[[quoteright:291:[[VideoGame/AncientDomainsOfMystery http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/adom_6451.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:291:Typical [[ASCIIArt graphics]] and [[NintendoHard gameplay]] of roguelikes.]]

->The [[RandomNumberGod RNG]] giveth, and the RNG taketh away...
-->-''Common saying in roguelike circles''

Roguelikes are a subgenre of {{Role Playing Game}}s, so named for being like ''VideoGame/{{Rogue}}'', a [[OlderThanTheNES very early]] computer game.

''Rogue'' was a dungeon simulator originally played on text terminals in the early 1980s, which used ASCII characters to represent a tile-based game world. For example, your character is an '''@''', walls are represented by lines of '''|''' and '''—''', '''!''' is a potion, and the various letters of the alphabet represent different monsters ('''H''' is a hobgoblin, while '''D''' is a dragon). You're effectively looking at a top-down view of a dungeon made of text characters.

Every game, the dungeon would be arranged differently, with different items to find, and the various monsters would appear in different places. All of this meant that the game was never the same twice, making it incredibly replayable. The game was turn-based, with everything in the world moving on each turn, which meant that no quick decisions were required - you could play it like chess, thinking carefully about your options when you needed to.

Adding to the addictive nature of the game was the thrill of [[FinalDeath permadeath]] - the fact that the death of your character would end the game, forcing you to start again from the beginning no matter how far into the dungeon you got.

This combination of random generation, turn-based combat, and permadeath is the defining characteristic of ''Rogue''. Players relished the risky, rewarding challenge offered by the game, and it wasn't long before copycat games began to follow, giving birth to the roguelike genre.

One factor that likely contributed to the rise of roguelikes was the fact that they have no graphical requirements. Any coder can create one without having to worry about graphical or audio resources - the only requirement of a roguelike is the ability to manipulate a grid of text characters, which any computer system can do trivially.

Because of the lack of reliance on graphics, roguelikes tend to focus far more on game mechanics instead, with the result that they are often extremely intricate, and allow for complex strategies and interactions.

Today, a truly enormous family of roguelikes exists. Many are written as labours of love, or as experiments to try out new and interesting game mechanics. (The 'experimental roguelike' is practically a genre in itself.)

The most traditional roguelikes have the following characteristics:

* Roguelikes are centered around DungeonCrawling through [[RandomlyGeneratedLevels randomly-generated environments]] [[RandomlyDrops randomly stocked]] from a huge list of monsters and items. This was arguably the main attraction of ''Rogue'' - that it could offer you a different adventure every time you played. Some (such as ''[[VideoGame/AncientDomainsOfMystery ADOM]]'') also have a static overworld and/or special levels, but even those games rely on random content in other places. This means that memorization is not enough to win a roguelike, and {{walkthrough}}s as such cannot be made for them, but they have high replay value. On the downside, it is possible to get very unlucky in a roguelike and lose through no fault of your own.
* Roguelikes take FinalDeath to the extreme. When your character dies, that's it - he's [[DeaderThanDead dead for good]]. Saving the game is often possible, [[SuspendSave but it is only used for having a pause from playing]], and when your character dies, the save file is deleted. SaveScumming is thus flatly disallowed (even if it may be possible through outside means). The result of this is that roguelike players are very invested in their characters, and are ''forced'' to learn the essential skills for survival.
* Roguelikes have only a single controllable character, with a turn-based engine in which everything moves at the same time. Some allow you to have allies or pets, but they can't be directly controlled, only given general orders.
* Roguelikes generally feature an enormous menagerie of monsters and enemies, which will have various abilities, resistances, weaknesses, and defenses.
* Roguelikes generally have a 'food clock' - characters will hunger over time and have to eat, which means they cannot stay in one place forever - they have to push on to get food at the very least. This forces them to confront the increasingly difficult parts of the game. This is usually a measure to attempt to [[AntiGrinding prevent the player from level grinding]]. The original Rogue, for example, [[WizardNeedsFoodBadly required you to eat food every so often or starve to death]], and it was nearly impossible to find more food on a dungeon level once you'd cleaned it out -- but going down to the next dungeon level meant fighting tougher monsters.
* Most roguelikes have randomized appearances for items that do not persist from one game to the next. In one game, for example, 'a green potion' might be a potion of healing, but in the next game, it might be a potion of hallucination. Items must be identified either by [[TrialAndErrorGameplay blindly using them and see what happens]] (beware of {{Poison Mushroom}}s), by careful observation (for example, seeing a monster drink a potion and noting what happens), or by using something which grants identification (traditionally, a magic scroll or an identify spell). It's typical, after dying, to be revealed that you had an item which could've saved you, but was unidentified at the time. They might also up the ante by using RandomlyGeneratedLoot.
* Roguelikes, especially the well-known or popular ones, have often been under continual development for many years (sometimes a few decades), making them extraordinarily large and complex. Many have to use both capital and lowercase letters to have enough inputs for their commands, and some go even further. Interactions between gameplay elements are also often very intricate; TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything is named for a catchphrase among the ''VideoGame/{{NetHack}}'' community.
* As a result of the above points, roguelikes are mostly '''[[NintendoHard very hard]]'''. Death is expected to be fairly frequent, enough so that the community has developed the acronym "YASD," for YetAnotherStupidDeath. It is easily possible to play many roguelikes for years without even coming close to victory.
* Most roguelikes have little more than an ExcusePlot.

Roguelikes can be roughly classified into a few different {{Subgenre}}s that occasionally overlap:
* Hacklikes, influenced mostly by ''VideoGame/NetHack''. They mostly focus on DungeonCrawling, and have mostly finite resources to force the player to manage them well.
* Bands, influenced by ''VideoGame/{{Angband}}''. Bands usually feature a non-permanent dungeon, infinite resources and very tough bosses, so the games are focused on [[TookALevelInBadass taking levels in badass]] until the player is ready to punch dragons to death.
* Coffeebreak roguelikes - simple roguelikes with few controls that are easy to pick up and play. Sometimes these are deliberately short, rather than the sprawling affairs that traditional roguelikes tend to be. These are also known as Roguelites.
* Open-sandbox type hybrids of the genera popularized by ''VideoGame/DwarfFortress'', though not all Dwarflikes are necessarily roguelikes.

Though they have a very steep learning curve, many roguelikes are incredible time sinks, which is only exacerbated by the fact that most of them are entirely free.

In the west, roguelikes are mostly a niche thing, but their influence can be seen in some of the most popular games of today, especially with the rise in popularity of open sandbox style games. ''{{Minecraft}}'' developer Notch has admitted to being a huge roguelike fan, which is the reason that ''Minecraft'' has a Hardcore difficulty mode (to reproduce the roguelike ideal of permadeath).

In recent years, a quasi-genre jokingly referred to as the 'roguelike-like' has arisen, describing a game that, although not a roguelike, makes use of roguelike gameplay traits (usually random procedural generation and permadeath). Space adventure game ''VideoGame/{{FTL}}'', and platform game ''VideoGame/{{Spelunky}}'' often receive the 'roguelike-like' label.

There are a few roguelikes that have managed to creep into the Western mainstream; the best known is probably ''VideoGame/{{Diablo}}'', which was inspired by ''NetHack'', and more recently, ''VideoGame/DungeonsOfDredmor''. The genre is much less niche in Japan, and there are quite a few Eastern roguelikes; the most well-known in the West is probably ''PokemonMysteryDungeon''.

See also MultiUserDungeon for a related genre of [=RPG=] with its roots in TextAdventure games.

!!Notable games in this genre:
* ''[[http://people.umass.edu/jvight/3059/ 3059]]'', ''[[http://sites.google.com/site/free3069/Story 3069]]'', ''[[https://sites.google.com/site/3079game/ 3079]]'' and ''[[https://3089game.wordpress.com/ 3089]]'' sit in a grey area between action RPG & roguelike while continuing the theme of random quests, enemies, items (that can be customized with random parts), terrain & more.
* ''VideoGame/ADarkRoom''
* ''VideoGame/AlphaMan''
* ''VideoGame/AncientDomainsOfMystery''
* ''VideoGame/{{Angband}}''
* ''VideoGame/AzureDreams''
* ''VideoGame/{{Baroque}}'' (Sega Saturn, [=PSX=], [=PS2=] and Wii)
* ''VideoGame/TheBindingOfIsaac'' combines roguelike elements with Zelda-esque dungeons and gallons of Nightmare Fuel.
* ''VideoGame/BionicDues'' throws in customisation of a squad of four [[HumongousMecha Humongous Mechas]], while adding smaller bite-sized dungeons to be completed as a final battle approaches over time.
* ''VideoGame/BitDungeon''
* ''VideoGame/{{Brogue}}''
* ''VideoGame/CastleOfTheWinds''
* ''VideoGame/{{Cataclysm}}'', zombie apocalypse roguelike.
* ''VideoGame/CavesOfQud''
* ''VideoGame/TheConsumingShadow'', [[HPLovecraft Lovecraftian]] roguelike.
* ''VideoGame/CryptOfTheNecrodancer'' combines roguelike dungeon crawling with a rhythm game.
* ''VideoGame/DarkCloud'' and ''VideoGame/DarkChronicle''
* ''VideoGame/DesktopDungeons'' is part roguelike, part puzzle game.
* ''VideoGame/{{Diablo}}'' and [[VideoGame/DiabloII its]] [[VideoGame/DiabloIII sequels]], which take the Roguelike formula into real time. It's also more lenient-rather than being permanently killed, you're teleported back to town with no equipment when you die, but with your level and everything in your personal chest intact. it also spawns an entity called "your corpse" on the spot where you died that has all your goodies on it. They have arguably become a GenreKiller in that almost all new post-''Diablo'' roguelikes take inspiration from it instead of ''Rogue'' itself. Its own clones include:
** ''VideoGame/{{FATE}}'', a "cover band" version
** ''VideoGame/HellgateLondon'', ''MYTHOS'' and ''VideoGame/{{Torchlight}}'', which are all {{Spiritual Successor}}s made by the remains of Blizzard North.
** ''[[http://diablo.chaosforge.org/ DiabloRL]]'', i.e. Diablo Roguelike, is more of a roguelike than a "Diablolike" due to its turn-based nature.
* ''VideoGame/DigimonWorld2''
* ''VideoGame/DinsCurse''
* ''VideoGame/{{Dnd}}'', the UrExample of Roguelikes. It predates ''Rogue'' by several years, but has many features that would eventually become commonplace in the Roguelike genre.
* ''VideoGame/DontStarve''
* [[Videogame/DoomTheRoguelike Doom, the Roguelike]], is ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin.
** [[http://alien.chaosforge.org/ Aliens, the Roguelike]] is basically the ''Franchise/{{Alien}}'' equivalent of [[Videogame/DoomTheRoguelike Doom, the Roguelike]], except this one has [[AnAdventurerIsYou character classes]] and is (especially if you play in darkness and, with headphones) [[ParanoiaFuel MUCH scarier...]]
** [[http://slashie.net/page.php?6 Castlevania, the Roguelike]], [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viNQLwMWjF0&feature=related with sprites]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=424eE-FQoIE or with ASCII graphics]].
*** The same person also made a [[http://slashie.net/page.php?22 Zelda roguelike]], a [[http://slashie.net/page.php?26 Rockman roguelike]], and a [[http://slashie.net/page.php?24 Metroid roguelike]] (kind of makes you wonder how he represented Samus taking off her suit at the end of each game)
* ''[[http://shrines.rpgclassics.com/sms/dragoncrystal/ Dragon Crystal]]''
* ''VideoGame/DragonQuestMonsters'', especially the Gameboy and Gameboy Advance installments. Joker eschewed it in favor of 3d, although Joker 2 added some light roguelike elements in the bonus dungeons.
* ''Videogame/TheDrop''
* ''VideoGame/DungeonCrawl''
* ''VideoGame/TheDungeonOfDoom'' (aka ''The Dungeon Revealed'')
* ''VideoGame/DungeonsOfDredmor'' not only has sprite graphics, but also animations, sound effects, background music, DifficultyLevels and the option to turn off Permadeath, all of which are very rare for roguelikes.
* The Adventure mode of ''VideoGame/DwarfFortress''.
* Arguably the RM Game ''[[http://www.rpgrevolution.com/game/dungeons_1177.html/ Dungeons]]''
* ''VideoGame/{{Eldritch}}'' is a {{Roguelike}} deprived of RPGElements and with a FirstPersonShooter[=/=]PlatformGame[=/=]StealthBasedGame gameplay.
* ''VideoGame/{{Elona}}'' is this in tandem with also possessing farming sim elements, as well as references to many of the other roguelikes listed on this page.
* ''VideoGame/EvolutionWorlds'', albeit with a turn-based battle system.
* ''VideoGame/FatalLabyrinth''
* ''VideoGame/FTLFasterThanLight'' mixes roguelike with RealTimeWithPause space battles.
* ''VideoGame/GearHead''
* ''VideoGame/TheGuidedFateParadox''
* ''VideoGame/HyperRogue'', which plays out on a non-Euclidean hyperbolic surface, giving navigation and running away some novel dynamics.
* ''VideoGame/{{Incursion}}''
* ''IterVehemensAdNecem''
* ''VideoGame/IzunaLegendOfTheUnemployedNinja''
* The ''VideoGame/JauntTrooper'' series
* ''[[VideoGame/LethalCrisis Lethal Crisis Proto Sphere]]'', a hybrid of a roguelike and an action-platformer.
* ''[[http://larn.rogueforge.net/ Larn]]''
* ''VideoGame/LiberalCrimeSquad'', A PoliticalCartoon roguelike.
* ''VideoGame/LufiaIIRiseOfTheSinistrals''' "Ancient Cave"
* ''Videogame/{{Magicite}}''
* ''[[http://www-math.bgsu.edu/~grabine/moria.html Moria]]''
* ''Monster Gate'' 1 and 2, two GBA games that function very much like the ''Mysterious Dungeon'' games, but only had a Japanese release.
** The arcade game that these are based on, where you put in real currency to get game money which is used to pay the dungeon fee for each dungeon (and to cast spells). Each dungeon you start at 0 XP, but can usually take up to 10 spells with you. The game also featured a non-interactive multiplayer where you could beat dungeons to take them over, and the ability to customize your own dungeons (set the number of levels, type of enimies, and specials) and challenge other players to try and beat it.
* ''Mysterious Dungeon'' (''Fushigi no Dungeon'') games, all but one of which are licensed spinoffs of other franchises:
** ''VideoGame/ChocobosDungeon''
** ''The Nightmare of Druaga'' ([=PS2=])
** ''VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeon'' is likely the one best known in the West.
** The ''Torneko no Daibouken'' (''Torneko's Great Adventure'') spin-off series from VideoGame/DragonQuest
** ''VideoGame/ShirenTheWanderer'': The exception.
* ''VideoGame/NetHack'', the best-known and most influential of all roguelikes.
** ''VideoGame/SlashEM''
*** ''VideoGame/SlashEmExtended''
* ''VideoGame/NuclearThrone''
* ''VideoGame/NoMansSky'', which mixes Roguelike elements with WideOpenSandbox elements.
* ''Omega''
* ''VideoGame/OneWayHeroics'', which has a [[AutoScrollingLevel mechanic that's normally found in platformers]].
* ''VideoGame/OurDarkerPurpose'', which brings a healthy dose of SurvivalHorror to the mix.
* ''VideoGame/ParanauticalActivity'', which brings the Roguelike formula into that of a fast-paced FirstPersonShooter.
* ''VideoGame/{{Powder}}'', a roguelike developed originally for the GameBoyAdvance (and now ported to other systems)
* ''VideoGame/{{Prospector}}''
* ''PuellaMagiMadokaMagicaPortable'', the [[LicensedGame PSP game for the anime]], is a roguelike/adventure game.
* ''[[VideoGame/RagnarokRoguelike Ragnarok]]''
* ''VideoGame/RecettearAnItemShopsTale'' in Dungeon Mode.
* ''{{RedRogue}}'': A Homage to the TropeNamer involving the now widowed lover of @ guided by his revenant to retrieve the Amulet of Yendor and restore him to life. Unlike the original it is in a side-scrolling platformer format with no jumping. Combat system derives from a rudimentary casting and enchantment system with dual-wielding a main weapon and a throwable weapon.
* ''VideoGame/RiskOfRain'', another hybrid of a roguelike and an action-platformer, this time in space.
* ''VideoGame/{{Rogue}}'', the TropeNamer and TropeMaker.
* ''Rogue Hearts Dungeon,'' a [[{{NoExportForYou}} Japan only]] EnhancedRemake of Rogue for the [=PS2=].
* ''VideoGame/RogueLegacy'', a Metroidvania roguelike hybrid.
* ''RogueSurvivor'', a ZombieApocalypse roguelike.
* ''SakuraTaisen: Kimi Aru ga Tame''
* ''VideoGame/ScarabOfRa''
* ''VideoGame/SecondWind''
* ''VideoGame/{{Sil}}'' , a successor of Angband, returning to the roots lore-wise: Theme is the [[{{Silmarillion}} First Age of Middlearth]]
* ''Slayer'' [[/index]]([[JustForFun/IThoughtItMeant no relation to]] [[Music/{{Slayer}} the band]]), another first-person roguelike for the UsefulNotes/ThreeDOInteractiveMultiplayer which has the ''[[TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons Advanced Dungeons and Dragons]]'' branding.[[index]]
* ''Sorcery Saga: Curse of the Great Curry God''
* ''VideoGame/{{Spelunky}}'', hybrid of a roguelike and a PlatformGame.
* The tabletop ''TabletopGame/TheSPLINTER'', takes the tabletop RPG elements that made Roguelikes Roguelikes and brings them full circle: randomly generated dungeons, a large variety of (very bizzarre) enemies, a focus on (randomly generated) gear for survival, frequent and permanent character death... It feels more like playing a roguelike than playing a tabletop.
* ''VideoGame/SunlessSea''
* ''[[http://www.fargoal.com/ Sword of Fargoal]]''
* ''[[VideoGame/SwordOfTheStars Sword of the Stars: The Pit]],'' a spinoff game.
* ''{{Timestalkers}}'' -- also a Climax Entertainment CrisisCrossover.
* ''VideoGame/TitanQuest'', though it lacks real death punishment or randomly-generated maps.
* ''TalesOfMajEyal'', although it breaks the mold with a world map, quests, and multiple dungeons. Many of its modules follow a similar pattern, including a ([[ObviousBeta slightly buggy]]) ''{{Dragonball}}''-[[SoCoolItsAwesome themed one]].
* The two ''{{Tobal}}'' games and ''{{Ehrgeiz}}'' have quest modes that mix roguelike and fighter.
* ''Tomb of Terror''
* Tower of Doom (on the intellivision) was probably the first console roguelike.
* ''{{VideoGame/Transcendence}}'' (combination of ''VideoGame/NetHack'' and ''StarControl'')
* In many ways, ''ToejamAndEarl'' functions as a (comparatively) very easy roguelike.
* ''VideoGame/UnrealWorld''
* ''Wazhack'', a 2.5D sidescrolling example.
* ''VideoGame/ZAngband'' - a spin-off of ''VideoGame/{{Angband}}''
* ''VideoGame/ZettaiHeroProject'' - By the ''Franchise/{{Disgaea}}'' team. Far more lenient that most in that dying is not only not-permanent, it's encouraged. You still lose your fancy equipment(which becomes more taxing as you go on), but dying provides the same bonuses to base stats and stats per levelup as actually beating a dungeon, in a game where you start each dungeon over at level 1.