Grog‘s subtitle is “The Reimagined Original Roguelike Game,” which sounds like it could have been an abandoned acronym. It’s made by Dr. Thomas Biskup, creator of the classic roguelike game ADOM, who played Rogue on an old PDP at Roguelike Celebration back in 2018. Your default name is Brak, which is probably a reference to the creation of fantasy author John Jakes, but it’s possible to amuse oneself by imagining Zorak’s pal traipsing cluelessly through the dungeon. “Oh, man!”

Grog‘s presentation is purposely old-school, a gray console window with ASCII characters for graphics. While it’s similar to Rogue, it has some interesting differences. It doesn’t support diagonal movement or attacks, for one. There’s 25 levels, with two kinds of enemies introduced with each new floor, we might call them a strong one, with powerful combat ability, and a tricky one, with a way to give you troubles in other ways. Secret doors are automatically searched for as you move.

The movement keys are WASD, traditional for DOOM, not the hjkl set derived from vi. The wait key is the space bar, and period is to wait until fully healed, so if you’re used to waiting with period and paging with space, you might want to consider changing your habits. To use stairs, use the ‘r’ key. Lots of items are used by pressing ‘u’ or ‘f’. Press ? for other keys and information.

The game asks you for your name, gender (while it defaults to male, you can enter any text!) and type (like, species). The game’s set up so that if you enter the same thing at all of these prompts, your character will generate the same way, deterministically.

Grog’s level builder is similar to Rogue’s, but it’s not limited to a 3×3 grid of rooms.

One thing about Grog that’s mentioned on its page is the game actually gets more difficult the more times you play. When a character dies, they may show up as a ghost on later runs, making things more difficult for you, and also when a monster defeats a player character they may get promoted into a unique individual, with added power and a name, that can show up on later plays! This customizes your copy of the game to an extent as you play.

Grog: The Reimagined Original Roguelike Game ($0)

Note, the download is hosted from Dropbox, which is notorious for rate limiting, so if you can’t get it immediately, maybe try another day.

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