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Rogue, roguelikes, and Rogue for your iPhone

Every morning, my mom hops onto her twelve-year old Hewlett-Packard PC and reads the news.

Specifically, she reads MSN. She only visits websites and articles that have been linked to from MSN.

The twelve-year old computer sits on my childhood desk in my childhood bedroom. When she reads the news, I am usually still asleep in my childhood bed. She likes to read the news aloud.

rogue-ibmThe Ten Greatest PC Games Ever,” she read aloud.

“Oh, cool,” I said sleepily, “read them to me.” I sat up to put on my glasses, then lay back down. “Let’s see if we can guess them in advance. Uh, Doom or Quake. Diablo or Starcraft. OK, go.”

Midway through the list, my mom hesitated. “Number six. Um. ...Rogue?”

“Really! Who wrote that,” I said, sitting up in bed.

A long pause. “Benj …Edwards,” my mom said.

I snapped my fingers. “Of course!”

The first roguelike I ever played was NetHack. It’s pretty roguelike. I always preferred its ASCII graphics. I’ve never ‘ascended’ in the game—actually, I’m awful at it—but it’s still my favorite.


If you aren’t familiar with Rogue, the original dungeon crawl, I strongly recommend catching up on John Harris’s @Play column which, for the last two and a half years, has discussed Rogue and subsequent roguelikes.

“Roguelike” really is what you call a dungeon hack-and-slash, by the way. Like, that’s the actual word. When I reviewed Tao’s Adventure for EGM, then- reviews editor Greg Ford sent an email asking what a “roguelike” was. Like me, Jeremy Parish had also called Tao’s Adventure a “roguelike” in his own review, and Greg, baffled, had edited the word out because it “sounded obscure.” But here was that word again! And because both reviewers had seized upon the word “roguelike” to describe Tao’s Adventure, I was thusly allowed to keep the sentence “Tao’s Adventure is a roguelike dungeon crawl (google it),” but only if the sentence were further modified, ostensibly for clarity’s sake.

My point is, roguelike is a word. If a game is anything like Rogue, “roguelike” is the word you want.

I don’t know how I got this far down the page without telling you why I’m mentioning Rogue at all: Rogue Touch is now available for iPhone.

It has outrageously updated graphics:

Cult of Mac is quick to point out that Gandreas Software’s version of Rogue is “much more ‘Roguelike’.”

5 responses to “Rogue, roguelikes, and Rogue for your iPhone” »

  1. Jon Conley says:

    Rogue: Touch is a paid app. There is also a free version that is simply called Rogue. This free app, when in landscape mode, displays the ASCII graphics. Otherwise, holding the iPhone upright displays the updated graphics.

    Also, I’d like the mention that the stories involving your mother are adorable. More of these.

    Also, also, I’ve never played Rogue (I know!), and the term ‘roguelike’ always made me uncomfortable because of that fact.

  2. Jon Conley says:

    Yes. I was confused and frightened (I told you!).

    What makes Rogue so appealing? Is it simply because it was the first of its kind?

  3. Benj Edwards says:

    I know I’m a tad late with this, but I’m glad your mom read my article. 🙂 Sometimes I don’t realize how many people actually read the things I write.

  4. Marion Delgado says:

    Moria came along shortly after, as did Hack, and both were 1000x better, Jon. Seriously, Rogue is a dreadful game on its merits.

    I think Hack (which finally sort of dead-ended with SLASHEM) was more fun at first because they took the permutations of objects, actions and monsters very seriously, but moria, (which is currently strongest with Tome, a variant of the main Angband line) ended up going farther in playability.

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