Everything you need to know about the Roguelike and the Roguelite!

Game news Everything you need to know about the Roguelike and the Roguelite!

Become popular with an audience initiated by titles like Rogue Legacy or The Binding of Isaac in the early 2010s, the heirs of Rogue have only multiplied. Reviving somewhat of the challenge and punitive death of the arcade, the genre and its game systems find their way into big budget productions. The next Sony exclusive, Returnal, incorporates elements of Roguelite into its gaming experience. But what characteristics are behind these barbaric names and what is the difference between Roguelite and Roguelike?

A reference that creates a genre

In Rogue, released in 1980 on Unix, the player must travel through winding mazes to retrieve an amulet. He takes part in turn-based clashes and collects items whose appearance and stats change with each game. It only has one life and each game is different thanks to a random generation of the levels crossed. These are made up of rooms represented by textual symbols. If you have to use your imagination to interpret the different symbols that make up the dungeons, that hasn’t stopped the strength of its game systems from making it a very popular title that will be ported to many other media. The relative simplicity of its code makes porting and adapting to another system very simple and it is very quickly that new versions of the game and experiences directly inspired by these formidable mechanics are emerging.

Everything you need to know about the Roguelike and the Roguelite!

Variants like Hack and Moria are therefore created and take up the concept while adding some ideas to improve the formula. Moria adds a starting city for the player to shop and Hack implements a Seed system, allowing the random generation of a game to be saved. The Roguelike genre continued for more than ten years and various licenses were born around the concept. Some associate a universe with a license held by the publisher in charge of the project, others add functionalities but it will be necessary to wait until the 2000s to see the independent scene reclaiming the code of the genre to create the Roguelite.

Everything you need to know about the Roguelike and the Roguelite!

What sets a Roguelite apart is that they include elements of Rogue without being a direct successor to him. The “real Roguelikes” are unknown to the general public. The most popular games that are generally associated with these genres are virtually all Roguelites. The Binding of Isaac allows you to unlock new characters and objects over the course of the games, Hades puts storytelling at the center of its progress, FTL: Faster than Light regularly presents new species and types of ships … So many experiences that feature renderings different visuals, gameplays at odds with the original game and rewards that regularly renew the game experience or facilitate progression as the games follow one another.

Everything you need to know about the Roguelike and the Roguelite!

A strict definition that has had its day?

A “real Roguelike” looks like two drops of water like Snape. Thus, the RogueBasin site, which aims to be a community encyclopedia dedicated to the genre, presents a strict, even conservative, definition called “Interpretation of Berlin”. Available at this address, it was written in 2008 by the participants of the International Roguelike Development Conference which was held that year, and here is the simplified definition which can be found on the home page of

A Roguelike is generally described as a turn-based computer game with a strong emphasis on complex gameplay and replayability., set in an abstract world using an ASCII interface and not 3D graphics. Of course, as with all genres, there are exceptions to this standard.

Roguelikes allow the player to take as long as they want to make a move, making the gameplay more like chess than a reflex-based game like an FPS. Since the graphics are limited (if not completely nonexistent), the player’s imagination has to come into play – the gameplay is more like reading a book than watching a movie.

Obviously the best way to understand what Roguelike is is to download one and play it. ”

Everything you need to know about the Roguelike and the Roguelite!

The games referred to on this site are therefore rudimentary, austere and deeply rooted in Rogue’s legacy. This definition is regularly at the heart of lively discussions and many people strongly contest it and want to broaden it so that it corresponds to more current titles. Those would then want all games featuring randomly generated environments, permanent death, and no progression between games to be called Roguelike. Its use would then be much more common, although their number remains limited. This debate reaches extremes that can easily be described as absurd, such as the existence of the term Roguelike-Like which is sometimes used to define these games.

Everything you need to know about the Roguelike and the Roguelite!

It is a complex subject and the qualification of the genre remains subject to debate. However, a word gains the use given to it. For The King, for example, qualifies as a mix between Roguelike and board game. This is obviously false according to the interpretation of Berlin, limiting the use of the term to games running under an ASCII interface. We are not immune to seeing this name evolve or seeing the word replaced. After all, the expression Doom-Like was abandoned in favor of “FPS” when the genre became more democratic. GTA-Like has turned into an “Open World Game”. For clarity and accessibility, it would be interesting if developers, gamers, and writers line up to offer a term that fits the modern video game market. Either way, be aware that most of the mainstream titles that have one of these tags are Roguelites, as they only feature elements of Rogue. If we ignore the interpretation of Berlin, the Roguelikes then become games with the same characteristics and where the player does not progress between games and where each of them represents an end in itself and not an end. step to a larger adventure. Let’s face it, it’s still more practical.

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