Roguelike World Part 1

Ancestors of roguelike. From where it all got started?

We need to go back, all the way at year 1972 to find the first game what is commonly considered given influence for roguelike games. But still, we start from year 1974. pedit5, written by Rusty Rutherford was the first Dungeon crawling computer game. On that game, player wandered in Dungeon looking for a treasure and fighting against monsters. Character, controlled by player was able to use several different spells to kill the monster. pedit5 had also chance to save game, and continue with it later.

This game was a huge but short timed succes, since the academic institutions of that time often regarded games as waste of computing time. System operators of mainframe computers usually terminated game, logged player off and deleted game files too. In worst case, it did mean a loss of work of weeks.

History books says, that second Dungeon crawling game was m199h. It was similarly deleted as soon as the program was discovered by the system operators. m199h was created in a lesson reserved for foreign language instruction.

Third Dungeon crawling game, might ring a bell for some of readers. dnd was a computer role playing game written by Gary Whisenhunt and Ray Wood at 1974 and 1975. Name dnd comes from (D&D), a tabletop rpg Dungeons & Dragons, published first time in 1974. dnd lived longer than these two pioneers of Dungeon crawling genre. Substantial enhancements for dnd were made all the way from 1976 to 1985.

If pedit5 was pioneer of Dungeon crawling, dnd was revolutional. dnd just like pedit5, offered something, never seen before. Characteristics such as wisdom, strength and intelligence. Character could advance on higher levels, while monsters on later levels of cave became stronger. Character could also cast magical and clerical spells.

Player needed to learn, how different spells affect's on different monsters. It was also possible to have more and new spells from treasure chest's that they could find from a cave. dnd had a store where player could buy magic items, sell potions and hardware such as magic swords and rings. And even that, wasn't all, dnd offered.

Until dnd, player was practically "trapped" on cave until character either died, or reached goal of game. Now it was changed. In dnd player had an possibility to get out of cave to recuperate and regain spells and return there. This naturally, increased number of playing hours gradually. Game sessions of even thousands of hours were possible.

Dungeon an unlicensed implementation of the role playing game Dungeons and Dragons was written in 1975 or 1976 by Don Daglow. On this game, experience points and skill level grew, as in D&D.

In 1976, worker of Stanford University's Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab, Don Woods did find a copy of game. Game was originally programmed at 1972 by William Crowther, who wanted to create a game he could play with his young daughters he did miss after divorce. Don Woods contacted to Crowther and asked permission to expand his code. Crowther give his blessings, and Woods greatly expanded the program. This game was 'Colossal Cave Adventure', also known as ADVENT, because computers of that time could handle only six letters long file names.

What makes this game as so important and valuable for this genre? It was first text interactive fiction game and mentioned often when talked of games that had influence for first roguelike game, rogue.

ADVENT is known as first computer adventure game.

But did i just pass a game that is generally adopt as roguelike?

Yes, no and maybe. Even though, dnd and Dungeon are mentioned often in list's of roguelike games, they are "only" ancestors of this genre. Common factor for games i have mentioned is, they all do have some important elements of roguelike. But also they have a common factor of what essential element they are missing, to belong for genre of roguelike games. Elements, such as dungeon crawling, monster killing or even possibility to advance characteristics wont fill the full criterion of roguelike genre.

On next part, ill continue from year 1980, when Michael Toy and Glenn Wichman did write a game, which started it all.

E.K.Virtanen

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