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Originally released in 1980 on the UNIX operating system, Rogue became popular on college systems throughout the early 1980's. The original authors of Rogue were Michael Toy, Glenn Wichman and Ken Arnold. Upon gaining further popularity, Michael Toy and Jon Lane ported the title to IBM PC and later it was ported the Apple Macintosh by Michael Toy. The franchise's marketing was later handed over to publisher Epyx, who then contracted AI Design (Toy and Lane) to port the title over to Amiga, Atari ST and CoCo. Further ports were handled by Mastertronic in 1988 for AMSTRAD CPC, Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum computers.
Rogue is a typical fantasy role playing game, based heavily on the dungeon crawling concept where you explore down through levels to recover the Amulet of Yendor (Rodney backwards), which you then need to take back to the surface. As the levels get increasingly more difficult the further you progress, it's extremely difficult to make it to the end. The player's character is represented on screen by the "@" symbol, however this was changed to "☺" in a later port. The rest of the in game characters and items are shown as various letters of the alphabet and characters within the ASCII set.
Movement is made with the arrow keys, however earlier versions used "HJKL" as the main controls. There are also single key presses for actions such as "quaff" (Q), "eat" (E) and wield (W). The levels are made up for 3x3 rooms, with some rooms being replaced with a dead-end corridor. The key is to balance exploration with progression, too much exploring and you waste food and risk loss of health to monsters, too much focus on progression and you may miss important and useful weapons or items.
As Rogue is based on a terminal interface, Rog-O-Matic is designed to play and win Rogue automatically, inspiring further development of bots for other games and uses.