I should confess that we are playing Diablo 2 at my insistence. Diablo 3 is a little more than a month away and I wanted to take one last nostalgia trip through a game I consider a classic, gaming milestone, and personal favorite. As you can see, my opinion about this game is fully formed so I won’t be reviewing it like the other games we’ve done. Instead, I’ll be making sure the other Gaming Graveyard players are enjoying themselves.
I’ve put more hours into Diablo 2 than any other game in my life. I won’t even ballpark the number because it would be embarrassingly high. Suffice it to say this game has been with me through four girlfriends, high school, college, and graduate school, three presidents, six apartments, and seven pets. I have worn out MANY mice. When I started playing my jeans were three sizes too big, I painted my fingernails black and I played drums in the school marching band. Now I wear a tie to work, am engaged, and trying to buy a condo. Even now my heart still skips a beat when I hear the ping of a ring hitting the ground. Basically, Diablo and I go way back.
But before I gush about Diablo 2, let me talk about the original. When my brother introduced me to Diablo 1 in 1997 and I was hooked. Playing with multiple people in the same game over the internet was a gaming turning point for me. I’m not sure if I was on AOL Instant Messager yet so it may have been the first time I was talking to an internet stranger in real-time (talking about 90’s internet in 2012 is like describing two cans tied together with a string to someone with a cell phone). I know that other games had already started the online trend and in much larger ways, like Ultima Online, but I hadn’t heard of them yet.
Diablo 1 gave me the lust for phat loots, taught me how to hack games (note that website was updated in 2011. Yes, a game that came out in 1996 still has an active enough community that hacking mods are regularly updated), and that online gamers are, by and large, dicks. I thought about this game all day at school and played for hours when I got home. In the Fall, I would open the windows when I played so the cold breeze would make me feel like I was in Tristram, the game’s dreary town. I was a psychopath.
I recently gave Diablo 1 spin to see how it holds up. The game mechanics are still addicting. Essentially, every time you log in the level layouts are randomized and the monsters you kill drop items that are also randomized. Everything else about the game is just aesthetics. At its heart, it’s a digital slot machine, the greatest, most satisfying slot machine in history. The what’s-around-the-corner and what-will-that-monster-drop-next is why you skip school/class/work to play, why people are still playing seventeen years after its release.
That said, I can’t recommend anyone play it (see, I’m not TOTALLY biased). There’s nothing really terribly dated about it (other than having to walk everywhere, Jesus that’s annoying), but it suffers from Evil Dead‘s disease. The film Evil Dead 2 is basically just a remake of Evil Dead, made with more money. Likewise, there’s nothing Diablo 1 does that Diablo 2 doesn’t do better. Diablo 2 has more classes, items, spells, monsters, areas, etc. Other than curiosity, I wouldn’t recommend anyone devote time to it. I’m not even sure if you can legally buy Diablo 1 anymore since it’s not available on Blizzard’s store (though it will be a part of the Diablo 3 Collector’s Edition for some reason).
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to check on the rest of Gaming Graveyard to make sure they’ve started Diablo 2.