aka: AGB_Rogue, ClassicRogue, Rogue: Exploring the Dungeons of Doom, Rogue: The Adventure Game
Moby ID: 1743
Mainframe Specs
Buy on Windows
$2.99 new on Steam

Description official descriptions

Rogue is a turn-based dungeon crawler in which the player controls an adventurer who must explore the dangerous Dungeon of Doom in order to retrieve the precious Amulet of Yendor and make it out alive. The player character starts on the upper-most level and slowly makes his way downwards.

The game uses ASCII characters to represent locations, items, monsters, and the protagonist himself. There are twenty-six different types of monsters, symbolized by their initial letters (e.g. L for Leprechaun). Monsters have different abilities and modes of attack. The dungeon and the items in it are randomly generated each time the player begins a new game. Each dungeon level contains a grid of three by three rooms and dead ends.

Levels get progressively more complex and maze-like, and monsters grow in strength the deeper the hero ventures into the dungeon. The player character can acquire better weapons and armor, gain experience points and level up. Should the protagonist perish in the dungeon, the player must restart the game anew.


  • ローグ - Japanese spelling

Groups +



Credits (DOS version)

19 People (5 developers, 14 thanks)

Original Concept
Adapted for the IBM PC by
Significant design contributions by
A Guide to Dungeons of Doom by
Special Thanks
Public domain version of Rogue written by



Average score: 53% (based on 9 ratings)


Average score: 3.3 out of 5 (based on 72 ratings with 7 reviews)

And to think I played this game in 2003...

The Good
Well, as I played this game 2 decades after this game was released, it seems that I can objectively review this game without my usual subjective opinion...hahaha.

Anyway, this is one very cute game. Simple if not prehistoric in the graphics department which is very nice considering. To my surprise, the game is still playable, this is one of those 'rare games' that don't seem to be affected to much by the course of technology. Unless you're on of those 'graphic oriented' people (sigh).

A very simple concept. Your stuck in a dungeon - Fight your way out. During your journeys you will be assisted by random items and pursued by random monsters. The more monsters you whack, the higher your experience and level, the better prepared you are for lower levels filled with more powerful monsters.

The graphics in this game is very similar to games like Star Fleet, of which I don't know if there is a specific terminology used to describe graphics based on letters and numbers. But the developers portrayed the game very well to get that 'dungeon' kind of feel.

The game is completely playable. Each time you play, its a new game. Like a game of chess or cards. Every time its a new game. The random setting of this game is both refreshing (not likely to get bored) and irritating (if you end up with a lousy map and lousy random items).

A strange thing in this game, is that mostly everything is random. From the map to the items. Only the monsters don't seem be random. The items spesifically have random uses. So the first time you come across a Blue Potion for instance, it may be a healing potion. The next time around (a new game) it may be a Sleeping Potion. So not much use in writing item descriptions down.

The Bad
I always like a game that used the keyboard to the maximum length. Meaning that most of the keyboard keys were used. This game introduced a similar concept, however it's quite confusing if you press a key and not sure if it works or not. For example, the search key (S) is used to search for hidden doors, etc. But there is no description if it doesn't work (if there happens to be a secret door). Basically some simple text to tell you what's going on would be nice.

Speaking of some simple text, this game lacks description. Its a fun simple game. But to simple in my opinion. For example, you found this longsword and you find this two-handed sword. Let's say you don't know anything about swords. How do you know which one is better? In this game, you don't. You could (for example) go around using that straw staff, thinking its better than the Magical Platinum Sword with Flame Thrower special attack :p

There are only 2 ways to know what (spesifically) a magic item is for. One, use with a possibility of still not knowing what it does (usually scrolls). Two, use an Identity Scroll. But you don't find many of those either. Basically, you probably wouldn't know what half of the stuff your carrying is for. (Hmmm...carrot...what's a carrot? Nevermind).

I often wonder what code is used for combat. Sometimes I just don't get the fact that after reaching level 7, I can still miss that !@#!@# level 1 Bat 5 times. Irritating really.

The Bottom Line
Overall, this game to my opinion stood the test of time. And more refreshing than playing Solitaire. Hahaha. This game is all about pure luck.

DOS · by Indra was here (20750) · 2004

They say that simplicity is the key to perfection...

The Good
...and they are probably right. The game's graphics and colours are absolutely basic and so is the concept, but somehow it manages to capture the essence of dungeon crawling. Exploring the dark hallways and underground chambers, one step at a time, dreading the next monster that waits around the corner, discovering treasure and valuable items, navigating traps and pitfalls and finally seeing that precious staircase that leads even deeper into darkness...

The Bad
What is there not to like? If one is really a slave to visuals and surround sound, this game hasn't much to offer. The only thing that's probably truly lacking is some kind of story and dialogue, but this is not the focus of the game and it would probably just dilute the experience.

The Bottom Line
This is the very first CRPG I played back in 1989, on my brand-new PC-XT machine which was running at the incredible speed of 8 Mhz. But this was the game that truly introduced me to the concept of RPGs in general and I was instantly taken by it. Even if you can't stand the ancient graphics, force yourself to sit down for a couple of levels and there is a good chance you will have finished half a dozen before you know what happened.

DOS · by Silverblade (1382) · 2004

I Still Play This Today

The Good
I didn't purchase this game until 1988 but I have played it ever since! This game has almost unlimited replay value in that each new game is just that...a new game. Your quest is the same -- find the Amulet of Yendor. But because the dungeon is created randomly, the levels are always new and what you find or creatures you fight are different. The game is very difficult to beat as you are not able to "keep" saved game files (when you load a saved game, it is removed and when you save a game, the game terminates).

Forget about sound and graphics. The graphics are ASCII graphics (in color though) with the monsters represented by letters (R=rattlesnake, O=Orc, T=Troll, etc.). The sounds (what few there are) come through the internal PC speaker and not through a sound card. However, this just adds to the charm of the game which was originally designed for mainframe computers.

The AI on this game is very simple but effective! For example, Orcs will always look for gold to defend before attacking you. Nymphs stay "asleep" unless bothered. So monsters almost have a personality even though they are nothing but letters!

The Bad
The game is almost to hard. By "cheating" (meaning keeping a copy of my save files and playing a saved level over and over until I beat it before proceeding), I was able to beat the game once. But to go through until the end without keeping old save files, I have not been able to win and I've been playing until 1988. While your character (a smiley face) advances in levels as he gets more experience from defeating monsters, the monsters you face become more powerful than you.

This starts at level 4 with the rattlesnake. Not only does the rattlesnake take hitpoints, it also can take away strength. The weaker you are, the weaker your attack. At level 8, the Aquator appears. This monster doesn't take hit points but only attacks armor. So unless you have leather armor, the "A" will make your armor almost worthless. This goes on and on.

Normally one might "hang around" to build up experience points and to go up in levels, right? Well Rogue defeats this strategy by requiring you to eat or die. Since the only way to get food is to find it, you are forced to new dungeon levels in order to find more food (and whether or not food will be found is based on the random generator). So the game forces you deeper and deeper whether you are ready or not!

The Bottom Line
Bottom line, this is the forerunner of games like Diablo. It's jus a simple, ASCII-graphic, RPG-type game which is highly annoying but highly addictive! If you can find the Epyx version online (and it does exist for downloading), it's a great game to play at work because it only opens a tiny window which is easily hidden. And since the game comes with the "boss" key (which displays the "C" prompt) you can mostly play in peace!

DOS · by AstroNerdBoy (35) · 2002

[ View all 7 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
Rogue in AUUG Newsletter Sept. '82 (Australian Unix Users Group) Andrew Fisher (697) May 10, 2023
Game Group: Rogue Variants? PCGamer77 (3158) Jun 7, 2021
Amiga version of Rogue for PC Ardor Mar 2, 2009
Game port listing needs to be removed? LepricahnsGold (142744) Dec 13, 2008
Public Domain or Commercial? Indra was here (20750) Nov 6, 2007


1001 Video Games

Rogue appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Academic paper

A sophisticated mainframe-Rogue-playing AI, the "Rog-o-matic" (A Belligerent Expert System), was the subject of an academic paper written by Michael Maudlin, Guy Jacobson, Andrew Appel and Leonard Hamey of Carnegie Mellon University and presented at the Fifth Biennial Conference of the Canadian Society for Computational Studies of Intelligence, London Ontario, May 16, 1984.

This paper can be read (and its behavior diagrams ogled) here.

Copy protection

The commercial Rogue versions didn't fare too well, as lots of pirated copies existed. The later DOS versions were copy protected (starting at the latest with V1.48 published by Epyx), in an interesting way. You could actually play a pirated copy, but if you did, you suffered six times the normal damage from monster attacks -- which quickly ended an already pretty hard game, it was hard to even get to level two. On the tombstone, you could then read the evocative message:


Software Pirate

killed by

Copy Protection Mafia*


Rogue was first developed in 1980 on PLATO mainframes (first at Santa Cruz, then Berkeley), where it was extensively beta-tested by fellow Computing Science students. (Three months after moving to Berkeley, more compute cycles were used playing Rogue than running any other program.) The game's creators eventually calculated that their little diversion had used up approximately "a billion and a half dollars of compute time in Silicon Valley". Your taxpayer dollars at work!

Different versions

In keeping with the game's U.C. Berkeley roots, a public domain version of it was distributed with version 4.2 of the university's popular flavour of Unix -- the Berkeley Standard Distribution, or BSD. This ended up ensuring an enduring fondness for the game among a wide and international fanbase.

In 2006, Donnie Russell released a version called ClassicRogue, which features a graphical title screen optional mouse control, and sound effects.

When Epyx re-released the DOS version of Rogue in 1985, the main addition was a graphical title screen. The developer of this version, Jon Lane, one of the original developers of Rogue, didn't seem to have liked it: In the source code, the function to display that image is called "epyx_yuck"...


Written in a very early version of Lattice C (version 1.02, to be exact).

Information also contributed by FatherJack. [General Error](,54276/), and [Pseudo_Intellectual](,49363/).


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Related Sites +

  • A brief history of Rogue
    The history of this seminal game written by one of its creators, Glenn R. Wichman.
  • Donnie Russel's Webpage
    Home Page of the author of the Rogue ports to Windows and Linux, ClassicRogue and TileRogue, as well as a port for the Gameboy Advanced called AGB_Rogue.
  • Old CRPGs
    Another page hosting old executables and source code for Rogue its derivatives.
  • ROG-O-MATIC: A Belligerent Expert System
    The paper that describes the ROG-O-MATIC expert system, an early AI experiment to let computers play Rogue. Quite successful, as it seems!
  • Rogue @ Epyx Shrine
    Screenshots of the various versions and an interview with Glenn Wichman, co-creator of the original "Rogue".
  • Rogue Restoration Project
    Official site for all Rogue games variations
  • Rogue: The Adventure Game
    product page for the iPhone version
  • Roguebasin wiki
    Information and history of the game
  • The CRPG Addict: Rogue
    Posts about the game at The CRPG Addict blog.
  • The Dungeons of Doom
    Featuring the history of rogue, a lot of tips and hints, and the sources for the original PC Rogue.
  • The Roguelike Archive
    Source code and executables for many systems of many different Rogue versions and other roguelike games.
  • zRogue
    Gevan Dutton's 1998 Z-code abuse port of Rogue can be played online through your web browser.

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 1743
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Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Kalirion.

Atari 8-bit added by JRK. GP2X, GP32 added by 666gonzo666. PC-88 added by Infernos. Roku added by firefang9212. Windows added by Sciere. Macintosh added by Kabushi. Amstrad CPC, Amiga, Commodore 64 added by Martin Smith. Atari ST added by ZZip. Android, Mainframe added by Pseudo_Intellectual. Linux added by General Error. PC-98 added by vermilion1. Antstream added by lights out party. ZX Spectrum added by voidoid. TRS-80 CoCo added by L. Curtis Boyle.

Additional contributors: Trixter, Sciere, Alaka, Silverblade, Pseudo_Intellectual, General Error, Havoc Crow, CalaisianMindthief, Rik Hideto, Gouken.

Game added June 23, 2000. Last modified February 13, 2024.