By | July 27, 2019

So I’ve been playing a lot of “roguelikes” on my XBox One recently (Brig Bother, add me!!!).

Roguelikes are based on an 1980 game called Rogue, a dungeon crawling adventure from 1980 played with ASCII art, the main ideas being procedurally generated levels (basically: random, but within certain creator-defined confines), monsters and treasure, and importantly permadeath – you die, you start right back at the beginning – you have to learn from your mistakes. These games also have a winning condition – defeat the big bad at the end of the last level.

Modern roguelikes have a fun mechanic in that although you start from scratch after dying, you might have unlocked some of hundreds of different objects, each with various effects which then may or may not turn up in future runs. Every game is different, if you’re fortunate the random number generator favours you with excellent items and weak monsters, sometimes it hates you. The Binding of Isaac and Dead Cells are undoubtably the cream of the genre at the moment, although we’re currently also addicted to Ironcast (a steampunk tile matching game) and Rogue Legacy, which has a neat passing-your-genes-on mechanic. And also Crypt of the Necrodancer (and direct Zelda spin-off Cadence of Hyrule) takes the ideas and puts it to an incredible beat. And Slay the Spire!

Is this an untapped genre for TV formats? Knightmare is an obvious example of what is basically what a roguelike could look like. But what about quizzes? 1 vs 100 (the original version of the format) basically fits doesn’t it? One contestant goes on a run and either succeeds in glory or crashes out never to be seen again. Millionaire is almost a roguelike I reckon, but falls down in being able to walk away. Randomize the lifelines and make it all or nothing though…

13 thoughts on “Roguelikes

  1. Steve

    On the subject of roguelikes, I have three Steam copies of Binding of Isaac and one Rogue Legacy sitting in my giftable inventory (I bought a bunch forever ago then ran out of people to gift them to). If you want a copy, please contact me on Twitter at the handle of artbegotti. (This message has been okayed by Brig in an off-site discussion.)

    1. Alex S

      Just got one of Steve’s copies of The Binding of Isaac, looking forward to playing it! Thanks again, what a guy!

  2. Mika

    The Exit List is pretty rogue-like in a sense. You win the money in the maze, but you also need to be able to get out to keep it.

    Wheels are kind of turning in my head of ways that format could work in stages even, where you need to keep exiting and re-entering the maze at a harder difficulty to keep banking money.

  3. Brig Bother Post author

    In other news there’s a French version of Million Dollar Mile happening. Les Course du Champions, with Teddy Riner.

  4. David B

    Not convinced. Since very very few shows ever give contestants a second go – and certainly not with unlocked achievements – I don’t really see how this fits in the way you state.

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      What if you played, lost but potentially unlocked something for the next contestant? The possibilities are endless.

      1. Chris M. Dickson

        See, now we’re getting into the territory of those Mediterranean mega-epics where contestants can come back dozens or hundreds of times…

        Here’s a quarter of a format idea. Imagine a format where each day there’s a winning contestant who gets to try at the jackpot, and not only the winning contestant but also at least one of the other contestants returns to the next episode. In order to win the jackpot, the winning contestant has to answer 20 questions correctly within (some period of time). Each question is on a different subject; there are (say) 30 possible subjects, and which 20 subjects are used in that endgame is drawn at random. The second time the contestant gets to the endgame, they get to throw out their least favourite possible subject, so the actual 20 subjects are drawn at random from a selection of 29. The third time the contestant gets to the endgame, they get to throw out two possible subjects, and so on – so, if they get to the endgame for an eleventh time, then they know that the 20 questions will be on their 20 favourite subjects of the possible 30. (You could also do something a bit Wogan’s Perfect Recall here as well; contestants can only earn the escalating jackpot if they bid to answer all 20 questions correctly, or they can try for a smaller prize if they bid to answer fewer than 20 questions and make their bid.)

        Going back to the original post, if the episodes of Cash Trapped could be allowed to interact with each other, other than the sums of money that the contestants might be playing for, then that might fit the bill.

  5. Brekkie

    Who Dares Win must have had the easiest question to win £50k ever last night, though the contestants bailed at £15k. Basically it was the top 50 most visited countries by Brits, so essentially unless you went the Pointless route chances are naming 15 countries would have won you the cash.

  6. CeleTheRef

    How about Countdown? The words and numbers rounds aren’t pre-determined but letters and numbers are drawn semi-randomly during the show. The conundrum round would be the final boss.

    And this is the promo of Canale5’s Eurogames, the all-new Jeux Sans Frontières

  7. Chris M. Dickson

    The actual cross between roguelikes and game shows is Dicey Dungeons, released on Steam today. At the very least, it’s a dice game, played on computer, that describes itself as roguelike and uses a very loose game show setting. (Full disclosure: I like, and vaguely know, someone who worked on it.)


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