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Jul 16

Good Old-Fashioned Gaming

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For years I’ve had a passion for old games, they often have much better stories and more ingenious gameplay. The problem, however, is a lot of the ones that look good are no longer supported or maintained.
So, instead I’ve been looking at what appears to be the next best thing… Roguelike games.

What on earth is a “roguelike” game you ask?

The roguelike is a sub-genre of role-playing video games, characterized by randomization for replayability, permanent death, and turn-based movement. Most roguelikes feature ASCII graphics, with newer ones increasingly offering tile-based graphics. Games are typically dungeon crawls, with many monsters, items, and environmental features. Computer roguelikes usually employ the majority of the keyboard to facilitate interaction with items and the environment. The name of the genre comes from the 1980 game Rogue.

(Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roguelike)

The easiest way to understand what a Roguelike is, is to just download and play one. Look here

There are two games I’m going to mention here; Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup and Dwarf Fortress.

So, without babbling on..

Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup
Stone Soup is a branch from the original Linley’s Dungeon Crawl, in which a team gathered to continue the development they felt had “hibernated”.
The game itself is perhaps the least complicated of the major roguelikes, not to say it’s simple, but is also one of the most popular and updated.
It is..

single-player, role-playing roguelike game of exploration and treasure-hunting in dungeons filled with dangerous and unfriendly monsters in a quest to rescue the mystifyingly fabulous Orb of Zot

(Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup Website – http://crawl.develz.org/wordpress/)

As mentioned in the quote, the aim of the game is to delve deeper and deeper in dungeons to retrieve the Orb of Zot and return to the outside world. Sounds pretty simple right? Wrong. At first I found this game rather boring, as if nothing happened. After playing it for an hour I found myself addicted, and have been playing for weeks since, still never getting even close to half way through progressing the dungeons and never even heard a mention of the Orb. The freedom and detail of the game is probably what I like about it most, and maybe the kick of sarcasm in there too! Not only can you eat the rat you just defeated to stop yourself starving, but if you’re a Vampire you can drain the blood of a Goblin for the same reason. You can choose to be a spellcaster and use magic to defeat the creatures and monsters in the dungeons, or you can choose never to touch magic and use sheer strength and braun to get further. Not only do you have freedom of what you do in the dungeon, but you can also choose the deity you worship, if any, and thereby what rewards you will receive if you keep them happy.


If you do give it a try, I would suggest the Tiles version (as seen above) which is clearly named on their website, as it’s much easier to start with. If you really want to be hardcore then go for the ASCII version, but be warned it will be much more difficult to learn.

and on to the next one…

Dwarf Fortress
This may not technically be a roguelike game, but it is considered such by the community and players because it is very close to being so.

Dwarf Fortress, is a freeware computer game by Bay 12 Games for Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X set in a high fantasy universe that combines aspects of roguelike and city-building games and is primarily known for its unique level of complexity and difficulty. The title of the game is inspired by its primary focus on the construction, management, and exploration of dwarven fortresses within the game world.

(Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwarf_Fortress)
The gameplay of Dwarf Fortress is a completely different type to that of Stone Soup. Rather than playing as a brave adventurer, you take up the role of controlling a community of dwarves, building them a fortress, and keeping them alive. The concept is rather like that of The Sims, but graphics, gameplay, setting and detail make this a game completely in its own league.
This game is very, very, very, difficult to learn at first. I followed the “Quick Start guide” on the wiki, which took me over 2 hours, and have played on-and-off for about a week yet still I feel I know barely anything of what the game truly has to offer. Even so, though, I still find that I enjoy the game very much, and once you’re past the initial mountain, things come much more quickly.


As with Stone Soup, I recommend a graphical version of this game. For Dwarf Fortress there are several, I prefer the Phoebus pack myself (the one you can see in the image above).

I 100% recommend trying both of these games, even if just for half an hour.

Links
Dwarf Fortress
Dwarf Fortress Wiki
Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup
Dungeon Crawl Wiki

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  1. Stone Soup on Fedora » Robot Goblin

    [...] by Joe I’ve already written about Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup here: http://www.robotgoblin.co.uk/blog/2011/07/16/good-old-fashioned-gaming/. [...]

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