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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.


Rogue DOS Mapping a dungeon is easy once you've been there
Rogue DOS Title and credits screen
Rogue DOS Some of the available commands
Rogue DOS Hey, who turned out the lights?

Promo Images

Rogue Screenshot
Rogue Screenshot
Rogue Screenshot
Rogue Screenshot

Alternate Titles

  • "Rogue: The Adventure Game" -- In-game title (Epyx DOS version)
  • "Rogue: Exploring the Dungeons of Doom" -- full original UNIX title
  • "ClassicRogue" -- title of Donnie Russell's port
  • "AGB_Rogue" -- name of Donnie Russell's Gameboy Advance port
  • "ローグ" -- Japanese spelling

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

More playable than most classic RPGs Andrew Fisher (707) 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars
I Still Play This Today AstroNerdBoy (40) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
My all-time favourite! General Error (4374) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
They say that simplicity is the key to perfection... Silverblade (1482) 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars
Ahhh. The quest for the... What Am I Searching for again? Chris Martin (1204) 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
And to think I played this game in 2003... Indra was here (20853) 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
The best RPG EVER Starstorm (2) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

Critic Reviews

Dragon Aug, 1986 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars 70 Jun 15, 1999 2 out of 10 20


Topic # Posts Last Post
Game Group: Rogue Variants? 3 Rwolf (20027)
Jun 07, 2021
Amiga version of Rogue for PC 1 Ardor
Mar 02, 2009
Game port listing needs to be removed? 33 Indra was here (20853)
Dec 13, 2008
Public Domain or Commercial? 3 General Error (4374)
Nov 06, 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, and Pseudo_Intellectual.

Related Web 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: 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 (Gevan Dutton's 1998 Z-code abuse port of Rogue can be played online through your web browser.)
Kalirion (666) added Rogue (DOS) on Jun 22, 2000
Other platforms contributed by JRK (11242), 666gonzo666 (65872), Infernos (36410), firefang9212 (76417), Sciere (779407), Kabushi (257593), Martin Smith (78671), ZZip (829), Pseudo_Intellectual (64326), General Error (4374), vermilion1 (4241), voidoid (211) and L. Curtis Boyle (750)
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