Roguelike Radio

Roguelike Radio

Last year when thinking about coffeebreak roguelikes, I stumbled upon the Roguelike Radio podcast. Since then, I've listened to nearly 50 episodes.

I'm quite picky: Any rambling, drawn-out podcast (that often sounds like someone's unedited chat with their friends) I just skip, regardless of how interesting the topic might otherwise be; and I much prefer short episodes. Even though Roguelike Radio's eps often run around 40 minutes, they're edited quite well and well worth the time.

It also serves as a veritable treasure trove of information on the roguelike genre. I've always liked roguelikes, even though I haven't played many of the classics, since they require really significant time investments. That, combined with the fact that they most often don't have flashy visuals and well-made websites to attract attention, makes it easy to miss many of them. And while many of the podcast's episodes are quite ancient, it doesn't matter: this is one of the few genres of gaming where age really doesn't matter[1].

There were 4 broad categories of episodes: they either were focused on a specific game (Brogue, Sil, IVAN); or on specific topics (AI in roguelikes, Magic systems, MUDs), community (Roguelike Celebration Event), and development (rot.js, T-engine, procedural generation). Given that roguelikes tend to attract more "hardcore" players, the latter two often overlap in topics like various interviews, or coverage of the 7-day Roguelike challenge[2].

The regular hosts always have something interesting to say (Darren Grey especially), and there were plenty of interesting guests, including the authors of games such as Dwarf Fortress, Tales of Maj'Eyal, or Caves of Qud.

Roguelike Radio really feels like a treasure trove. One of those little libraries sprinkled around on the net that may not be for everyone, but are indispensable if you're interested in their specific niche. If you wanted to learn more about the roguelike genre, I don't know of any better place to start.

  1. For the uninitiated: Roguelikes tend not to have good graphics (and quite often, any graphics at all); and often have very long development cycles, sometimes running into decades. (E.g. Nethack is still being updated after 35 years.) So the usual players don't expect great graphics - the games have looked the same for a long time. ↩︎

  2. in which people have a week to create a roguelike, then play them and vote on the best one ↩︎