisoning or starvation) advance based on the passage of time dictated by these actions.

*Most are single-player games. On multi-user systems, scoreboards are often shared between players. Some roguelikes allow traces of former player characters to appear in later game sessions in the form of ghosts or grave markings. Multi-player derivatives such as "TomeNET", "MAngband", and "Crossfire" do exist and are playable online.

*Roguelikes traditionally implement permanent death ("permadeath"). Once a character dies, the player must begin a new game. A "save game" feature will only provide suspension of gameplay and not a limitlessly recoverable state; the stored session is deleted upon resumption or character death. Players can circumvent this by manipulating stored game data ("save scumming"), an act that may be considered cheating.

Notable examples

Modern roguelikes

*"Ancient Domains of Mystery", also called "ADOM"
*"Angband" and its several variants
*"Linley's Dungeon Crawl", also called "Dungeon Crawl" or "Crawl"
*"NetHack", a descendant of "Hack"
*"Tales of Middle Earth", also called "ToME"
*"Dwarf Fortress", in its adventure game mode
*"Mystery Dungeon" series
*"" series
*"Azure Dreams" and ""

Classic roguelikes



Many online communities dedicate themselves to roguelike games, most notably the Usenet hierarchy.


The graphical action role-playing game "Diablo" bears a premise similar to that of "Rogue": players slash their way through increasingly difficult monsters and attain treasure while traversing deeper into randomly-generated dungeons to complete quests. As such, some refer to "Diablo" as a roguelike despite wide differences in actual gameplay.

See also




* [ Roguelike Roundup] at Kuro5hin
* [ Introduction to Roguelike Games]
* [ The Essential 50: "Rogue"] at details the history of "Rogue" and its impact on later games

External links

* [ RogueBasin] , a wiki devoted to roguelikes
* [ Guide to Roguelike Games]
* [ Usenet hierarchy] at Google Groups
* [ Temple of the Roguelike] , an online roguelikes community

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