raspberry pi tales and roguelike deaths

February 01, 2016

I've been retro-gaming like no one's business lately with the nifty new Raspberry Pi 2 Model B. It's a fun and curiously small Linux computer. I'm still a relative newbie when it comes to Linux computing. I've resorted to using a command line cheat sheet. Google is your friend in these times, always.

I setup a Retropie build which is graciously provided by the awesome crew over at petRockBlock. To be honest, I didn't have to do much to get it to work. Besides building the SD card image and going through preliminary menu options and controller configurations, it just worked out of the box. I loaded up a few dozen of my favorite SNES roms and entered 16-bit nirvana in no time. Those old-school pixel graphics look sweet on a 48 inch LCD, by the way. I recently beat Earthbound and it was glorious. Stacy and I got a little teary eyed at the final battle. What a wonderful game. We felt like children all over again.

Playing these retro games got me curious about other game genres which I never experienced first hand, primarily older PC/Mac/Unix RPGs. The roguelike genre has been on my radar for a while, so after I beat Earthbound I figured why not try a roguelike on for size.

For those that aren't familiar, roguelike games are known for their extreme difficulty, cumbersome controls, primitive ASCII graphics, and unforgiving gameplay. If you're a masochist and want to die a million deaths, then by all means, fire up a roguelike. Did I mention one of the defining features of this genre is permadeath? In other words, you may spend hours building up your character, but make one wrong move and you'll get killed by an enemy or trap. All of your work is wiped out and you have to start over. There is no save point and nothing is safe.

Needless to say, I'm not very good at the roguelike games I'm currently playing. There is a steep learning curve, but it's incredibly fun and a mind bending experience. Here is an example of one of the more interesting games I lost (click for a close up of the ASCII horror):