Hilariously, I was the flipside of the roguelike fan Austin was. I grew up with Nethack and Moria and ADOM. I dumped hours into those games as a kid without getting anywhere. It wasn’t until later, when I picked up Shiren the Wanderer (arguably already a far more approachable iteration of the genre), that I managed to make progress and understand exactly what was being asked of me by those canonical games.
When Dungeons of Dredmor and Binding of Isaac came out, I was thrilled. Finally, some new blood, some new design approaches, maybe some more money and players would come into the mix. The part I fucking hated beyond all reason was the ways that “roguelite,” and “roguelikelike” became regular terms applied to these new games - who the fuck knows even what a roguelike is, I thought to myself, much less a “roguelikelike” or “roguelite.” What are these devs even trying to do? Hell, even the games we talk about as canonical roguelikes bear only passing resemblance to the original Rogue.
So I became a different kind of insufferable prick - the kind that deliberately attacked every single argument claiming a “roguelikelike” or a “roguelite” (or basically any commercial product with permadeath and procgen) wasn’t a real roguelike. I still feel this way. I think a more inclusive/broader definition makes the space more welcoming, less dominated by white programmer dudes who are so in love with thrashing procedurally generated deathtraps that they don’t care about story or writing, or the fact that the race mechanics ported wholesale from DnD are deeply shitty. I’m just a little more mellow about it.
To replace the “roguelike/roguelite” definitions, which I still think are deeply bad. I tend toward the distinction between traditional roguelikes (e.g., the ones that treat the Berlin Interpretation as gospel) and modern roguelikes (e.g., most often commercial products, often have mechanics in there to lessen the sting of permadeath, often borrow more mechanics from other genres). It’s not pretty, but it works, and it makes talking about Michael Brough’s brilliant roguelikes in context with Nethack a lot easier.