aka: AGB_Rogue, ClassicRogue, Rogue: Exploring the Dungeons of Doom, Rogue: The Adventure Game
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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: 54% (based on 6 ratings)


Average score: 3.3 out of 5 (based on 69 ratings with 7 reviews)

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

The best RPG EVER

The Good
This game is great! as Free arcade puts it: living proof that graphics are NOT what makes a good game. the object is to retrieve the Amulet of Yendor, which has been stolen by a large group of Rogues and hidden in the 26th level of the dungeon of doom. along the way you will find and quaff potions, Wear rings and armor, and battle the Rogues. While you do all this, you must keep from starving. sounds hard, right? Right. plus, you can't just get the amulet and win, you must also leave the dungeon with at LEAST the amulet... and the hardest to keep item in the game, your life.

The Bad
This game is HARD! The deepest I ever went is level 8, only to get killed by a glitch!(?) however, it's got that addictive fun you can't resist! if you play it once, you can't help but play it more!

The Bottom Line
Get this game. period. it can be downloaded from if you want it. and don't worry if you don't have DOS, it works on almost every operating system. In fact, I'm using windows XP!

DOS · by Starstorm (1) · 2006

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

[ View all 7 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
Rogue in AUUG Newsletter Sept. '82 (Australian Unix Users Group) Andrew Fisher (695) May 10th, 2023
Game Group: Rogue Variants? PCGamer77 (3159) Jun 7th, 2021
Amiga version of Rogue for PC Ardor Mar 2nd, 2009
Game port listing needs to be removed? LepricahnsGold (142490) Dec 13th, 2008
Public Domain or Commercial? Indra was here (20635) Nov 6th, 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, <i>ClassicRogue</i> and <i>TileRogue</i>, as well as a port for the Gameboy Advanced called <i>AGB_Rogue</i>.
  • 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: The Adventure Game
    product page for the iPhone version
  • 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
    <moby developer="Gevan Dutton">Gevan Dutton</moby>'s 1998 Z-code abuse port of Rogue can be played online through your web browser.

Identifiers +


Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history!

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. Commodore 64, Amiga, Amstrad CPC added by Martin Smith. Atari ST added by ZZip. Mainframe, Android 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 (formerly JudgeDeadd), CalaisianMindthief, Rik Hideto.

Game added June 23rd, 2000. Last modified September 20th, 2023.