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Rogue is a visual CRT based fantasy game which runs under the UNIX+ timesharing system. Your goal is to grab as much treasure as you can, find the Amulet of Yendor, and get out of the Dungeons of Doom alive.
A Guide to the Dungeons of Doom

Rogue is a 1980 video game and one of the first roguelikes[1], the one for which all others are named. A top-down, dungeon crawling Dungeons-and-Dragons-like game, it used ASCII-based graphics to depict the dungeon, player and everything in the dungeon.

One of the unique features of Rogue was that each new game had a completely new, randomly generated map. Most games of the time, such as Colossal Cave were completely pre-scripted, or had limited randomness. This feature became one of the defining elements of the roguelike genre.

Rogue was originally written as a test of the curses screen handling library, which became one of the most widely used Unix application libraries. Epyx (the popular game publisher in the 80s) sold a commercial version using tile-based graphics for older Macs.

A Java-based online version of the game can be found here and is free to play.

Tropes (of most this game is either the Trope Maker or Trope Codifier):

  • Anti-Grinding: The game forces you to explore lower and more dangerous levels by using hunger as a time limit. Once a level has been cleared, no more food can be found unless you descend.
  • ASCII Art: When you die, you get an ASCII tombstone with your reason of death on it.
  • Came Back Wrong: Some implementations allow you to resurrect as undead; among other things, it allows you to survive by drinking the blood of your kills, but real food is reduced in value and fruit is a downright waste of time ("you gnaw at the vile rambutan"). The various implementations generally seem to treat this as a cheat, although it doesn't necessarily make the game any easier.
  • Copy Protection: Copying the game made the monsters do six times more damage than normal, and a special tombstone message was shown upon death: "Rest in Peace: Software Pirate. Killed by: Copy Protection Mafia."
  • Excuse Plot: You have to go retrieve the Amulet of Yendor. That's it.
  • Nintendo Hard: Even some of the makers of the game have never completed it!
  • Oh Crap: Occasionally a "monster party" room will pop up, in which you are vastly outnumbered by more monsters than you thought could fit in the space. Normally you can make a good attempt at beating them by backing into the hallway and hacking and slashing your way through, but once in a while you get a monster party room on a level with one. Giant. Cavern. Good luck with that...
  • Perma Death
  • Randomly Generated Levels
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Yendor is backwards for Rodney. If you leave your name blank when prompted for it at the beginning of the game, you automatically get named Rodney.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: At extreme hunger levels your character first starts fainting and eventually dies.
  1. According to the other wiki, Beneath Apple Manor and DUNGEON are two roguelikes that both predated Rogue by two years