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Obituary: Moria creator Robert Alan Koeneke has passed away

Moria is considered by many to be one of the first ever roguelikes.

Chris Kerr

July 21, 2022

1 Min Read
A screenshot from Moria depicting a dungeon level
MobyGames (Contributed by Teran)

Moria developer Robert Alan Koeneke has passed away at the age of 64. News of his passing was shared in multiple obituaries that have begun to circulate on social media.

Koeneke one was of the original developers behind Moria, which is considered by many to be one of the first ever roguelikes.

Launched in 1983, Moria was inspired The Lord of the Rings and tasks players with venturing into the Mines of Moria to defeat the legendary Balrog.

The game was notable for featuring a persistent town level where players could buy and sell equipment, a character creator that lets players choose between different races and classes, and procedurally generated levels that make each run unique.

Koeneke originally developed a beta version of Moria using VMS Basic before releasing the 1.0 version in VMS Pascal. After launching that iteration of the game, he began making improvements and ports with the help of developers Jimmy Wayne Todd Jr. and James E. Wilson.

Moria influenced other notable roguelikes including Angband, another Tolkien-inspired title that aimed to build on the foundations laid by Koeneke's creation.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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