> The term “Roguelike” is not a well-defined term.

Ctrl+F "Berlin" no results. The author didn't even discover the Berlin interpretation in their research, which suggests there was none. Roguelike is a well-defined term, though there are multiple competing definitions. This article presents none of them.

> Roguelikes are about complexity.

Oh ok, I guess all RTS and 4X games are roguelikes now. Let's also include flight simulators and management tycoon games because they're complex too, right?

> Roguelikes are about using an unpredictable toolkit with complex interactions in order to overcome unpredictable challenges.

I.e. roguelikes are video games. Somebody call the press.

> Super Smash Bros Brawl multiplayer is like a Roguelike!

Yeah we've pretty much just abandoned all definitions at this point. All games are now roguelikes, according to this article.

For me, roguelike = procedural generation + permadeath, that's all. Some people call these games "roguelites", and have a much stricter definition for "roguelike", but I still consider it one of the best defined genre.

Procedural generation and permadeath are a perfect combination. Permadeath is a powerful mechanic, but by itself, it is very frustrating, because if you die, it forces you start over and redo everything you have done. Procedural generation solves the problem by making every game unique. We probably can add a form of character building and progression to the definition, otherwise death would be meaningless and it would be more like a traditional arcade game.

There are other aspects to traditional roguelikes: turn-based, dungeon crawlers, resource management, hack-and-slash, etc... But none of these aspect synergize as well as procedural generation and permadeath, that's why I consider it the true defining feature.

Not much logic or observation in this journal rant, but the fact that it reached the HN frontpage shows a (welcome!) renewed interest in the ideas of the roguelike game.

If you are interested in the topic a quick google will yeild lots of good articles. I found this list of elements useful to organize my thinking:

Rogue Like:

High-value factors

1. Random environment generation

2. Permadeath

3. Turn-based

4. Grid-based

5. Non-modal

6. Complexity

7. Resource management

8. Hack n slash

9. Exploration or discovery

Low-value factors

1. Single-player character

2. Monsters are similar to players

3. Tactical challenge

4. ASCII display

5. Dungeons

6. Numbers

Via: https://www.nerdmuch.com/roguelike-vs-roguelite/

There’s a pretty clear (and intentionally vague) definition used by the greater 7DRL community.


1. Permanent consequences

2. Character centric

3. Procedural content

4. Turn-based

Check out some of the entries from past years, along with their “how roguelike is it?” scoring.


The article is highly misleading. Emergent gameplay is a key component but not the only component of roguelikes. There's already a term for what the article proposes. It's called systemic games. See this talk by Aleissia Laidacker [1] and also this fantastic GMTK video on systemic games [2].

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gelpn4mksXQ [2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnpAAX9CkIc

> I’ve defined a new genre of game. What do you think it should be called?

My well-meaning tip: concentrate on building your game, and just forget about the genre.

In the case that your game has so much impact that it actually becomes the basis of a new genre, the new genre will probably be named after your game, which is great.

But if your game does not end up spawning it's very own genre - well then there will be no need for a name.

Honestly, don't waste any thought and effort on the genre, but pour all of that into your game instead.

As someone who is an indie dev loosely making a roguelite (that is more Slay the spire/ pokemon nuzlocke combo) I purposely avoid calling it a roguelike anywhere because some people are obsessively focused on keeping its traditional definition, which is probably linked to the Berlin interpretation definition of a roguelike.

I think in general the term is changing, and in terms of how languages naturally shift it is an interesting case, but I also do not envy the author for the e-mails they are about to get.

Never knew the term roguelike or similar until way after the fact, but I really enjoyed Castle of the Winds[1] when I stumbled upon it as a kid. Countless hours sunk into that game, and now I want to take another stab... Thankfully the author has released it into the public domain[2], awesome!

Now to see if I can get it running on 64-bit Windows[3], it being a 16-bit Windows game.

[1]: https://www.mobygames.com/game/castle-of-the-winds

[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_of_the_Winds

[3]: https://github.com/otya128/winevdm

I don't think there is a need to change the usual interpretation established through the genre's past. There is a bigger audience inspired by the genre and some of them seek to appropriate the roguelike word for another role which better suits their views, but should they be allowed that? Deviating the meaning of words is not a good habit of our society, especially when not even done for a noble cause. If the intent behind is better conformity to a wider audience, then it is a tyranny of the majority. Inevitably, it leads to a simple question: what is wrong with just accepting the "Roguelite" word and living on with it?
Groundhog Day with an RNG

edit: is that LiveJournal? Its still around and hijacks the back button?

Thought this was going to be an article about Beneath Apple Manor. Oh well.
ADOM is an advanced classical roguelike, very playable for beginners and available on Steam now with decent GUI. Can't recommend it more.
It is not misnamed, it is perfectly fine. You just have to do more research or...you know do something else.