Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Play Rogue Online Now!

The original UNIX Rogue is now available for play online, free. Rogue is the game that started the cascade of number-driven ASCII worlds over the past 30 years. Michael Toy and Glenn Wichman programmed the game in C, using the then-new curses.h library. They were university students at the time, and Rogue was distributed across university and public networks over the next 30 years as free, open-source software. The creators retain copyright despite open-sourcing their creation.

A new website has appeared:, the Roguelike Gallery. Currently the site hosts 2 versions of Rogue, with plans to expand. The website hosts the scores of all the players, including online leaderboards and game replays. You can watch others in real-time as they explore the Dungeons of Doom.

Simply SSH to You probably need to use a terminal emulator, and I recommend PuTTY, a free Telnet/SSH client. The username is "rodney" and the password is "yendor".

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, Telnet and SHH are text-based internet protocols. They are Pre-Web technology, but are still very fun and easy to use.

I encourage all readers to give Rogue a try and set some high scores on!


Anonymous said...

what is the difference between rogue and nethack?

8bitcity said...

Rogue was the original ascii dungeon crawler. From 1982-1984 different people worked on a game inspired by Rogue called "Hack." Later, the DevTeam expanded upon and ported the game to Telnet, thus NetHack (online hack and slash).

Rogue has 26 monsters whereas Nethack has hundreds. Rogue has a dozen or so weapons, Nethack has dozens. Nethack is about 10x the scope of Rogue.

However, both games involve going down into a dungeon and retrieving the Amulet of Yendor.

NetHack has color, and far more advanced settings. There are quests for each class in NetHack, and you can play as Knights, Monks, Samurai, Rogues, Wizards, Cavemen, Tourists, Archeologists, Barbarians, Rangers, Valkyries, Healers, and Priests.

Both games involve luck, but NetHack relies much more on player skill than Rogue. Winning Rogue involves the dungeon spawning the items you need, which is also true of NetHack. But NetHack usually gives the player enough to work with (at least 1/4 games in NetHack feels "lucky", in Rogue, it feels more like 1/15 games.)

Still, both games are very fun. Both games are free to play online, and Nethack has a great online community. Rogue, not so much, but it's gaining some popularity!

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