Thursday, March 15, 2007

Enough Already

It's been a while since a good old fashioned rant graced the front page of Avert Your Eyes. In fact, it's been far too long. I'm prepared to receive a little heat for this, but it's something that has to be said: I, and many other people, are absolutely fucking sick of roguelikes.

If you don't happen to know what a roguelike is, you could either take a quick look around Wikipedia, or look no further than the venerable Nethack. Now, there is a reason that type of game has become so popular - they can be fun. It really is remarkable how much fun you can have with Nethack given that its entire interface is ASCII (leaving out Falcon's Eye and other frontends).

Yeah, Nethack was fun, but the hundreds of clones and other roguelikes? Not so much. I'm not the type of person who thinks games need great or even good graphics to be worth my time. I am, however, the type of person who gets sick of playing the same game over and over. You say your game is like Nethack but it takes place in a slightly different setting? How the fuck am I supposed to know? Regardless of what some people might say, story has never been any of these games' strong points.

There have been times in the past few months where I have counted no less than four games on the Linux Game Tome's front page that had the word "Rogue" in their name. Four. Out of ten. That is, by far, more than we need. A roguelike's strongest point is how long it can be played for. We don't need twenty new ones coming out every month. They might be somewhat easier to produce, but so are ASCII tic-tac-toe games. It doesn't mean we need to be overwhelmed with them.

In the end, it's up to the developer. They're not writing their games for me, they're writing their games for themselves, and that's how it should be. I just don't see the fun in cranking out clones in a genre that is so specific it's named for its likeness to one single game.

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