It´s kind of hard for me (and many others I bet) to grasp the fact that it´s now been over 20 years since Blizzard released their ARPG/hack-and-slash game “Diablo”. However, that is 100% true, as Blizzard celebrated Diablo´s 20th anniversary on the 31st of December last year (I´m sorry that I wasn´t able to cover this story earlier). Yes, that´s right. The very first installment of Diablo did indeed launch on the 31st of December back in 1996, and in my case. I got totally hooked on the game when I played a demo version of “Diablo” in early 1997.
In the matter of fact, I had never seen or played a game quite like “Diablo” before. Furthermore, the (then) advanced cinematics and in-game graphics blew me away (Diablo contains quite a few cinematic videos), not to mention the fact that Matt Uelmen did an awesome job with Diablo´s soundtrack. Because not only did Uelmen help enhance the already great gameplay experience with his music, Uelmen also made an immortal game soundtrack that is still very much-loved and remembered to this very day. Funny enough though, before I even played the “Diablo” demo, I got caught up in the Diablo universe via a short trailer for the game (I think Blizzard released that one via a re-release of “Warcraft 2”?). So much so that I couldn´t wait to try the game myself.
Well, I didn´t get disappointed when I finally got a chance to try the demo of “Diablo”, I was actually so impressed with the demo that I bought the full game just one week after that I had finished playing through the demo (tons of love to my parents who helped me to pay for half of the game), and before I even started to play the game I was knee-deep into the game´s manual (I´m the kind of person who loves to read the manual before I play the game, because back in the days developers used to add tips, advice, nice concept art pictures and the actual storyline of the game in question). However, there was one down side to Diablo (at least in my case). You see, I soon realized that the game required a Pentium 60 Mhz CPU and 8MB of ram in-order to run without lag (16 Mb of ram was recommended for for multiplayer), and since I only had a 486 133 Mhz computer at the time…Well, let´s just say that “Diablo” didn´t exactly run “smoothly” on my computer.
Nevertheless, I still had a blast with “Diablo”. As the game blew everything I ever played in terms of RPG and hack-and-slash games out of the water (“Diablo” received very high grades and positive user reviews on release). I was also very surprised to know that I had the ability to play as three different characters/classes (warrior, rogue and sorcerer). All of which offered a very distinct gameplay experience, and since “Diablo” offers sixteen randomly generated dungeon levels as well. Simply put, “Diablo” offered a lot of gameplay value for your money, and at the time this was pretty much unheard of. Well, at least when it comes to an ARPG/hack-and-slash games like “Diablo”. Even so, all of this came as one big pleasant surprise to me. Because keep in mind, back in 1997 the Internet was very primitive, and not all that many people had an Internet connection at home either. So most of the time I (and others) didn´t know if rumors or such was true or not. In other words, we had to find out the truth for ourselves.
I didn´t mind that though, as I avoided a lot of spoilers by just playing through the game on my own (that´s how I prefer to play my games any ways). However, I would like to point out that I did actual have a 33K dial-up modem at the time. So I did indeed get a chance to play “Diablo” online (I did so in mid 1997). Nevertheless, I soon learned that it was very expensive to play games online…Because at time, you had to pay money per minute when you used your Internet connection. That´s just the half of it though. As the Internet speed was slow as hell, and your connection could break up if someone called to your home (I did add some code to a config file for a V90 modem that blocked all phone calls while being connected to the Internet, but my parents didn´t like that all that much).
Well, I think you get the idea. As for the actual gameplay aspects of “Diablo”, the game is very addicting as it´s extremely satisfying to kill enemies, collect items and to level up your character. Hell, just inventory and character menu alone is like a mini-game of sorts. As you spend tons of time optimizing your gear and character (you can spend level-up points on character attributes such as “strength”, “dexterity”, “vitality” and “magic”). It´s also worth mentioning that from the very first moment that I saw the town of Tristram (that´s where the story of “Diablo” takes place), I pretty much knew that I was in for a really nice ARPG treat. As everything was on point. I mean, every single NPC is full of life and personality (the voice actors did a great job in “Diablo”). I also felt this “The Lord of the rings” kind of vibe while playing “Diablo”, because you do indeed fight against evil (Diablo, the lord of terror is the final boss of “Diablo 1”).
And I´ll have you know that the world of Diablo is so infested with evil that I spent tons of hours slaying monsters, demons and big bosses like there was no tomorrow (I have been playing Diablo for almost 20 years time now). I know that not everyone may agree with me now, but I think that “Diablo” is the “Fallout” of fantasy ARPG/hack-and-slash games. Because I just couldn´t get enough of “Diablo”, and thanks to fan mods (Diablo HD, for example) and new patches by Blizzard (not to mention the “Hellfire” expansion pack). “Diablo” has been able to stay relevant and up-to-date for over 20-years. In all honesty, I can actually just remember two bad things about “Diablo”, and that would be the fact that the enemies don’t respawn when you load your save (in “Diablo 2” the enemies respawns every time that you return to the world of Diablo).
The game was also pretty much over once you reached level 50, as that´s the max level for D1, and if you beat “Diablo” the game was over. Then again, if you´ve reached to the very end of the game, then there is nothing left to do any ways. As you´ve already slain everything that moves, done everything that can be done, and found everything that can be found. Even so, I have still been playing “Diablo” over and over again for +20 years. As the game offers so many different randomly generated dungeon levels, quests, weapons, items and encounters that there is always worth playing through the game yet again.
So I´m not all that surprised to hear that “Diablo” has sold over 2.5 million copies worldwide since 2001. Nor that mods like Diablo HD and Diablo The Awakening keeps “Diablo” alive and kicking even though it´s now 2017. That´s also why I bet that “Diablo” will still be around 20 years henceforth as well. Especially since even the new Gamer generation likes “Diablo”. So, happy 20th birthday “Diablo”, and may you be around for another 20 years! And yes, in case you wonder, I do own the PS1 version of “Diablo” (the one that´s in 100% Swedish!).
And with that said, do you have any “Diablo” memories that you would like to share with us? In that case, do so in the comment section down below!
Robin “V-Act” Ek
The Gaming Ground
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