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)

More playable than most classic RPGs

The Good
Well it's no BS, ASCII graphics and one can get the hang of the game pretty quickly I reckon. So it's top-down view, treasure hunting. Upgrading weapons and armour and making use of magic doesn't take too long. The game is arcade enough that you can do things on the run. I'd say that most games are enjoyable, though you can get unlucky sometimes and die early.

The Bad
Well frankly I don't see why you should have to start over when you die except that because the game designers want to be bastards. Basically if you're serious about completing this game you have to waste a lot of time replaying levels.

The Bottom Line
Well if you can put this game alongside Ultima and Wizardry as a classic RPG, then I think it's better because you can have a quick game of it and feel like you've done well and made progress.

DOS · by Andrew Fisher (695) · 2017

My all-time favourite!

The Good
Rogue was created around 1980, so it is more than 30 years old. And still it is one of the most playable and re-playable games that I ever played.

It's not a coincidence that Rogue started a whole sub-genre of "Rogue-likes", just like the original Colossal Cave ADVENT started the adventure genre. Similarly, not only the idea is great and innovative (for its time!), but also the execution of that idea is flawless.

So what's the idea here? The idea is to maximize replayability -- with any means necessary. First of all, the map is randomized. Every time you start a game, every level is created anew. (Don't even bother drawing maps!)

But not only the maps are randomly generated, also the potions, scrolls, rings and staffs you can find are random. The only thing you'll now is their outer appearance (blue potion etc.), but to know what it does, you'll have to drink it -- pardon: Quaff it!

Sounds masochistic? Well, read on. Because one more thing this game has, it has perma-death. Which means that you only have one save game, which is deleted each time you load it. Which, in practice, means that if you die, you're DEAD. Your game is gone, and you have to start anew.

So why do I think this is great? Shouldn't this be just incredibly frustrating? Well, it depends on your frame of mind. If you play for WINNING, forget it. I have played this game for twenty years, and I have NEVER won. But if you play it just for the fun of it, just playing for the sake of playing, this game will make you hooked.

As so many in this game is luck, you'll slowly develop complicated strategies. In fact, Rogue is not so much a role-playing game as it is a strategy game, like chess. I won't spoil the fun of discovering your own strategy, but even after 20 years of playing this game, I still find minor ways of improving my strategy. That's real DEPTH, folks, try to do that for any game of today.

Then, all these restrictions don't give you the freedom of actually playing, but they also create an incredible immersive feel. Yes, even though you're just staring at ASCII characters, on the lower levels, I often start thinking for several minutes on a single move, -- just like in chess. One wrong move, and the game may be over, and you'll need hundreds of games before getting a two-handed sword +3 again. (Speaking of which, I will always remember one day when I was on level 16 and accidentally THREW such a killer sword at some G (griffin) instead of attacking it, which left me without any weapon.) Or I actually jump if I walk around, wounded badly, and suddenly stand beside to some T (troll) in a dark room. This really sucks you into the game.

I love the way this game works. It gets incredibly hard on the lower levels, you shouldn't even try to fight, so you'll have to develop complex strategies to flee from dragons and whatnot while trying to discover that bloody amulet... and still, the best strategy can be blown if you just have bad luck... But this is just part of this game.

I can understand that for many gamers of today, a game like this has not too much appeal. However, if you start getting into it, you'll realize that this game is much more than a simple randomized RPG. It is a quite complex strategy game.

I keep thinking of Nolan Bushnell's law: "A great game has to be easy to learn, but hard to master." Rogue is exactly that. A great game, nay: A perfect game.

In fact, it is the only one I rated 5 on every aspect.

The Bad
Frankly, you know what? I don't think this game has any weak spots. I even like non-existing graphics and sound -- this way I'm free to imagine the D's and T's just as I want them to be. And as I said, as this is much more like chess than like a standard RPG, the abstract presentation helps you to concentrate on the important things, like gameplay, y'know.

The Bottom Line
I find it really hard to describe thinks that I find perfect. I guess most people will feel frustrated when playing this. You have to be in a certain frame of mind; you should not be playing to win, but you should just play to play. It's some kind of Zen, you know.

If, after this review, you still think this game is interesting, give it a try, but you've been warned! You'll first find it completely frustrating, but after a while (which may be too long for today's standards), I can assure you that you will be completely hooked.

DOS · by General Error (4320) · 2011

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

[ 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 (142489) Dec 13th, 2008
Public Domain or Commercial? Indra was here (20633) 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. GP32, GP2X added by 666gonzo666. PC-88 added by Infernos. Roku added by firefang9212. Windows added by Sciere. Macintosh added by Kabushi. Amiga, Amstrad CPC, 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 (formerly JudgeDeadd), CalaisianMindthief, Rik Hideto.

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