Diablo 3 was released early this morning,. and I’m strongly resisting the urge to go and buy it so that I can play it NOWNOWNOW. I really worry that this game would eat my life if I started playing it, and so for now I’m not, but that may change eventually.
There are a few games I can say really ate up huge chunks of my life. Skyrim kept me playing recently, but it wasn’t anywhere near being an obsession. Days would pass where I wouldn’t play, sometimes a week, then I’d get hooked for a day or two and put it aside in favor of more writing time. Morrowind (a predecessor to Skyrim in the Elder Scrolls franchise) had me playing for many hundreds of hours. Different types of characters, different sequences, different outcomes. A game with that many different ways to play it can really keep you busy for a while.
The very first game that ate my face, however, was Diablo. I spent a lot of cash upgrading a computer at one point in the mid 90s, and all my friends at the time who had better computers than the one I was replacing were raving about this game which had just come out a short while earlier. I got a copy, loaded it up, and was hooked in seconds.
The graphics were pretty great for the time, and the game was long, compared to the old DOS games I’d been used to pre-Windows 95. Plus you could play through it with different types of characters which really changed the game play. But the kicker was the online play. In the dark days of Internet via 28.8kbps modems (which were at the time pretty astounding compared to BBS via 2400baud modem), logging onto a remote server where three of your friends had also logged on so you could play the same game together and fight monsters together was unprecedented. I mean, we’d had Trade Wars, but nothing that let you do what Diablo did. I would head home from work and boot up the computer immediately so that everything could load while I ate supper, then disappear back into the basement and play from about 7:30pm until about two in the morning. Being a single antisocial 18 year old living in my mother’s basement, I did this many nights a week, and kept playing the game for the better part of two years (with my game time winding down eventually). If I spent 500-750 hours playing Morrowind, I easily spent 2,000 hours playing Diablo.
This is the single greatest reason why I never signed up for World of Warcraft. Not even the free trial. I know that I’ll enjoy it, and I know that I won’t be able to put it away, so I ignore it and scoff at all the people who are having fun while I kvetch. I barely have time for the stuff I want to do now, I definitely don’t want to add a time-sink like that into the mix.
So, I resist. I will, for the time being, live vicariously through others who are playing, and tell myself that there are words that need to be written. Words which will absolutely not get written if I’m slaughtering demons by the dozen.