Embedded games: Rogue

Here’s a handheld version of Rogue. Rogue is one of the first graphical computer games and takes the player through a dungeon-exploring adventure. [Manuel] built this around a PIC 16F876 microcontroller and a KS0108 graphic LCD screen.

Hot on the heels of the pixellated Mario game, these embedded handhelds make for fun projects and great gifts. There are few parts used and [Manuel] etched his own PCB. Take a look at the schematic, this is a great platform to start with but the sky’s the limit on writing your own games.


  1. zigzagjoe says:


  2. Nethack enthusiast says:

    Ok so what are the minimum hardware reqs for running nethack?

    If you have x86 then you can run freedos and nethack. You can also run a diskboot kind of linux too.

    You want something writable and persistent.

    You need a bucket of ram to run nethack, at least 32mb.

  3. Reverend Gonzo says:

    One of my good friend’s is Jareth Arnold, son of Rogue creator Ken Arnold. So I love seeing this post.

  4. yonsje says:

    The schematic link links to an image of a tab that says “Circuit & PCB”

  5. Lucassiglo21 says:

    nice, well..i’ve made some time ago a similar platform, based on a pic16f88 with a ks0108 128×64 display, 4 buttons and 2 potentiometers.
    i’ve programmed a pong on it.
    here it is:


    everyway, nice project!

  6. svofski says:

    I wonder if a full version of Rogue could be made to run in a saner micro, like Mega128 perhaps? And BTW, I don’t remember Zet project (http://zet.aluzina.org) being mentioned on HaD. It can run Rogue on the DE1 board, even though you still need a monitor.

  7. Manuel says:

    Thanks for the comments!
    Well I think It is not possible to port (full) rogue to a micro smaller than atmega128.
    While programming piper I studied rogue code and you need a lot of rom…but the most important…ram! The problem is that with this microcontrollers you cannot increase ram nor rom. Other problem, not so obvious is the bad management of recurssive functions…and also lack of (decent) stack.
    I think that with a 8051 with 64 k of both rom and ram you could try. But this will need a more complicated and less portable pcb.
    Of course you can buy an ultrasophisticated ARM cortex board and program It…but you will miss that retro flavour. In this case I would buy a notebook and just play.
    I am currently working on the PIC18f2550 verion of piper, that will increase x4 Rom and Ram.With this I feel confident on doing a less basic roguelike game.

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