Researching the historical origin of the “Roguelike” term

On November 11 2017, at the Roguelike Celebration in San Francisco, I had the pleasure of doing the opening talk, titled “What is a Roguelike?, 2017 Edition”, where I explored some of the interpretations on the Roguelike term.

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Something interesting I found while doing research for the talk was what could be the first efforts to organize a group of games similar to rogue under an umbrella term. This happened on Usenet, the technological precursor to Internet Forums, throughout which most of the discussion of computer games happened.

My current progress on this research indicates that the efforts to define this hierarchical relationship, intended mainly to facilitate discussion, ended up serving the purpose of creating a community of niche developers and players who through the constant usage of the term ended up giving it an evolving, collective meaning that was relatively stable until the 2010’s decade, with the growth of the indie games scene and diffusion of the more action focused “Roguelike” labeled games.

Read the full article here

Cogmind released to Steam!

Kyzrati has finally managed to go through all the process to publish his sci-fi roguelike “Cogmind” to Steam.

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Awesome roguelike style celebration!

While he has decided to release it as “Early Access”, as an indication of his open commitment to continue adding features to the game for several more months, Cogmind is already one of the most complete, stable and cool looking classic roguelikes out there.

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With its amazing visuals and complex interactions, Cogmind is a game every roguelike fan should check out. Go ahead and grab it for a discounted price and witness its final steps towards an almost perfect sci-fi roguelike!

Roguelike Celebration 2017 Coming up November 11!

A second version of the Roguelike Celebration is going to take place next month over San Francisco, California.

Roguelike games have been part of gaming culture for over 30 years! They have a deep and special place in our hearts. There are so many fans across age groups and around the world that there should be a place for all of them to get together and celebrate these unique games.

We were inspired to do this by the International Roguelike Development Conference — and instead of a focus on development, this was for all of us — the players!

Last year over 200 people, developers and players, got together to celebrate the roguelike genre. This year it’s going to be two full days, for added awesomeness. Read more about last year event at Slashie’s blog

If you live near San Francisco, or if you can make it there, this is definitively something you shouldn’t miss, get your tickets over the Eventbrite site.

Giant skeletal rat bat ghoul lichmummy made real

The Slimy Lichmummy

Author Ulf Åström
Platform Windows (binaries); Mac, Solaris, Linux, BSD (compile from sources)
Version 0.40
Website http://www.happyponyland.net/the-slimy-lichmummy

The Slimy Lichmummy is among the most originally named roguelike games. Game website proclaims it has been so because someone asked the author: “make a giant slimy skeletal rat bat ghoul lichmummy with a severed hand and floating skull”. And so he did. The game delivers on all of the mentioned aspects: from humble ratmen to elder lichmummies.

Continue reading “Giant skeletal rat bat ghoul lichmummy made real”

New Interview with Glenn Wichman

Last weekend I had a chance to share a trip to the Colombian Coffee Area with Glenn Wichman, one of the creators of the original Rogue (along with Michael Toy and Ken Arnold) and a veteran of the video games industry.

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On Sunday we did this small but hopefully interesting interview, in the middle of the Colombian nature. Some of the topics we talked about are:

  • Game Design challenges when incorporating new technologies.
  • “Roguelites” and diversity on game design elements.
  • Issues with current videogame distribution channels
  • The role of the Game Designer and some other related disciplines.
  • A message for the roguelike development community

Check it out here! You might also want to check the previous interview I had with him, 9 years ago!

Lone Spelunker by Barking Dog Interactive

Are you sick of hacking thru endless dungeons looking for ancient artifacts to save the world? take a look at Barking Dog Interactive’s in-dev game: Lone Spelunker.

A great adventure awaits for you
A great adventure awaits for you

In Lone Spelunker, you explore dark caverns in a turn-based, puzzle fashion, hoping not to die by falling from a cliff into a horrible dead. And you do all this just for a reason, to take cool selfies of yourself, deep under the ground.

The entrance to a cave, right into an underground puddle
The entrance to a cave, right into an underground puddle

In these caverns, you’ll find no goblins to smash, no magic loot nor evil balrons… it’s only yourself and your curiosity, hoping to discover as much as possible of the cave, while using your tools at hand carefully and patiently.

This shaft was about 230 mt deep. That a long rope!
This shaft was about 230 mt deep. That a long rope!

The movement commands may seem overwhelming at first, but they are rather easy to get accustomed to after a while; you’ll be mostly moving around, jumping and griping into walls, hammering pitons into the walls and shooting ropes from them, ziplining and rapeling  to move quickly between the vast, beautifully rendered underground locations and lakes.

For your first sessions, I think it’s a good idea to keep the instructions on a separate screen all the time, so you can refer to them when needed.

To prevent getting lost in the caverns, you can use the map (though some players may consider it cheating) or a gyrotheodolite / baromether to find your latitude and depth.
To prevent getting lost in the caverns, you can use the map (though some players may consider it cheating) or a gyro-theodolite / barometer to find your latitude and depth.

This game is beautiful, it’s completely rendered on colored ASCII, and you will find it lacks a “look” command because most of the things in the screen are just aesthetic. With the exception of the solid rock, mud, water, your ropes and the hammer-able walls, the rest is just beautiful and colorful underworld.

Careful! any misstep could lead to horrible death!
Careful! any misstep could lead to horrible death!

You can play the game on any computer since it’s web accessible, just create an account and start playing. Have in mind however, that the game is currently in open beta, so some things may not work perfectly.

There's a website where you can share your selfies and discuss the caverns with other players
There’s a website where you can share your selfies and discuss the caverns with other players

The games comes with a set of both randomly generated and fixed cavern complexes; for the fixed caverns you will find they have a list of challenges you may want to complete. They consist basically on finding something special and shooting yourself a selfie with it. The randomly generated caverns, on the other hand, allow yourself to take selfies just for fun, in the cool locations you’ll find underground.

You'll have to plan your moves carefully to get into some locations
You’ll have to plan your moves carefully to get into some locations

As the game is still on beta, you’ll find some small details (for example, I was unable to change facing since Alt + Left caused my Chrome browser to go back, thus deleting my adventure :/). These are however small details since otherwise the game is very enjoyable right now.

The caverns seem to be based on real world locations, you will also learn a bit about spelunking, with the game taking you to wikipedia from time to time for reference.
The caverns seem to be based on real world locations, you will also learn a bit about spelunking, with the game taking you to wikipedia from time to time for reference.

I felt the game could have better lighting effects for both aesthetics and gameplay, I guess the developers choose to leave it this way for practical reasons. Also, providing ambient sound and sound effects (with lots of echo?) would add a lot to the atmosphere.

Now here comes the mandatory question: would you consider this game a roguelike? certainly there’s no hack and slash here, but its turn based (almost completely, with some things like oxygen drop happening in real time), grid based, single character with permanent failure and procedural environments. There is no conflict/combat nor inventory (and thus no resource management), and there’s little in the way of random action outcomes (although sometimes you could save yourself from death by doing a “miracle grip”). But most of the factors are here, plus it’s got ASCII display 🙂

Play Lone Spelunker now for a different cavern crawling experience!

Reviewed by Slash, priest of Temple of The Roguelike