What is a Roguelike?
A Roguelike is usually described as a free turn-based computer game with a strong focus on intricate gameplay and replayability, and an abstract world representation using ASCII-based display, as opposed to 3D graphics. Of course, as with any genre, there are deviations from the norm.
Roguelikes allow the player an indefinite amount of time in which to make a move, making gameplay comparable more to chess than to reflex-based games like first-person shooters. Since graphics are limited (if not completely shunned), the player's imagination must come into play - gameplay is more like reading a book than watching a movie.
Of course, the best way to understand what Roguelikes are is to download and play one.
Many Roguelikes are freely available online. The most influential are known as the Major Roguelikes:
Before their rise in popularity in the late 80s and 90s, the genre was dominated by the Major Classic Roguelikes:
Since the control systems of these Roguelikes are geared towards "expert" players, the novice player may be interested in trying a 'lighter' game like some of the coffeebreak roguelikes or just dive in at the deep end and find a roguelike game to suit you.
There are several other important places in the roguelike community that you should consider visiting:
Featured Roguelike: Caves of Qud
Caves of Qud is a post-apocalyptic roguelike inspired by worlds like those of Dune, Gamma World, and Gene Wolfe's works. It is an open-world roguelike, heavily inspired by ADOM and Omega, providing a world map that combines static and procedurally generated locations with hand-written quests-lines. A two-tiered character creation system where you can play as a "true man" who not only starts with better equipment, extra attribute points, and gain more skill points each experience levels but also lets you choose which Caste you are from, for example The Crustal Mortars of Yawningmoon, "Fuming God-child" will give poison resistance as a perk or you can choose to be a mutant who have fewer attributes and skill points but have access to morphotypes which give either physical and mental mutations or a unstable genome which gives you three random selected mutations that you picked, when you level up there is a 33% chance of gaining those mutations. Physical mutations include claws, multiple arms, and photosynthetic skin. Mental mutations include teleportation, psychic attacks, and time manipulation but as well as positive mutations you can get either physical defects, such as being albino or as much as spontaneously combustion to mental defects such as amnesia , randomly teleporting and having a evil twin that has a small chance of attacking you every time you come into a new location, in order to have more points into the positive mutations or to add more of a challenge.
Player need to eat and drink fresh water in order to survive which also ties into the games unique bartering system where the currency is 'drams' of fresh, drinkable water which really helps the post-apocalyptic setting and tone.
Definitely give this a try if you're a fan of deep and complex systems.
New Roguelike Releases
If you have some ideas for a new Roguelike and would like to give development a go (or are already a seasoned developer) the RogueBasin is here to help you expand the Roguelike genre. A complete list of articles is available, but here are some to get you started:
If you'd like to contribute to RogueBasin, simply create an account and log in. Feel very free to edit! We especially need more information added to the games pages and the lists - if you're a developer, consider updating your game's page, and making sure that it (and you) are included in the relevant lists.
If you're an experienced developer, consider writing articles about creating Roguelikes. There are many people new to Roguelike development, and they often need help. It's especially helpful to write articles about problems you have experienced yourself. Also you can add your name to the RGRD Wiki Project (directly, or by posting a message on rgrd saying how you want to participate). If someone sees a relevant post by you, they'll upload it to this wiki as an article.