"Roguelike" is a word used to describe an entire genre of computer games decsended from or inspired by the game Rogue. In general, roguelike games have several characteristics in common although it is not necessary for all of them to be present for a game to be considered roguelike. In general, a traditional roguelike game:
- Is a role playing, dungeon exploration game
- Is usually a single player game
- Uses a top down view rather than the first person perspective of games like Doom
- Is turn based (meaning that the player gets a turn to move and then the monsters will move, after which the game will wait for the player to move again)
- Represents the dungeon and its contents using ASCII characters and the player with the '@' symbol
- Only allows each character a single life with no means to restore it upon death
- Generates characters and dungeon layout and places objects and monsters randomly ensuring maximum replayability
More recently, traditional roguelike games have introduced limited graphical capability by using image tiles in the place of, or as an alternative to, ASCII characters. Several new games offer almost commercial level graphics and, in some cases, first person view. Interestingly enough the designers of Diablo have freely admitted that much of there inspiration for that game came from Roguelike games.
If you are interested in learning more about Roguelike games, you may find the folowing sites helpful:
Roguelike News - Roguelike news is maintained by Darren Hebden and contains the latest news on the Roguelike world, links to numerous game home pages, development articles and much more.
Balrog - Balrog is maintained by Erik I. Bolso and contains a roguelike information and a timeline charting the development of the approximately 170 roguelike games.
Thangorodrim - The official Angband homepage. Contains vast amounts of information on Angband and its variants.