Friday, 1 January 2010

Honourable Mentions for Ascii Dreams Roguelike of the Year 2009

Even without Dwarf Fortress qualifying as a candidate this year, there were 130 more voters this year than last year. And four roguelikes have consistently garnered more votes than the rest, while not finishing up in either the winning or runner up positions - two from previous years, and two gaining in popularity enough to warrant special mention for the first time.

Incursion: Halls of the Goblin King is a D20 based fantasy roguelike by Julian Mensch that features deep game mechanics and a 'next-gen' religion system. It's possible to win this game as everything from a warrior or summoner or assassin or even a diplomat, and starting characters are considerably more powerful than many other roguelikes. John Harris on Incursion in his column @ Play.

POWDER is the premier portable roguelike, developed originally for the Gameboy Advance but ported to multiple portable and cell phone platforms. While the name is a play on the frequent mispelling of rogue as rouge, the game play comes in tactical bite size chunks winnable in an afternoon. John Harris on POWDER @ Play.

Elona, or Elona: Eternal League of Nefia is a graphical roguelike, with animated high quality tiles, developed in Japan but translated into English and with updates released on an almost monthly basis (including a Christmas edition). While John Harris hasn't featured Elona @ Play, the fact you can marry virtually anything you can encounter in game, and bear playable children, leaves me more than a little intrigued.

GearHead2, the mech based science fiction roguelike, builds on a robust arena combat system with a procedurally generated plot and anime style art. The fact that the winner and this popular choice are so successful while avoiding the typical fantasy tropes bodes well for the future of alternate genre roguelikes. Again, John Harris has yet to feature either GearHead2 or it's predecessor @ Play.


Julian Mensch said...


I just got linked here from the Incursion dev blog. I'm very flattered that Incursion drew in so many votes here as to come in third.

In the spirit of honesty and fairness, I feel the need to point out that it may not have really had any releases in 2009 -- 0.6.9I was a bugfix release that was out to the general public very late 2008, IIRC, by way of the Google Groups for the game; the website was just a late update, mixed with confusion about an older version repackaged as a new one that even I'm kind of hazy on at this point.

The game's seen a huge amount of dev work in 2009, mind you, but sadly no actual playable release.

You can decide if it still qualifies for the award or not; I certainly won't be offended if it doesn't.

Thanks to everyone who took notice and voted anyway,

-- Julian Mensch; Incursion Developer

Andrew Doull said...

Julian: I base the releases on the information on Roguebasin including the roguelike list, so if there are inaccuracies listed there, they get included in the voting. I wouldn't worry too much - you've got an honourable mention, which is a nice to have. I guess the plan should be to release in 2010 and go for the top prize at the end of the year :)

JohnH said...

I will add them to the list....

Andrew Doull said...

John H: No stress. I didn't mean for you to feel like you had to review these...

JohnH said...

It's not like I'm going to be able to get to them soon. Elona is already one I'd be covering eventually, anyway.