Sunday, June 12, 2016

I don't like roguelikes.

To be more specific I don't like the combination of permadeath and random chance that is a hallmark of all true rogue-likes. It has taken me a while to admit this because serious gamers are supposed to like rogue-likes and respect the many classics of the genre. 

I know that permadeath is supposed to make a game more engrossing by increasing the stakes. I know that it makes your achievements seem more worthwhile when you finally do overcome the game's challenges. 

I also know that randomness makes a game interesting. It means you never know what to expect. Randomness is one of the things which differentiates a game from a puzzle. 

However when you combine randomness and permadeath you condemn yourself to the bitter despair of losing many hours of effort due to a random toss of the dice. In most true rogue-likes a pointless unavoidable death is almost certain. You may die nine times out of ten. More likely you will die ninety nine times out of a hundred but the odds of success are heavily stacked against you and you have go into these games expecting that you will lose. 

The theory is that if you adopt the right attitude you can appreciate the losing playthroughs in their own right and will be all the more ecstatic when lady luck finally smiles on you and grants the impossible victory. 

Well I reject that theory. It doesn't work for me. It doesn't work for me because I like finishing games. I enjoy conquering the final boss and then moving on to another game. Rogue-likes are not designed to be finished. You are supposed to lose and start over again and again. If you ever actually get to kill the final boss it is an unexpected miracle.  This theory also doesn't work for me because it abuses  the one gaming talent I actually have. I don't have instant perception. I don't have  razor sharp reflexes. I don't have incredible dexterity and I don't even have have great strategic vision, All I have is dogged persistence. I tackle a challenge. I fail. I try again with a slightly different approach. I keep doing this until something works.  Rogue-likes demand persistence because they force you start over and over again but they give you no reward for it. Lessons learned in previous  playthroughs become irrelevant when the random number generator rolls against you. 

Grumpiness brought to you courtesy of "FTL Faster Than Light" which I have been playing for the last few days. To be fair I really like the game and repeatedly come back to it over the years. I have even overcome the final boss on more than one occasion. I still don't like rogue-likes though.