Browsing the Steam ‘tags’ page I noticed an interesting tag tucked away at the bottom: Procedural Death Labyrinth. I clicked it and upon seeing FTL and Spelunky I instantly knew the genre it implied (and could probably have guessed based purely on the name). For it to be on this ‘tags’ page implies that a lot of people are tagging these games as such, I think? (I have no idea, especially as there’s some other odd ones on there like the incredibly useful “Achievements” tag…).
I’ve long been annoyed by the terms “roguelike-like”, “roguelite” etc. When they first started to be used to describe Binding of Isaac, FTL and so on I was one of those annoying people in the comments saying “This isn’t really a roguelike? Please come up with a new term”. Understandably nobody listened, even when I suggested some of my own*, because who listens to backwards neophobes? In some ways I was complaining because I’m an grumpy traditional “roguelike” elitist that doesn’t like all of these newcomers implying that The Binding of Isaac is in anyway similar to Nethack and therefore, in my eyes, watering down a perfectly good and established term. But it’s also because, to me, roguelike means “it reminds you of Rogue”. (Which is a backwards thing for me to think, as I’d played close to hundreds of Roguelikes before bothering to even play Rogue. I’d even made some half baked ones before trying the original.). And frankly FTL or Spelunky, whilst fantastic games that I’m terrible at, don’t evoke a single ‘Rogue’ memory in me.
But it looks like some other people have gone a step further than simply whining in comment threads and have been busy posting gamasutra blogs about the idea of a new name and even purchasing domain names for the terms they come up with. I guess the ‘movement’ has started to gain critical mass? (And this post is in the hope of helping it gain a little more ;))
Procedural Death Labyrinth – do you think it’s a term that’s here to stay? Will you use it? Do you like the idea? Is there another, better-er, term out there*?
*(Randomly generated permadeath game. Well, I think it’s catchy…).