By Ian Moorhead for Indie Game: The Podcast
Happy 4th of July, everybody! I hope everybody had a fun and safe weekend! Now, as the smoke clears and the sulfur smell fades from around our houses, we can get back to the finer things in life, like playing ridiculously difficult games that make us want to make our computers explode next!
In 1980, three video game developers; Micheal Toy, Glen Wichman, and Ken Arnold unleashed upon the world a game that would define an entire genre of gaming for most likely the rest of time. The game, called Rogue, was simple. Players explored randomly created dungeons filled with monsters and would try to fight their way to the bottom level to grab an amulet, then get out again. As the player progressed, the monsters would become more numerous and tougher to defeat. Furthermore, there was no save feature, so death was permanent and would mean restarting the game (with a brand new randomly generated dungeon). Not surprisingly, this game became popular among the growing community of gamers and has nowadays spawned a whole subculture of games to torture and delight gamers alike. These games, known as roguelikes, follow the same basic principle; vast, randomly generated dungeons where enemies get progressively harder the deeper the player ventures. I personally tried to avoid these games because, you know, I like feeling good about myself. However, due to the recent summer sale on Steam, mixed with pressure from certain roommate (~cough cough~ Michael!~) I ended up getting two of them. One of them, called Risk of Rain, I've not personally played yet, partially because I'm a little nervous about becoming addicted to it, and partially because I'm already addicted to the other one I got, Rogue Legacy. I'm going to avoid doing a full review right now, but suffice it to say that it was well worth the money I spent on it, and I recommend getting it.
If you're not very skilled in gaming (kind of like me) don't worry. Many, if not most roguelikes have a way to level yourself up to make at least the first few minutes of each round easier. For example, in Legacy, Your character collects gold coins which, after your character's death, can be used to buy stat upgrades or new equipment by the next character (your original character's child ).
At first I thought I would not like these games, but I've discovered that they can be a lot of fun ( a lot more so than the chest-high wall extravaganzas that are today's firs-person shooters!) So for a fun experience outside of the normal dungeon crawling of the Elder Scrolls series, (nothing against Elder Scrolls, by the way. I'm a huge fan of Bethesda's games.) go get a roguelike today! They're usually cheap, being made by indie developers and they can be a blast!