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Roguelikes: the Misnamed Genre

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the addictive-frustration dept.

Classic Games (Games) 201

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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I love playing text games.... (-1, Troll)

randromobserver (2078794) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950562)

There are the best kind, and no need in water cooled graphic card too. Speaking of which, you know that you can play tetris in bash? Here is a a guy's blog post [freeblogspot.org] about how he coded that

Re:I love playing text games.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35950574)

There are the best kind, and no need in water cooled graphic card too.
Speaking of which, you know that you can play tetris in bash?
Here is a a guy's blog post [freeblogspot.org] about how he coded that

Goatse link!

Re:I love playing text games.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35950866)

Yeah, but that is how he coded it -- he pulled it out of his ass. And if you think how big and ugly tetris.sh would be.... I think it's as plausible an origin story for goatse-man as we're likely to get.

Nethack (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35950570)

Roguelikes are about incomprehensible control schemes utilizing every single key on your keyboard, twice!

Re:Nethack (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35950586)

So vi and emacs are roguelike?

Re:Nethack (5, Insightful)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950622)

I know it is a joke, but the connection is there. The original rogue is vi-like, adopting the cursor keys of vi.

Re:Nethack (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35951486)

If rogue had used emacs key bindings only Stallman would play roguelikes.

Re:Nethack (2)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950726)

No. You also need pedals and a joystick to get the full functionality from vi and emacs.

Re:Nethack (1)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35951848)

Nah, I just start Emacs, use C-x M-x M-butterfly, and the roguelike plays itself.

Re:Nethack (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#35951874)

Plus a butterfly for the latter.

Re:Nethack (2)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 3 years ago | (#35951026)

Amen.

You know, there are always debates raging online about whether keyboard and mouse, or controllers are a better control scheme. And while keyboards have advantages, you have to admire how the restricted amount of buttons on a controller forces designers to rationalise their control schemes.

Keyboard based developers on the other hand never really have to face the problem of running out of buttons, and as such tend to designate every command to its own button, sometimes without any thought at all. Sometimes, out of necessity, the control scheme can be somewhat egonomicised , particularly for FPS games and the like. But for "roguelike" games, sometimes it feels like the developers matched keys to commands by rolling a dice. A little thought could drastically reduce the and rationalise the amount and kind of keys being used.

Sometimes, the controls for games like Nethack and Dwarf Fortress are so bad that I think the developers never actually sit down and play the game themselves; eat their own dog food so to speak. i think if they did, alternative control schemes would emerge very quickly. Then again, maybe they play a lot, and have just become inured to their own creations.

Re:Nethack (3, Informative)

Elbereth (58257) | more than 3 years ago | (#35951096)

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.

Re:Nethack (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#35951614)

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.

My mnemonic for zapping a wand versus zapping a spell is that it's less effort to "zap" a wand than to "Zap" a spell (hitting shift as well). It also carries over into dropping one item or many ("d" vs "D").

Re:Nethack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35951344)

Sorry, but NetHack's controls are actually very mnemonic (q for quaff, Q for quit, w for wield, W for wear, r for read, R for remove, t for throw, T for take off...). And after few hours, the controls become your second nature, really. Experienced player doesn't really need to think about how to control the game, the fingers do it themselves with great fluency. Yes, the learning curve is rather steep, but that's because NetHack wants to make stuff easy for experienced player. Think of it like controlling an airplane... it's not easy, no point'n'click interface, no wizards, just sticks, some gauges and dials and that's it. Yet experienced pilot flies it without needing to think about this interface.

Re:Nethack (3, Interesting)

bhaak1 (219906) | more than 3 years ago | (#35951362)

Roguelikes have a long history and some of those old decisions don't fit well into the modern computer environments. For example vi-keys (although almost all modern roguelikes support numpad) are such a case. Without tradition, developers probably would use a solution base on the nowadays more common WASD.

But there's also a reason for not changing. You've already got a lot of people familiar with certain concepts.

As a NetHack fork developer I don't want to alienate the large Vanilla player base by introducing new keys that would confuse them. Even though I know that it isn't the best possible interface for beginners.

Luckily you can try to improve an interface without completely overhaul it. It's not the best possible solution but a good compromise.

With Vanilla NetHack you've got the problem that it really hasn't changed much since mid-90s and is dormant since 2003. I wouldn't hold my breath for a version with a better interface from the DevTeam.

Re:Nethack (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#35951976)

Nethack is actually a perfect example of why all those keys are so useful. If you actually sit down and play it, before long the keys just become muscle memories. You don't have to remember whick key is what, and where it is. You just think 'pick lock' and it happens. I assure you, when it comes to beating nethack, memorizing the control scheme is a negligible part of the challenge.

Rogue likes on consoles (e.g. Powder on the GBA) on the other hand force you to scroll tediously through menus. What else can you do when you've only got 2 buttons?

Re:Nethack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35951084)

Flight simulators are roguelike. Some of them also require pedals and joysticks.

One essential question... (1, Interesting)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950580)

Diablo and its derivatives, Diablo 2 and Torchlight - are they Roguelikes?
Quite crude for roguelikes, but the generated landscape changing with each game, varied monsters, levelled dungeon with ability to backtrace, random-generated items, and generally quite a bit of roguelike elements...
I think the thing that could make them apart from the genre is lack of "turn-based" mode, kinda like an active pause - even entering the inventory does not pause. But is it enough?

Re:One essential question... (2)

rasmusneckelmann (840111) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950626)

Diablo is clearly heavily inspired by roguelikes, but there's really not that much of the original gameplay left. It would be like if I made a real-time strategy game with units like "pawn", "queen", and "king" and said it was a chesslike.

Re:One essential question... (1)

bertok (226922) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950648)

That's actually a good analogy!

Diablo is to Rougelikes as RTS games are to Chess.

Re:One essential question... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35950824)

Only in that Diablo and RTS games are real-time while roguelikes and chess are turnbased. The analogy falls apart when you realize that Diablo's mechanics are much simpler than roguelikes', whereas RTS games tend to have more complex mechanics than chess.

Re:One essential question... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35951074)

More complex mechanics don't neccessarilly make for a more complex game. So RTSes have more kinds of units, with various abilities, cooldowns, etc. Far more complex than chess pieces which have a very limited and constant amount of abilities. Yet because of these very limitations, such as only being able to move one piece at a time, mounting an attack in chess requires are more planning and forethought. There is no effective Chess equivalent to a Zerg rush. (Thing's like the Fool's Mate don't count, they require active participation of both players.)

The analogy still holds, a game's total complexity is more than its mechanics. If we throw an MMORPG into the mix (hell, why not?) consider for a moment World of Warcraft vs Chess. World of Warcraft is an incredibly complex game with many different kinds of classes, each of those classes having selecting talents that fundamentally modify a character's preferred role, abilities and capabilities, and special abilities granted through items, racial abilities or even professions. For all its complexity, the most important things in that game is still teamwork, good reflexes, knowing how to use your class's abilities to make the best of any situation, and - in the case of higher level raids that you've only just got the required gear to beat - perfect execution from all players with little room for error.

Yet, given all that, is Chess less complex than World of Warcraft? Not at all. World of Warcraft is about knowing not to stand in the fire, and basically being able to execute a strategy which is often fairly simple - or sometimes even devising new strategies for new bosses.

In the ends, games are complex in different ways, many of the challenges in World of Warcraft are purely logistical, organising people, maintaining a raiding team of 25 people, where hopefully most of them know what the hell they're doing, and movitate them to push themselves to perform at the top of their skill. In that way WoW is far more complex than chess, which is after all a two-player game. The hardest logistical challenge is finding a matched opponent, and setting up a match with them.

Chess is about knowing where you have all your pieces, knowing where all your enemies pieces are, making careful strategies to mount a successful attack, while not leaving yourself exposed to a similar attack. You have to consider what you're doing, what he's doing, and even a small flaw in your defense can often be mercilessly exploited by your opponent with devastating consequences. The rigors of strategy makes Chess far more complex.

In the end, complexity in mechanics is not sufficient to make a complex game. A class having 100 abilities doesn't matter if you can acheive the best result just using a single ability over and over and over. A heroic dungeon having a group of trash mobs with different abilities that all have to be countered and controlled to perform a clean kill doesn't matter if everybody has gear just to force their way through the mobs without thinking, because the tank can tank all of them at the same time with no issues, and the healer can keep the tank up as well, even if some DPS inevitably overaggros.

Re:One essential question... (2)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950884)

In particular, it's inspired by Angband and Angband variants. There's not much of Nethack in there.

Re:One essential question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35950652)

As far as I know (I have not played Diablo that much), those games are about choosing which way you want to defeat monsters, and then improve those aspects. It lacks the problem solving parts common in games like Nethack (haven't played any other "rouge-like" games). In Nethack, for example, you can experiment with ways to use or combine the items in your possession to make it possible to take stuff from the shops without paying.

Re:One essential question... (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950776)

The Horadrim Cube from Diablo 2 or the Alchemist from Torchlight?

Sure they were SIMPLE comparing to most Roguelikes - and Nethack is one of most complicated of them. There are some roguelikes comparable in simplicity to Diablo too.

Re:One essential question... (1)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950660)

Diablo was inspired by nethack, a roguelike.

The boundaries of the genre are not well defined, but turn-based would usually be considered one of the defining characteristics.

Re:One essential question... (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 3 years ago | (#35951160)

The first Diablo was actually originally developed as turn-based. It was converted to real-time relatively late in its development cycle.

Re:One essential question... (1)

zwei2stein (782480) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950672)

Yes they are. Same gameplay mechanics, same addiction rates. They are just to user friendly and too fun for ordinary person to be considered one by fans of genre.

Fun fact: Diablo 1 was actually turn based in early stages of development.

On the other hand Dwarf Fortress ( http://www.bay12games.com/dwarves/index.html [bay12games.com] , http://df.zweistein.cz/ [zweistein.cz] ) is also sometimes labeled roguelike. It seems like anything in text mode and arcane controls can get this label - even sims crossed with simcity.

Re:One essential question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35950908)

Dwarf Fortress has an adventure mode that is roguelike.

Re:One essential question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35950926)

DF has two modes of play. One is roguelike, the other is not.

Re:One essential question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35951180)

But DF is a roguelike. It's turn-based (the turns just go by fairly quickly), dungeon levels and challenges are randomly generated, death is permanent aside from savescumming, you have to use a toolkit to survive, etc. It even has randomly generated artifacts. The whole 'being text-based' thing is very important, but DF meets the other criteria handily, especially when you realize that there is a single-player Adventure mode.

Re:One essential question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35951728)

Your fact isn't all that fun.

Re:One essential question... (1)

Zandamesh (1689334) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950674)

No, they're Roguelikelikes!

Re:One essential question... (1)

Tei (520358) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950688)

Diablo, Torchlight are Hack and Slash action RPG games.

-Are not turn based.
-Theres not permadead.
-You "unlock" all the skills of your class... on a roguelike you grown in power, until you die.

So, no, are very fart apart from roguelikes.

Re:One essential question... (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950792)

- Most have "hardcore mode" which is permadead.
- in single player there is pause, which allows for pretty much same thing as turn-based.
- unlocking skills of a class (spending exp at will) vs growing in power randomly is more like a flavor than a defining characteristics.

Re:One essential question... (1)

JackDW (904211) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950972)

Pause isn't the same as turn-based at all. In a real roguelike, you get infinite time to consider your next move. And then you press a key and get exactly the move you wanted. This is the main reason why you can't have a multiplayer roguelike.

You can have multiplayer angband. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35951062)

Pause isn't the same as turn-based at all. In a real roguelike, you get infinite time to consider your next move. And then you press a key and get exactly the move you wanted. This is the main reason why you can't have a multiplayer roguelike.

MAngband [mangband.org] is a multiplayer version of Angband. If I remember correctly, it uses a tick system to handle actions. It's not quite real-time, so you have time to think, but not much. Everyone playing performs their actions and they all happen at the next tick.

The time between actions is configurable, so if you're hosting your own for friends you can make the game faster or slower, whichever is more comfortable to you. If you're accustomed to taking a long time between actions you'll have to readjust, but it works well enough and is fun without ruining the roguelike feel.

Re:One essential question... (1)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 3 years ago | (#35951912)

Multiplayer roguelikes have been around since roguelikes first appeared.... Use a vt100 terminal and log into the unix server and check them out. I used to play online with my buds back in 91, and they were pretty well advanced back then.

Re:One essential question... (1)

Internetuser1248 (1787630) | more than 3 years ago | (#35951106)

complex interactions in order to overcome unpredictable challenges.

diablo 2 -
complex interaction = reapeatedly left click on monster
unpredictable challenges = the same monsters that always spawn in that area
Those are actually the key gameplay features that make a roguelike great, and the gaping holes in gameplay that make diablo 2 substandard.

Re:One essential question... (1)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 3 years ago | (#35951896)

Roguelikes no not need to be turn based. The online versions of nethack, rogue, etc have all been real-time, and they've been around for decades this way.

Also, Diablo does have a permadead mode, it's called hardcore, and is VERY popular.

The games are very similar. Diablo is basically a commercial roguelike.

maybe to you... (3, Insightful)

waddgodd (34934) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950584)

To the rest of us, rougelikes are just that, clones of rogue. Clearly Star Trek isn't a roguelike, yet it's "about using an unpredictable toolkit with complex interactions in order to overcome unpredictable challenges.", no?

"Roguelike" means "like Rogue" (4, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950588)

"Roguelike" means "like Rogue [wikipedia.org] ", 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).

Re:"Roguelike" means "like Rogue" (2)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950630)

What about Dwarf Fortress?
In the "adventurer mode" it is a clear-cut roguelike with a vast world to explore.
In the "fortress mode" it becomes a strategy game (freely switchable between RTS and turn-based.) But still it utilizes the same game mechanics, the same world (to a degree where your adventurer may find and explore your fortress), and generally is just a different mode of the same game.

Re:"Roguelike" means "like Rogue" (1)

the_enigma_1983 (742079) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950772)

Seems like you answered your own question. In "adventurer" mode it's rogue-like. In "fortress" mode it isn't. Just like Portal 2 is "multiplayer" when doing co-op, and "single player" when doing the .. solo campaign. I don't see what's wrong with a game being "rogue-like" in one particular mode, especially when, like Dwarf Fortress, different modes of game play are so different.

Re:"Roguelike" means "like Rogue" (1, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950770)

It's just a bunch of nincompoops playing games that aren't like Rogue in any way, and calling them 'roguelikes' because they use a console interface.

Re:"Roguelike" means "like Rogue" (0)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950806)

It's just a bunch of nincompoops playing games that aren't like Rogue in any way, and calling them 'roguelikes' because they use a console interface. It's a sign of a tiny mind that can't expand to embrace new concepts and seeks to explain everything in terms of its own limited, parochial worldview.

Re:"Roguelike" means "like Rogue" (5, Informative)

arkenian (1560563) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950990)

"Roguelike" means "like Rogue [wikipedia.org] ", 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:"Roguelike" means "like Rogue" (2)

kikito (971480) | more than 3 years ago | (#35951512)

"Like" implies "more or less". Don't you know SQL?

Something "like Rogue, but no more and no less", should be roqueequals, not roguelike.

wtf is roguelike? (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950590)

I googled to find out, but it would make a lot more sense for the summary to include at least a sentence to explain it.

"I've been playing a lot of Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup lately. It's a great example of a roguelike [short definition goes here]

Maybe im asking a bit much from slashdot though. who knows.....

Re:wtf is roguelike? (2)

ryansherwood (1424609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950616)

I share your sentiments, however, prepare to be trolled.

Re:wtf is roguelike? (0)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950618)

When there's a summary mentioning Tetris or Pacman, do you also then want a brief definition of what those games are about?

Re:wtf is roguelike? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35950666)

You don't.. I mean, how... what the... eugh.

IVAN [sourceforge.net] . Go play.

Re:wtf is roguelike? (1)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950716)

You must be new here.

Re:wtf is roguelike? (2)

the_enigma_1983 (742079) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950780)

The very article explains that it is hard to define "rogue-like" as anything except "similar to the game Rogue". I'm not sure what better description can be given, and if you want one linked, then TFA does actually go over what a Rogue-like game is.

Re:wtf is roguelike? (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950960)

text-based RPG, action shooter, bdsm riddled hack n slash, arcade fighter, driving simulation.....any of these could put in the summary to better define a roguelike.

Re:wtf is roguelike? (1)

Dodgy G33za (1669772) | more than 3 years ago | (#35951104)

Here is a thought. If you don't understand something on the interwebs, go and google it. Then continue. Simple eh?

Re:wtf is roguelike? (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#35951132)

did you even read the comment thread?

Re:wtf is roguelike? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35951922)

Here is another thought. GP has a point about adding 2-3 descriptive words.

Why post anything at all, ever? We could all just use Google and never need any other sites or blogs or news or comments at all! Why should anyone ever do anything, when we can just use Google ourselves?

Everyone needs stop submitting stories to Slashdot. We all should already know about all stories, from Googling them. Stop helping all these lazy retards who can't be bothered to use Google and want others to post things to a site for them!

Re:wtf is roguelike? (1)

EllF (205050) | more than 3 years ago | (#35951958)

I think that familiarity with roguelikes -- at least in terms of general context -- are an assumed part of the Slashdot culture. I hear you on the lack of explanation around obscure references to things that only a select group of folks know, but for those of us who have been around for a while, *hack doesn't really fall into that bucket. That said, the point of the article is that the genre supposedly defies easy explanation; offering a definition would be somewhat contrary to that point.

Monkey Island? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35950596)

Is it considered roguelike?

This is a SPAM submission (4, Interesting)

a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950608)

Its a dupe from an earlier submission that was not deemed fit to become a story

http://games.slashdot.org/submission/1543364/Roguelikes-The-Misnamed-Genre [slashdot.org]

So its actually someone writing a story and then spamming the slashdot submission to get it in here.

Sadly it's not better then the last time this sad story was submitted - can it please die - don't comment please.

Re:This is a SPAM submission (0)

spong (32007) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950676)

I agree, strikes me as shameless self-promotion in a target-rich environment... Downloading as I type this...

Not even a mention of the new release (1)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35951122)

It seems to be an attempt to promote links to his blog, yeah.

The submitter didn't even bother including such details like yesterday's release of a new major version of Dungeon Crawl with a crapload of goodies. This is what I'd promote. Ok, ok, I do happen to be a member of the devteam so I might be a little biased too :p

Re:member of the dev team (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35951178)

Hiya, Member of the Devteam!

What is Stone Soup and why did you folks make "DCSS" sound a lot like "DeCSS?"

Re:This is a SPAM submission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35951308)

Thanks for the heads up; I'll make sure I don't RTFA.

"Fucking hard", RPG? (1)

no known priors (1948918) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950636)

The first thought that came to mind was "fucking hard". The next was RPG (that standa for "role playing game", not a term from a FPS that starts with "rocket").

Someone asked if Diablo is a "roguelike". Well, Yes? No.

The "roguelike" that I've played the most of is Nethack. Even when cheating outrageously (save scumming, fiddling with bones files, all the tricks in the book), I still can't win. It's just too fucking hard! But, I've played a lot of other RPGs (e.g. Exile and Avernum from Spiderweb Software), which are winnable.

Then again, Dwarf Fortress isn't exactly an RPG.

Maybe we need to stop putting everything into little boxes?

Re:"Fucking hard", RPG? (1)

daid303 (843777) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950698)

I enjoyed the Doom roguelike much more then nethack, it's easier to play (less options/buttons) but still a very good game.

Re:"Fucking hard", RPG? (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950720)

Nethack

hard

No. It's actually not that hard. Most games tell you to attack everything headfirst. 2 important tips:
1. Don't ever melee more than 1 enemy unless you are 100% certain you can take them all. Narrow corridors and wands are your friend.
2. http://nethackwiki.com/ [nethackwiki.com] specifically http://nethackwiki.com/wiki/Identification [nethackwiki.com] learn to do this

You can practice in explorer mode by typing capital X. Get to the point where you don't die much at all.

Re:"Fucking hard", RPG? (2, Interesting)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950758)

Sheesh, God forbid anyone actually try to play the game as it was intended, rather than use every bit of fun-draining information available on the net to make the game into an 'achievement' instead of 'fun'.

Re:"Fucking hard", RPG? (2)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950904)

Nethack isn't really intended to be winnable without spoilers. DCSS is, though, but still a good deal of the fun is talking about it, exchanging strategies and ideas.

Re:"Fucking hard", RPG? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35951382)

NetHack is perfectly winnable without spoilers. Most players don't realize there's explore mode and wizard mode always available to you. So you can try stuff without needing to sacrifice hours of gameplay. On the other hand Crawl is intended to be played without spoilers, and sure, it gives you a lot of in-game info. But then, it is mostly about learning when to fight and when to flee. After inevitable misjudgement of an unfamiliar enemy resulting in death, you're bound to start the game completely anew.

Re:"Fucking hard", RPG? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35950916)

To be fair, his point 1 was valid. Then again, I thought it was pretty much covered under the first two letters of RPG. If your character is an idiot who rushes headlong into combat with numerous foes, then yes, your character will die. If your character has half a brain, they will remember everything they've heard about the dungeon being dangerous, realize that adventurers far more skilled than themselves have died, and show just a little caution.

Re:"Fucking hard", RPG? (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#35951656)

Some of us like to research and plan how we play our games, kind of a meta-game, the thrill is in imagining all the possibilities. To that end, the Nethack devs actually did a good job of anticipating silly things people would try to do (e.g. "That is a potion bottle, not a Klein bottle!" when attempting to dip a potion into itself).

Re:"Fucking hard", RPG? (2)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950734)

>It's just too fucking hard!

I think the "giant's drink" game in Ender's Game is nethack.

I could be wrong. But I've never seen the balrog so I can't say that the balrog is /not/ the giant.

--
BMO

Re:"Fucking hard", RPG? (3, Interesting)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950936)

Roguelikes don't have anywhere near enough roleplaying (none whatsoever, generally) to be RPGs. They're basically simple hack & slash games, but what makes them interesting is the tactical problem solving. You encounter a monster, swarm of monsters or other situation that's just too hard to overcome by your usual methods, so you need to think of something clever. You need to think, and you need time to think (which you don't have in an action game).

This is something all true roguelikes (nethack, moria, angband, adom) have in common. They are incredibly challenging and almost impossible to win. (I only managed to finish adom once through outrageous save scumming.) They require thinking and creativity. They need to be turn based and have a ridiculous number of options. They have to be fucking hard. It's about overcoming the challenges, not about experiencing some story (because there is none).

So what's the problem with the name 'roguelike'? (1)

Zwets (645911) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950646)

'roguelike' simply means 'like rogue'. I think the poster has a problem with the term 'dungeon crawler', which indeed gives dungeons (and crawling :-) a little too much credit. But 'roguelike' seems like a perfect, if unhelpful, name for the genre.

Seriously? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35950668)

I mean who fucking cares. What does this have to do with science? I can see the "nerds" part, but only in the sense of a nerd being a loser with no social skills whatsoever and staying inside like a vampire avoiding the daylight. (not that there's anything wrong with that). I come to slashdot to find out stuff about Physics research, solar cell technology, programming, and maybe a little of the latest gadgets and tentacle porn anime. The only thing in this article even remotely related to technology is that you might need a computer to play the games. And then what is this article even about? Nobody freaking knows. It's about the author whining and pining about the definition of an obscure and unimportant (and obviously ill-defined) genre of video gaming that nobody cares about Jesus.

Re:Seriously? (0)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950710)

Dude. Chillax. People need to know this stuff. Otherwise they could get eaten by a grue.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35951772)

Wrong game.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35951622)

It's posted to the games section. If you can't figure out that the games section deals primarily with discussions about games then you're going to be way out of your league if you ever do happen across a science article. If you don't like games, log in and hide games in your preferences, sheesh.

Perhaps you don't know what a true roguelike is... (1)

dirtyhippie (259852) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950786)

If you're not searching for the amulet of yendor, it doesn't count. It all started going wrong with nethack...

Re:Perhaps you don't know what a true roguelike is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35951438)

But in NetHack you are searching for the Amulet of Yendor!?

Re:Perhaps you don't know what a true roguelike is (1)

EricWright (16803) | more than 3 years ago | (#35951474)

Why? Because simply finding the AoY deep in a dungeon is good enough? Let's not make it more difficult by requiring you to actually ESCAPE the pits of hell with the amulet. /sarcasm

I played plenty of rogue, nethack, moria, angband and even a little bit of larn back in the day. Nethack was far and away the best of them, balancing fear of insta-death, inside jokes, variability of game-play, etc. However, moria and angband were solid games in their own right. I particularly enjoyed how easy it was to fiddle with angband without actually touching code. All items/monsters/etc. were defined in plain-text config files.

In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35950834)

Nobody knows, much less cares, what "roguelikes" are.

Re:In other news (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#35951092)

Nobody knows, much less cares, what "roguelikes" are.

Well, obviously "roguelike" means like a rogue. [wikipedia.org]
Of course a "roguelike game" might also be a game acting like this. [wikipedia.org] :-)

That's not what roguelikes are! (2)

Urkki (668283) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950848)

Roguelikes are games that are like Rogue [wikipedia.org] both in game play and in appearance (IMHO graphical tiles and even isometric or 3rd person 3D are allowed, as long as it doesn't affect game play, though purists may disagree).

The summary tries to imply there's some deeper meaning behind the word, but really, there isn't.

OPs link doesn't know what it means. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35950890)

They really don't. ASCII art is NOT a requirement to be Roguelike, not in the slightest.
It is a common feature since it is easy to implement, but hell, you can have any game in ASCII that isn't a roguelike.
I seriously wish people would get this stupid idea out their heads already. ASCII does not define Roguelike, and vice versa.

Also, games can have multiple, separate game modes.
A game isn't restricted to one genre.
If it was, that would make "X game collection" series of games impossible to mark since they usually contain 5, possibly 10 different game types. (and not the stupid blanket term genres that most of the idiot industry use at that)
Games are quite capable of containing multiple genres of gameplay in one.
It isn't hard, you just do this, "genre(s): dungeon-crawler / roguelike"

Roguelike is very well-defined. You just never google'd the definition and read the many articles on it, particularly the one anyone can contribute to, and is kept well, the Wikipedia article on it.
Also, for the love of god, do not liken games to movies. It sickens me.
Movies are terribly abusive with genres as it is.
Mind you, games are slowly catching up, FPS, RPG, sports, puzzler, platformer, strategy.
Most games these days are thrown under those 6. Action / Adventure is barely even used these days anymore. It used to be the go-to genre for everything actiony and adventurey, now FPS is.

We don't need another genre. We need to educate people that there are other genres, not the silly blanket terms like Action Adventure, Strategy, RPG, etc.
Those 3 can be split in to probably 3 times that number alone.
Here is a start: Video Game Genres list [wikipedia.org]

Re:OPs link doesn't know what it means. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35951150)

Wikipedia is for people who obsessively categorize and list everything.

When you get down to it, most of the articles are just obsessive lists of trivia associated with the topic, rather than actual articles. Anything that's not strongly grounded in the hard sciences (and even that seems not to be immune) eventually becomes a list of trivia (or, as that heading is now known, "in popular culture"), starting to accumulate Buffy the Vampire Slayer (or some other infantile shit) factoids, until 2/3 of the article is now either examples, lists, or Buffy trivia, no matter what the original article was supposed to be about.

And God forbid that you remove that important Buffy factoid! It will cause a shitstorm, because you're REMOVING INFORMATION FROM THE SUM OF ALL HUMAN KNOWLEDGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fucking aspies.

Posted anonymous to protect my life against the wikiaddicts, who would probably try to kill me for criticizing it.

Re:OPs link doesn't know what it means. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35951686)

So you're basing your opinion of Wikipedia on XKCD instead of actually using it?

I've never seen a Buffy "factoid" on Wikipedia. In fact, in the Wiki entry for factoid [wikipedia.org] , there is no mention of Buffy whatsoever, and, while you may be offended by the several list elements that appear after the introduction, the introduction does sum up "factoids" nicely.

It's not about the players silly.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35951090)

...it's about having fun writing pure, algorithmic code with few user-interface distractions.

Most hobby coding projects get bogged down in user-interface or graphics issues.
Writing a Roguelike from scratch is like writing your own kernel without having to worry about all that stuff.

For those of us who like to tinker with systems-like code, roguelikes are as good as it gets.
You can re-invent a different wheel every day: AI, line-of-sight, maze-generation, maze-traversal, ...

category of one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35951358)

I worked on an online database of games for many years. I came to believe that there can never be a completely satisfying system of genre and style classifications. Any such system is abstract and static, while the realm of game development is organic and evolutionary. I believe that an Aristotelian approach, which tries to classify individual games by what they have in common, produces more useful results than a Platonic approach, which tries to fit each individual game into some immutable category from on-high. That way, your genres and styles evolve along with each new game you classify within them.

No matter how you set up your system, however, there will be games that seem to belong in more than one category. There are "Role-Playing Games" that also have elements of adventure, "Adventure" games with lots of puzzle-solving, "Strategy" games with action sequences, and so on. Is GTA3 a "Driving" game, a "Shooter," an "Action Adventure," or what? Should the Sims be classified as a "Simulation" game or as a "Strategy" game?

As to this discussion, I agree that there is really only one game that is 100% Roguelike, and that is Rogue. Others may be Roguelike, to some degree, but not completely. I think it can be a useful term, just as terms such as Civilization-like or Zelda-like could be useful descriptors to people who have played those games, but I don't think there's much use in trying to define Roguelike as a genre or style unto itself. A category of one is seldom useful in any system of classification.

Confused with TV show? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35951384)

I can't think of any good reason why "roguelike" should imply the qualities you describe. The description you gave sounds like you might actually be thinking of, not a video game genre, but a TV show called Macgyver.

Fanfic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35951448)

[quote] using an unpredictable toolkit with complex interactions in order to overcome unpredictable challenges.'"[/quote]

I know nothing about this genre, but the summary makes me think it's fantasy-based Macgyver fanfic.

Other genres (1)

lyinhart (1352173) | more than 3 years ago | (#35951504)

You know when Spelunky is described as a roguelike, there's some serious issues with genre naming. Defining is a roguelike is pretty simple. Dungeon crawler - saving = roguelike. It's certainly a far better definition than "...an unpredictable toolkit with complex interactions in order to overcome unpredictable challenges." Um... you could say the same about platform games or almost any other genre of game for that matter when you first play them. And the "toolkit" itself isn't unpredictable - even if the items are randomly generated, their behavior and properties are certainly defined.

Other genres are similarly confusing. Like RPG video games - they are actually strategy games. It's the fantasy settings they have that has lead them to be lumped in with real RPGs like D&D and its ilk. We needn't complicate matters further by coming up with vague definitions and proceeding to pat ourselves on the back as we confuse the heck out of everyone.

Re:Other genres (1)

Jaqenn (996058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35951562)

I would heartily call Spelunky a roguelike. Random levels, frequent death, and a learning style where you don't get taught what something does before you interact with it the first time.

For the record, Toejam & Earl count too.

Re:Other genres (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35951856)

"- saving"? You could save the game in the original Rogue.

What roguelikes are (3, Insightful)

cgomezr (1074699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35951550)

That the term "roguelike" is vague is a well-known fact, but there are definitions around much better than the one in the article: http://roguebasin.roguelikedevelopment.org/index.php?title=What_a_roguelike_is [roguelikedevelopment.org]

The distinguishing features of roguelikes are random world generation, permadeath, complexity of item interaction, RPG-like stats, killing scores of monsters, grid-based motion, turn-based mechanics and arguably ASCII interface. A game may be a roguelike and not have all of these, but if it has, say, all but two, it is undoubtedly a roguelike.

The reasoning in the article that leads into calling "Super Smash Bros Brawl" a roguelike is just ludicrous. Of course there is no limit to how one can redefine a term, but one should not expect to be taken seriously after saying that every animal with four paws should be called a dog. Saying that "Super Smash Bros Brawl" is a roguelike because it is complex in some way goes against the common use of the word. The author of the article should find a different name for what he means.

I have a better name (1)

joelville (1180631) | more than 3 years ago | (#35951580)

ToeJam&Earllike

That's funny (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35951600)

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

I thought rouguelikes were for proving I had more of Teh Nerd than the next guy.

Um, No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35951714)

The fact that you think they are misnamed leads me to believe you don't really know what a Roguelike is. Freakin' kids.
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