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The roguelike is a sub-genre of role-playing video games, characterized by randomization for replayability, permanent death, and turn-based movement. Most roguelikes feature ASCII graphics, with newer ones increasingly offering tile-based graphics. Games are typically dungeon crawls, with many monsters, items, and environmental features. Computer roguelikes usually employ the majority of the keyboard to facilitate interaction with items and the environment. The name of the genre comes from the 1980 game Rogue.



The roguelike genre takes its name from Rogue, a role-playing video game based on the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing games, including concepts such as stats and experience points.[1]

Some features of Rogue existed in earlier games, notably: Adventure (1975), Dungeon (1975), Telengard (1976), and several written for the PLATO system, such as the multi-user games dnd (1975) and Moria (1975). Both dnd and Moria utilized limited graphics. Moria offered a primitive first-person, three-dimensional view,[2] while dnd presented a top-down map view similar to Rogue.

In Rogue and Moria, the dungeon is randomly regenerated when the player begins, creating a new challenge each time.

These games present a plain view. Traditionally, an "@" sign represents the player character. Letters of the alphabet represent other characters (usually opposing monsters). Rogue itself only made use of capital letters, but present-day roguelikes vary capitalization to supply additional visual cues. A dog, for example, may be represented by the letter "d", and a dragon by a "D". Coloration may signal further distinction between creatures. For example, a Red Dragon might be represented by a red "D" and a Blue Dragon by a blue "D", each of differing abilities significant to player strategy. Additional dungeon features are represented by other ASCII (or ANSI) symbols. A traditional sampling follows.

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