I Used To Be The Worst Kind of Roguelike Fan


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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/wjp9wq/i-used-to-be-the-worst-kind-of-roguelike-fan


I was the same way. Watched all my friends play Spelunky and Binding of Issac and raving about the gratification of learning those games. I didn’t really understand the point of them, let alone know what a Roguelike is.

Then I saw Patrick Klepek (back when he was with Kotaku) was streaming Enter the Gungeon all the time and it looked like a lot of fun, so I went home and bought it.

Flash forward a few years and the main reason I bought a Switch was so that I could play Enter the Gungeon. Every year when people ask me what I played the most or what my favorite game is, I always say EtG.


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.


It’s so fascinating to play the original Toejam and Earl in 2018, because it is so clearly derived from Rogue and yet no one has ever described the original Genesis game from 1991 as a roguelike. Yet the Kickstarter for the latest iteration describes the new game as Rogue-like. Language is wild, man.

It’s also fascinating because playing I spent years playing that original as a kid and never beat it without Game Genie, but I came back to it last year and easily beat it in an hour, knowing the two major lessons I spent years learning in Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup:

  1. Run from fights you can’t win
  2. You have a bunch of escape tools - use them.

Though I do still rankle a bit at Rogue Legacy, because I had to grind over the course of several ‘lives’, clearing the whole rest of the castle and then dying just to cash in and reset the castle, before I could beat that game. It felt very un-Rogue.


I was the asshole who was upset about the popularity of The Walking Dead season 1. Telltale used to make adventure games, dammit! The Walking Dead had very few puzzles, very little pointing & clicking, and virtually NO combining inventory items!

It’s like, where were all of you back when Telltale was making Bone, CSI, Sam & Max, Tales of Monkey Island, Sam & Max season 2, Wallace & Gromit, Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People, Sam & Max season 3, Nelson Tethers Puzzle Agent, or Back to the Future?! (okay maybe not so much that last one)

I was there, motherfuckers!

(I eventually played TWD, said “okay, this is pretty good actually”, and mellowed out)


I find myself in the grumpy stage regarding the recognition of the greatest comedian who ever lived: Bill Hicks. I dont know why it is, but even within the relatively small community of stand-ups, he rarely gets mentioned as one of the best who ever did it. Instead, its usually Sam Kinison who gets the mention and the love for comedians from their era.

I often wonder, in some way, if Hicks doesn’t get the appropriate level of love and recognition because he did do it so well that his peers and contemporaries of today might not be ashamed that they havent picked up where he left off. Anyways…within the gaming world I’ll defend Dwarf Fortress as the most amazing game every constructed until the day I die lol :slight_smile:


For me it was also that first episode’s puzzles that made me mad. Like, who doesn’t understand how batteries work!??! At that point, I was convinced the game would’ve been better if it didn’t even try to pretend it was a trad adventure game.


I recently found myself being this kind of bad fan with the series I’ve played the most of in my life: Monster Hunter. Looking back now (and having played the betas), I realize that a lot of what Monster Hunter: World is doing is streamlining out-of-date systems, and is making an addition to the franchise for the modern day.

But that’s not what my initial thoughts were, going into reveals. The game, in my eyes, was being “dumbed down” to appeal to a larger audience. I was absolutely certain that the game would lose the depth that I had come to love from the games I had been playing for over 10 years. Whenever I had friends finally say, “oh hey, I want to play monster hunter now!”, I would respond in the familiar way of “this doesn’t look like it’ll be a real monhun game”.

I, luckily, was able to realize this is some bullshit level gatekeeping, and is a mentality I’ve intentionally cut before, with music tastes, card games, MMOs, you name it. Having that reaction to change, I think, is normal. Where it becomes a problem is when you embrace it.


I was always this way with Emo music. I got really into the 80s/90s emo bands like Embrace, Orchid, Sunny Day Real Estate, and Mineral. I remembered tracking down copies of those CDs in the late 00s. Then around 2013, a lot of “Emo revival” bands came out of the woodwork name dropping bands like that. Suddenly, everyone was into those bands and I felt it wasn’t fair because I spent all of this time on blogspots tracking down discographies. Reviewers that hated these bands back in the day were now lauding them as classics. I was so pissed.

I’m not sure when I stopped being this way, but I feel like at a certain point I realized that everyone’s relationship with music is different. I also dug deeper into that subgenre and found other bands like Still Life, Hoover, and Indian Summer, and also found online communities based around these bands, filled with people who liked them for the reasons that I liked them. Nowadays I don’t feel that ownership with certain artists like I used to. Their music belongs to all of us.


God, Orchid is so fucking good


I used to be a real prick about the Android vs. iPhone flame war. I would roll my eyes whenever someone I knew talked about their iPhone. It took me some time and growing to realize that the features I loved to laud in my Android phone just weren’t necessary for a lot of users and there were certain things (onboarding, cross device integration, etc.) that iPhones did better than Android. I still love my S7 and probably won’t go Apple, but I really don’t care what kind of phone my friend/family use anymore.

“Follow your heart”
-smoonHooch, 2012


I was this way for a long time about FPS games, specifically multiplayer ones. I started PC gaming with Wolf3d and Doom, and my first actual online game was Half-life, and i played every single mod I could get my hands on. So when the industry started taking the turn toward chasing the modern military fad, I was like “oh so we are done making interesting FPS games now?” I was a super smuglord about how I played The Good Ones back in the day and how they chiseled all the best stuff away yo make bland experiences.

I’ve chilled out about it a great deal, but I’ll admit that’s partially because cool things have been coming out in that space for a while.


Ohhhh I hadn’t even thought about what this new influx of players would mean for MH fans!


Indian Summer?! I completely forgot about them. Thanks for the reminder!

And yeah, I feel like I used to be this way with music a lot. Now I just want more of my favorite obscure bands to make it big so they can support themselves, even if they change a bit and I become less of a fan.


Hearthstone doesn’t even have a really weird mana curve. What about a game where the first player has even mana 2-4-6-8-etc and the second player has odd mana 3-5-7-9.


God, I was so insufferable with music in my teens. I used to spend entire evenings combing through MySpace top 8’s, record label websites, purevolume etc. in search of new and interesting music that I would almost reflexively dismiss the moment they found any sort of crossover success. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve said, “Their old stuff was better.” I could retire. Fortunately as I’ve gotten older I don’t feel that sense of ownership over art in the same way that I used to.

Ironically now I’ve been on the receiving end of the worst kind of fans because games like Hearthstone got me interested in Magic and while I love the game itself I’ve tried to go to a few FNMs and I have an awful time because the community locally are extremely unwelcoming and view games like Hearthstone as ruining card games rather than a net positive as more people take an interest in the genre.


I was a complete jerk around the time D&D 3e came out. 2e was vastly superior and this new game was a muddled mess!

(Note: I was in ~8th grade, and I was mad that a new version of the game was coming AFTER my parents had bought me 2/3 of the core books for the last edition. So this may have strongly colored my perceptions, to say the least.)

So I was a complete jerk about D&D 3e for high school and part of college. Thankfully, I grew up and grew out of it. Still don’t care for 3e and points forward, but I can respect that a lot of folks like 'em, and be happy that they’re fulfilling a niche for people who enjoy them.


A while back I would defend the sexuality in anime and games thinking that they weren’t doing any harm since it was all made up. It wasn’t till I started to see how that sort of think leads to real world problems of sexuality and how that also limits where these works can go. In a way I “woke” and now started looking into why these things happen and what can be done to do better.


I was absolutely the same way, except in reference to the Mass Effect trilogy. The first one I really thought was one of the best games I had ever played and pushed the narrative genre so far forward. The second one I felt was a refinement on that process so much so that it cemented in my mind that it was the best and everything that wanted to do anything like it, should learn off of that. If it didn’t, it was doing it wrong.

By the time the third Mass Effect came out, I had mellowed a bit. This was due to both more time passing and playing further games that made me realize it was not the end all be all for story telling in games. This was good because the third was not nearly as good. I still think it was better than many gave it credit for but I recognize the many shortcomings.

This had all gone away by the time Andromeda just came out, and thank goodness.

I’m glad my passion has become more rationalized and more accepting of other avenues for these types of games and storytelling.


8th grade is… exactly the age to be mad about a new version of a game you love being WRONG. Beeeeen there.