Thursday, 15 September 2016

An open letter to anyone in media who wants to discuss the origin of the term 'roguelikes'

Firstly I'd like to thank you in your discussion of what is a roguelike of neatly avoiding trying to describe what a roguelike is and isn't. Within the roguelike community, this topic elicits frequent and heated debate.

The thing most people don't realise about the origin of the term roguelike is that it arose because Rogue was and is still a really good game: in fact an exemplary example of the genre. If you haven't had a chance to play it, I would strongly encourage you to try it. It's available for free in any browser at the Internet Archive:

The reason we now see so many games using the term roguelike is largely due to the popularity of the roguelike platformer Spelunky (released 2008), but also due to the roguelike community re-invogorating itself in the mid 2000s by starting one of the first ever game jams in 2005: the annual 7 day roguelike (7DRL) challenge where people attempt to write a roguelike in 168 hours. (Spelunky designer Derek Yu also did the tile design for DoomRL which is arguably the first ever 7DRL).

"Coffee break" roguelikes like DoomRL made the genre far more accessible, and popular 7DRL games like 868-HACK and Hoplite have made the transition to mobile platforms and much wider audiences. The community also organises annual now regional International Roguelike Developer Conferences (IRDCs) and the first ever Roguelike Celebration for players of roguelikes September 17 this year.

This is almost entirely done on a voluntary basis for games which are largely given away for free, source code included, driven by our shared love of a genre which in all probability wouldn't exist were it not for the original game Rogue.

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