Happy GROGSversary! As we celebrate one whole year of doing this program, we combine our forces to attempt our own answer at the unsolvable question of “what is a roguelike?” In possibly our longest episode to date, we dive into the pre-history of rogue-games, the infamous Berlin Interpretation, and just how “rogue-lite” games fit into all this. We talk about jazz subgenres, whether or not Minecraft is a roguelike game, Solitaire (yes that one), hierarchies of game design needs, and who could forget Elf Metal! Of course, no one can be told what a roguelike is, you have to experience them for yourself.

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  • 2:56 - Today’s fight club topic: What is a roguelike game?
  • 4:07 - Our story begins / why do we care?
  • 13:30 - One-sentence summaries of roguelike genre definitions
  • 15:30 - What is the original 1980 Rogue, the first games like Rogue, the Berlin Interpretation
  • 30:00 - What are rogue-lites? 2008’s Spelunky, Binding of Isaac, and Rogue Legacy
  • 49:32 - Are “-lite” games less hardcore? Does metaprogression matter?
  • 56:42 - How roguelike is this game? (Minecraft, Diablo, X-Com, Into the Breach, Deep Rock Galactic, Don’t Starve, Inscryption, Gloomhaven)
  • 1:08:30 - Data-driven roguey-ness and Steam tags
  • 1:16:28 - Can board games be roguelikes?
  • 1:20:55 - Do music genres suffer the same problem that the rogue-community has?
  • 1:27:00 - Summary and final thoughts

As promised, below you can find some of our notes referenced in this chonker of a recording:

Check out Scott’s tangentially related talk on The Data Science of Roguelikes here!

See how the genre has evolved over time with our definitions timeline here.

Next episode: Rimworld

Contact us at grogpodzone@gmail.com!


Intro music: Bill Evans - Nardis

Outro music: Tarn Adams - Dwarf Fortress mode theme