I was browsing my game library to figure out what I wanted to play, when I started downloading the most recent version of a roguelike that I've poured about a hundred or so hours into already. This got me thinking: What is it about this game that keeps me coming back to it when I get tired of everything else?
In fact, failure was a routine part of Rogue, and if your character died they were gone for good. I'd argue that Rogue inspired a whole theory of game design for that reason alone. Its brutally unforgiving gameplay forced you to take every step with the utmost caution. You had to ration your special items out as thinly as possible and knowing when to use a potion or a wand was a show of skill. Failure to do anything else was enough to send you right to the start with nothing but your hard won knowledge and bruised ego to show for it.
From a modern perspective the most striking feature of Rogue was its interface. It was built entire from ASCII symbols on a grid.
|Rogue is the first game to feature the smiley face as a main character.|