The Changing Value of Permadeath in Rogue-likes

Justin Tokarski


For classic rogue-likes such as Beneath Apple Manor (The Software Factory, 1987) and Rogue (Toy & Wichman, 1980), permadeath was a defining characteristic. Permadeath refers to the permanent death of the player’s avatar, requiring the player to restart from the beginning of the game with a new character; either an entirely new avatar or the same avatar sans items, abilities, experience points, etc. Beginning with Strange Adventures in Infinite Space (Cheapass Games, 2002) rogue-like games, and the permadeath mechanic associated with them, began to see a resurgence. However, due to changes in the gaming landscape and experimentation with the ‘rogue-like’ genre, permadeath and the value associated with permadeath are very different from its earlier incarnation.