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Video Game / Prospector

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Prospector is a science-fiction roguelike that answers the question "What if Starflight had been a roguelike?"

You are the captain of a mercenary crew hired by one of mankind's megacorporations to map out and loot an unexplored region of the galaxy. In roguelike fashion, each galaxy and planet is randomly generated each game. Also in roguelike fashion, you can count on encountering a motherlode of lethal obstacles, including hostile planets, hostile life, astronavigation hazards, space pirates, precursor deathtraps, and many other threats that will stand between you and a comfortable retirement. But if you can keep yourself and your crew alive, you may just collect enough minerals, map data, biodata, ship upgrades, cybernetic implants, and ancient artifacts to make it.


The game remains in active development, and can be downloaded here.

Not to be confused with the grizzled Prospector trope.


  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: The game would take WAY too long if planets were mapped out to scale.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts:
    • Averted, as it's possible to make money hauling cargo as a merchant.
    • Played straight for Harvey Mudd's line of stores; you can find them on some planets and small stations offering a wider range of goods than those found on capital stations, but they sell at 200% and buy at 10% base price. You can also order custom gear at any capital station for 200% base price.
  • Armor Is Useless: Fully averted. Armor makes a big difference in crew survival, and more recent versions of the game require it to survive on hostile-atmosphere planets.
  • Artistic License – Chemistry: The temperature on certain planets goes below -273 C, which is physically impossible.
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  • A-Team Firing: A typical crew will suffer from this, until you have a gunner of sufficiently high level.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Your captain has more HP than any other crew member, and is almost invariably the last to be killed when an away team expedition is wiped out.
  • Booby Trap: A common feature of gas giant refueling platforms and special world dungeons.
  • Boring, but Practical: Spreading a few low-level melee weapons among your crew can make a big difference, especially early in the game before you can get your hands on enough guns for everyone.
  • Bottomless Magazines: In full effect for personal weapons, as no matter what they are, your crew's guns run out of ammo. On the other hand, certain ship weapons need to be reloaded periodically.
  • Character Customization: Both your ship and your crew can be upgraded or cybernetically modified however you choose (and can afford).
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  • Continuing Is Painful: Averted when your captain limps back to the station as the final survivor of the expedition. Your crew members are paid when you return to a space station, so getting them killed off gets you out of that.
  • Convection Schmonvection: You can stand next to lava and not fry yourself from the enormous heat. You are still unprotected of a quake opening a lava pit directly under you, or your ship, however.
  • Death World: Many of the unique planets easily qualify as this.
  • Deflector Shields: Standard issue equipment for starships.
  • Difficulty Spike: A player who is used to looting barren rockball worlds will probably get a nasty surprise the first time he explores a special world.
  • Dungeon Crawling: Random caves and certain unique worlds offer this, but the main gameplay focuses on looting the surfaces of planets.
  • Earthquakes Cause Fissures: Filled with lava.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: ANY planet with mobile life can end up like this if things go wrong.
  • Gravity Sucks: Your pilot can damage the ship when landing it on a planet, which not only needs to be repaired (at your expense), but it can cut an expedition short if it happens too often.
  • Have a Nice Death: If your captain (and the rest of your crew) get wiped out, you get a brief description of your failure before seeing your post-mortem screen.
  • Human Resources: No matter how many of your officers and redshirts you get killed, you can always hire more at the nearest space station. (Provided you make it back, of course.)
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Disintegrators are the most powerful weapons in the game, can't be purchased, and come in both gun and starship weapon form.
  • Lost Technology: Precursor artifacts, which you can either keep or sell to a megacorp.
  • The Many Deaths of You: As usual for a roguelike, and made all the worse in Prospector as it's usually proceeded by the Many Deaths Of Your Crew, too.
  • Mega-Corp: There are several to choose from. And if you don't like them, there are ways to dig up their dirty secrets and blackmail them into leaving the sector.
  • Negative Space Wedgie: Gas clouds and anomalies, both of which pose a serious threat to your ship.
  • No Casualties Run: You get a special note on your post-mortem dump if you manage to play a full game without killing too many of your crew.
  • Pacifist Run: It's possible to retire without killing any creatures, and fleeing from any ship battles. Given your starting equipment, it's even a good idea to play like this at first.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Most planets in the galaxy will let you take as long as you like when you loot them. But... one of the special planets is in an unstable orbit, and you have only a short time to collect its considerable wealth before it - and you - are annihilated.
  • Redshirt Army: Your security crew members are actually called redshirts, and the larger starships have room for you to hire dozens of them.
  • Permadeath: Both for you and your crew members.
  • Shout-Out: The random name generator allows to specify plaintext files from which to draw names from. The sample file comes with several Babylon5 iconic names.
  • Single-Biome Planet: Most planets tend to have only one climate and terrain type.
  • Space Pirate: They're out there, and you can try your hand at being a pirate yourself.
  • Vendor Trash: The minerals and biodata you gather on planets. They have absolutely no use but turning in to the megacorps for a reward.
  • Videogame Caring Potential: You can raise your crew members' salaries above their asking price, and certain special planets have aliens that need your help to fend off a threat.
  • Videogame Cruelty Potential: Not all the alien creatures you meet are violently hostile, but you're free to mow them down for biodata, loot, or just for laughs as you see fit. And if you go to the black market, you can also get cybernetic loyalty chips for your crew members to keep them from ever retiring no matter how terrible a captain you are.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: Until you can afford a mining drill, you can still scavenge resources from ice and rubble by blasting them off with your hand weapons, or your ship's main weapon.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: Unlike most roguelikes, your crew don't need to eat. On the other hand, your ship needs fuel and possibly ammo.

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