Thursday, February 3, 2011

Old-School Gaming: Playing Diablo


Last weekend, in recognition of my son's 12th birthday, we bought him a copy of Spore, a game that is all the rage with his contemporaries at middle school. His two sisters, meanwhile, bought him an old-school crpg game, Diablo, in battle-chest form, which includes Diablo's I and II.

I've mentioned before that during my hiatus from D&D, Diablo was one of my favorite computer games. Released in 1997, I remember playing the heck out of this game, prior to my son's birth. If I remember correctly, we lent that game to one of my spouse's work colleagues, and it was never returned to us.

The arrival of another copy of Diablo into the house provided the opportunity to play Diablo once more. I suspect my spouse enjoyed more Diablo screen-time over the last week than I, but I did finally manage to wrestle the game from her, and fight through the first four levels and attain 12th level as the Warrior.

Even after all these years, Diablo does not disappoint. The graphics, though somewhat rough by today's standards, provide enough realism and interest to keep me engaged. Looking at the scenery makes me want to get out my Hirst Arts molds and cast and build some walls, stairs and floors, in homage to the look of Diablo.

As part of the birthday celebrations, I also ran a six-hour D&D session for my son and 6 other pre-teens. I played the music from the Diablo Dungeons levels while we played, and the kids were freaked out by it, even though they've never played Diablo, and there were no scary images accompanying the music.

Goes to show the power of that early Diablo soundtrack, that even without the images, the music can still evoke fear and discomfort.

25 comments:

David J. West said...

Oh man I loved Diablo-I was the first in my fraternal order of friends to beat it-man that was a rush.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

The original Diablo music still unnerves me.

I was checking out the Diablo III website. Reading the designers notes turned me off of playing it. Gorgeous graphics and music though.

Evan said...

Diablo 1 was one of the chief influences on my current campaign setting. I only realized it later, but I spent a good part of my younger life playing it. The soundtrack is definitely stellar, and the graphics are still evocative today.

From what I've seen of Diablo III, it's leaving too much of the tone behind. One thing that made the original Diablo so good is that it was, as you say, unnerving. I can't really imagine being unnerved by a king Leoric whose mace is bigger than he is.

I was wondering how you were running it. For the past several months I've been jonesing for this game, but I'm currently using Windows 7 and I'm 99% sure they aren't compatible.

Sean Robson said...

I completely agree that Diablo hasn't lost any of its appeal even after all these years. This past summer I loaded it up on the computer and played it again for the first time in ages and I was amazed at how well it stands up to modern games.

And, yeah, the soundtrack is great; it keeps me on the edge of my seat like a good horror movie soundtrack.

Telecanter said...

I'm with you brother, creepy music, hell of a lot of fun to play two player, played the heck out of it.

I also thought the randomized dungeon levels and the magic item system were elegant and effective.

Diablo II now, is an example of a game that ruined itself trying to chase online, multiplayer play. Only game I ever heard of that had items you could only get by playing through the storyline more than once . . . bizarre.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

Evan said...
I was wondering how you were running it. For the past several months I've been jonesing for this game, but I'm currently using Windows 7 and I'm 99% sure they aren't compatible.

I'm running Diablo 1 on an old xp system. I can't get the graphics to work on my windows 7 system either.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

Sean Robson said...
And, yeah, the soundtrack is great; it keeps me on the edge of my seat like a good horror movie soundtrack.
I've been trying to find a legal way to get the soundtrack. That way I could run it from iTunes rather than loading it from the game or youTube.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

Telecanter said...
Diablo II now, is an example of a game that ruined itself trying to chase online, multiplayer play. Only game I ever heard of that had items you could only get by playing through the storyline more than once . . . bizarre.

Bizarre is right.

ChicagoWiz said...

Diablo 1 was great fun, albeit a bit of a slog at the later levels. I have to admit, Act II of Diablo2 - Lut Golein - is probably my most favorite out of the entire two games. That and Act III - Kurast. Great atmosphere and very different "feels" to what we normally experience. I have a couple of areas in my wife's solo campaign that show those influences. :)

That being said, the actual mechanics and items wasn't my main point, mainly discovering what was ahead. I really wish Diablo2 was more open like a Morrowind. That would be sweet!

At one time, I had MP3s of the Diablo and Diablo 2 soundtracks.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

I tried to get into Diablo II, but it seemed too scripted to me. I played Diablo II for a while, but I can't even recall at what point I stopped, I just lost interest.

My first copy of Diablo had the music tracks but I can't find the tracks on the current copy.

John Williams said...

Diablo is a great game, and the music is a mainstay of my regular gaming soundtrack.

Derobane-bane said...

Over the past month I have been re-playing Diablo 2. Your comments are spot on- this game is a classic that has never disapointed me.

The Happy Whisk said...

Great to see you again and Happy Birthday to your son.

JB said...

@ Pal: Have to echo your feelings on the Diablo soundtrack. I, too, played the hell out of this game back in my non-D&D years. That music would put me on edge in a darkened room...

steelcaress said...

I showed it to my son Alexander recently, installing it on his Win 7 laptop. It worked well enough. Monsters come at him a little fast, but other than that no problems (unlike many games on Windows 7). Myself, I've logged many fun hours in Diablo, on a few different systems.

The sad thing is, he's not really into it. He's more into "Legend: Hand of God," "Sacred," and "Gothic 4." He told me he likes doing things in town.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

John Williams said...
Diablo is a great game, and the music is a mainstay of my regular gaming soundtrack.

I'm curious about your other tracks!

A Paladin In Citadel said...

Derobane-bane said...
Over the past month I have been re-playing Diablo 2. Your comments are spot on- this game is a classic that has never disapointed me.

I regret that DnD4 has gone the Diablo/WoW emulator route. Diablo is a great game, but I want a different experience from my tabletop rpg.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

The Happy Whisk said...
Great to see you again and Happy Birthday to your son.

Great to be back! :)

Thanks for the birthday wishes, please pass along a hearty hello to Tim!

A Paladin In Citadel said...

JB said...
@ Pal: Have to echo your feelings on the Diablo soundtrack. I, too, played the hell out of this game back in my non-D&D years. That music would put me on edge in a darkened room...

Even the Tristram theme is unsettling...

A Paladin In Citadel said...

steelcaress said...
I showed it to my son Alexander recently, installing it on his Win 7 laptop. It worked well enough. Monsters come at him a little fast, but other than that no problems (unlike many games on Windows 7). Myself, I've logged many fun hours in Diablo, on a few different systems.

I tried running it on my W7 laptop and it totally bombed out. Glad to hear it worked on yours!

C'nor (Outermost_Toe) said...

I'd like to see the spellbooks be transferred to the tabletop - my main attack as a warrior was chain lightning, fueled by a Warhammer of The Bat. Why can't my 8th level fighter do that in AD&D, if he's willing to take the time to find it, and get his Int high enough.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

Why not do it in AD&D? Gygax's admonishments be damned, tweak the rules so you can emulate the Diablo game-play. I must admit i'm using an encumbrance system that is quite close to Diablo (only so many slots to carry items)

The Happy Whisk said...

Tim waves hello from the couch.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

:) Right back at him from my dining room chair!

C'nor (Outermost_Toe) said...

You're right that there really isn't any reason not to adapt them. I'm going to go see what kind of house-rules will work for that. Thanks!