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Classic Games (Games) Games

Roguelikes: the Misnamed Genre 201

Posted by Soulskill
from the addictive-frustration dept.
ZorbaTHut writes "I've been playing a lot of Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup lately. It's a great example of a roguelike (and open source, too). But I can't stop thinking that perhaps 'roguelike' is the wrong term for the genre. 'Roguelikes aren’t about dungeons. They’re not about text-based graphics, or random artifacts, or permadeath. ... Roguelikes are about using an unpredictable toolkit with complex interactions in order to overcome unpredictable challenges.'"
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Roguelikes: the Misnamed Genre

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  • by arkenian (1560563) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @04:49AM (#35950990)

    "Roguelike" means "like Rogue []", no more and no less. There's no need to try to seek some deeper meaning in there. If the game has top-down view, intricate RPG-like stats, but mostly consists of slaying things rather than heavy NPC interaction and advanced storyline, it's a roguelike. All of these are necessary components - e.g. Stonekeep is not a roguelike, because it's first-person.

    As for the "new" definition in TFS/TFA, it's so vague as to be meaningless. Heck, it's broad enough to match contraption games (like Crazy Machines).

    While I mostly agree with your definition, I'd have to add 'random dungeon generation' as a key point. In some ways THE key point, more so I'd argue than 'top-down view'. (Although 'what will the red potion do to me this time?' was always fun. Also for those who think permadead is critical, I'll point out that there were workarounds....)

  • Re:Nethack (Score:4, Informative)

    by Elbereth (58257) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @05:25AM (#35951096) Journal

    NetHack isn't that bad, once you get used to it. Sure, you might think that q is an entirely random key to choose for drinking a potion (and you'd be right), but there's an mnemonic associate with it -- quaffing a potion. Once you start thinking in terms of the mnemonic, it's a lot easier, rather than struggling to remember which key is for drinking. The same is true of z, used for activating a wand. Again, this must seem entirely random, and you'd be right. However, the associated mnemonic is zapping a wand. Other commands are less defensible, such as Z, used to cast a spell. Once you've become familiar with zapping wands, however, it makes a little more sense.

    Play enough times and it'll become second nature to you.

One can't proceed from the informal to the formal by formal means.