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PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!


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Valve Is Going Rogue With A Festival of Persistence Sales Event

by Rainier on April 28, 2022 @ 4:32 p.m. PDT

Starting Monday May 2nd, Steam is celebrating Roguelikes, Roguelites, and everything in between with Going Rogue: A Festival of Persistence.

From May 2 - May 9th, explore discounts on games that belong to these hotly debated sub-genres. But wait- what is the difference between Roguelike and Roguelite?

Once the event starts, look for a couple of fun videos we've made especially for this event, including a video tour of the elements that make games Roguelike/Roguelite and more with Sir Action Slacks, Uberdanger, and TrentPax.

But is it roguelike? RogueLITE? How do other subgenres like Metroidvania and Souls-like fit in (if at all)? It's confusing, we get it. (You should see our internal notes getting ready to write this, for example.)

Most all share a common thread of featuring some level of RPG elements and perma death (or perma-ish-death). They also share a common debate: Are these true sub-genres, or does each theme just represent a shared set of mechanics? Honestly, we'll leave that up to you – we just think they're all super fun games that share just enough DNA to be grouped together for a cool event. We thought we'd leave you with this brief guide, though, in case it helps:

Let's start with the OG, if you will:

Rogue (As in, a game actually CALLED "Rogue")

In 1980, the video game Rogue launches. Mixing fantasy and elements of role-playing games (RPGs) with randomly generated maps and perma death (no respawning where you left off in THIS game, pal), Rogue sends players crawling through dungeons (hence it being a dungeon-crawler) along levels and objects that are randomly generated and get increasingly harder.


The procedural content and other elements of Rogue serve as inspiration for many games that follow, hence their categorization as Rogue-like. Roguelike games feature the same complexity and random maps along with perma death, as well as some of the many other familiar tenets we'll outline again below.

Though the procedural and design aspects of Roguelikes imitate those of the original Rogue, they also can fall into one of several themes. That's why you'll also see terms like Action Roguelike when browsing.


But as time went on, not all roguelike games followed these sensibilities to the same degree. Roguelites borrow from these elements a tad more loosely, with perma death not-quite-so-permanent: You can often earn points, upgrades, or objects that you bring with you even when you die, for example.

Roguelike vs Roguelite today:

Games are increasingly more likely to technically be RogueLITE, and yet Roguelike continues to be used by many as an umbrella term. Because of this, people actually created a strict definition of Roguelike (although it has been hotly debated ever since.)

From developers attending the International Roguelike Development Conference in 2008 comes this strict set of design parameters, called The Berlin Interpretation:

  • Random map generation
  • Perma death
  • Turn-based combat
  • Grid-based movement
  • Complexity to allow multiple solutions
  • Non-modal (all actions can be performed at any time)
  • Resource management
  • Hack-n-slash combat

It should be noted however, that there have been critics (on the internet?! No way!) who find such a narrow definition unnecessary when it comes to games of such an open genre. Again, we're not here to pick a favorite kid – we love them all equally.

What about Souls-like?

Much like Roguelike starting with a game called Rogue, Souls-like started with a game (series) called Demon's Souls. Released in 2009, Demon's Souls was followed by the Dark Souls series. The series of action role-playing games (action RPGs) is, much like its rogue-counterparts, known for its high level of difficulty. Games that borrow from these sensibilities also tend to have the same dark, medieval-fantasy setting. Yes, there's lots of dying and starting over, but players can improve their abilities permanently in ways that carry over into their next lives: each repeated play increases a player's skill level.

...And Metroidvania?

Well, these games take their cues from not one but TWO game franchises: Metroid (the first game came out in 1986), and Castlevania (also 1986). With roots in action platformers, games that are classified as Metroidvania contain elements from both franchises that include non-linear gameplay, science-fiction, and gated progression. Unlike the themes mentioned above, Metroidvania games are more about continuous play as opposed to perma death sending you all the way back to square (platform?) one.

Note: You may also see the term Roguevania, which refers roguelike games that borrow tenets from Castlevania only (and not also Metroid). Just to keep you on your toes, of course.

So what do these all have in common?

They're all rooted in elements of RPG fantasy or action, and persistence means success. Oh, and they're all stars of Going Rogue: A Festival of Persistence! running from May 2 - 9th on Steam.

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