Game Overkill – Diablo (Personal Edition)

Stay awhile and listen.

*click click click click click click*

Once upon a time, thanks in part to the N64, I was pretty much a PC gamer. It didn’t last long, though not because the games were bad. I left home for university and just couldn’t afford a fancy computer. I did have a crappy computer and discovered emulators, which probably set me on the path of retro gaming I am still on today, but that’s beside the point. The very first PC game I ever bought, right after my parents bought our first computer, was Diablo.

Game Overkill - Diablo

*click click click click click*

I don’t think I’d played Diablo since Diablo II came out, so when I replayed it for this review, I got a chance to see how well it stood up to my memories. Some stuff from what I now assume is actually from Diablo II wasn’t in the game, and some stuff I thought was in Diablo II ended being in this one. Other than that, the music…wow. As soon as those first few strings are plucked when you appear Tristram, emotions seriously came over me in waves and they didn’t stop until I finished the game, though they did peak when I opened a certain door and heard “Aaaaahh, fresh meat!” I guess you could say the nostalgia hit me hard, but the game as a whole really holds up well, it’s just that it seems video game music is what my brain fixates on more than anything else when it comes to video game memories. Diablo’s soundtrack is just amazing.

This probably happened 20 times the first time I encountered him.

This probably happened 20 times the first time I encountered him.

As for the rest of the game, I had so much fun replaying it. Exploring the dungeons, killing tonnes of enemies, and collecting all the loot is just as satisfying as it ever was. You’d think the constant clicking or the incessant backtracking to town to sell items would lose its appeal rather quickly, but the whole process is just so fun and rewarding that it is only a minor inconvenience. The game isn’t perfect though. It would be nice to be able to hold more than 8 potions in your belt, for example, but this and other complaints mostly get fixed in Diablo II, so maybe this is a good time to remind everyone that DIABLO TURNS 20 YEARS OLD THIS YEAR!

*click click click click click click click click click click click*

I can’t think of many 20 year old PC games that have aged as well as this one. Even many much more recent games don’t look this good or control this well or still feel this fresh. Exploring the dungeons, massacring enemy hordes, collecting loot, and using your skills/spells are still immensely fun and satisfying. I’m not some kind of PC games historian or anything, but I really can’t think of another game like Diablo that came before it, so the extremely small amount of things the developpers didn’t get completely, perfectly right is more than understandable. As someone who mostly played on consoles (outside of when I visited this one friend), Diablo was absolutely completely different from what I’d ever seen before. It was almost literally mind-blowing.

Diablo - Dungeon

Credit: Oceanity (

Since I’d never played it before, I got myself the Hellfire expansion for the game. Sadly, I don’t remember the original enough to tell you what it adds other than the ability to run while in Tristram. I played as a sorcerer, which is what I do in every game that allows you to pick your class. I just love magic. I find the games are tougher at first, put once you start levelling up, after a while the kickass spells are just so fun to use, and Diablo is no different with spells like Nova, Flame Wave, and especially Elemental. Just picturing the little flame guy running full speed at enemies brings a smile to my face.

*click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click*

I have to mention that just walking around Tristram again  was fun. I’d forgotten how small it was, though despite that, I’d probably completed half the game before a thought crept into my mind: “Wasn’t there some little shit with a peg leg in this game?” After a bit of exloring, I not only found Wirt the Peg-Legged Boy, but also Farnham the Drunk. It made me a little sad, since they are two of the most colourful characters in the game and I’d forgotten them. I felt bad about Wirt especially, since lots of people hated him apparently. I always liked him. Such a tragic story. So what if he charges you 50 gold just to see what item he has. The boy has to earn a living somehow.

Diablo - Final Battle

Credit: RetroGifMaster (

The one problem for modern gamers wanting to play the original Diablo on their PCs or Macs is that it won’t exactly run easily since *figure out why and insert explanation here nah fuck it I can’t be bothered*. All I know is that once I did get it working on PC, Flatulus Smegma, my character, had rainbow pants. This effect was unfortunately not reserved solely for my character’s pants.

The rest of the screen wasn't black at the time ot the screenshot. No idea why it came out that way.

The rest of the screen wasn’t black at the time ot the screenshot. No idea why it came out that way.

I was eventually able to fix this, but it would randomly reappear and would not go away unless I would quit the game and open it again. Thankfully, this isn’t one of those modern games that makes you wait through 15 minutes of rotating logos and load times. Still inconvenient.

*click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click*

[Author’s note: I TOTALLY forgot to include the following two paragraphs, so I’m adding it now.]

The last thing that needs to be addressed with this game is In one of the rare instances where it was beneficial to have grown up in New Brunswick, we had world class Internet throughout my life. Officials from Australia visited here in the early 90s to study our phone system. Our only Telecom, NBTEL, installed fibre optic cables throughout the province over two decades ago. We had high speed Internet before the rest of the country. We had a tonne of services before the rest of Canada and often even before the rest of North America. I would see commercials announcing new services like voice mail, caller ID, *69, and many more in American TV commercials years after we’d had them. So among my friends with a computer in 1996, we all had Diablo and we were all on ICQ and so we could play together. I only found out later that we were sort of lucky. How can I say this, for a while, I thought lag was those little periods where the game loads the next floor of a dungeon. Once I found out what it was, I realized that it explained a lot about the sometimes strange behaviour I saw in the play of people who weren’t my friends. I also realized I personally didn’t experience lag. Please don’t hate me. I totally get lag now. I swear.

As a result, Diablo wasn’t just revolutionary for us in terms of gameplay, it was absolutely how we discovered the Internet. I wonder if that’s true for a lot of people who grew up with Diablo. Before it, the Internet was just this weird…thing. It was neat, but ultimately just like a toy that didn’t much. This game was the first thing that made me look at the Internet as something really special, really amazing. I was in high school at this time, so my group of friends had expanded far beyond the people in my neighbourhood. This meant I could play Diablo with friends who lived across town or in another town over. It blew our minds. It was so damn fun. The Internet was amazing. I hope it lasts forever and that it always stays this awesome. I can’t imagine how it could ever get ruined. What? This guy says he knows how to duplicate items? All I have to do is drop the item and hit ALT+F4? COOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooowhatthefuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK?! Heheheh, I can’t wait to do this to someone else. I’ll pwn that newb.

Diablo - Game Over

Ultimately, Diablo was not on enough people’s lists to make the cut. Like, it didn’t even really come close. This baffles me. Personally, the game is an absolute classic, was incredibly fun and groundbreaking when it came out, launched a series which only recently saw the release of another well-loved entry, and is a game that holds up on all fronts today. If you haven’t played it, you definitely should. It’s on my list.

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About Atsinganoi

Atsinganoi started gaming in the early 80s on an Atari 2600 and still thinks they're kinda neat. You can find him on Twitter if you want, just don't call him a frog.


  1. I’m glad you wrote about Diablo, this dispelled a lot of my misunderstandings about the series, or at least the first game. I don’t know why but growing up I always thought this was an MMO, and I typically won’t touch those with a 20 foot pole. The other thing about Diablo for me was that this annoying guy in high school would never stop going on about it (I know I’m terrible and shouldn’t judge by that but oh well). Not to mention I have never really been a PC gamer ever. But after reading your analysis, it seems like I really did miss out on a gem here. I’m glad you had time to go back and replay it to re-live some of your nostalgia, that’s always a great feeling. I wonder if I should go back somehow and give this series a try. Also, Flatulus Smegma? lolololololol XD

    • We’ve all met “that guy from high school.” As a woman, I’m sure you’ve dealt with more than your fair share of them. They ruin everything.

      Anyway, you can play Diablo online (or you could, not sure if you still can). It’s a lot of fun solo, but it was tonnes of fun with a group of friends for me because this was the first game I’d ever done it in. I’ve never played an MMO because they don’t really interest me and I’ve never thought of Diablo as an MMO, but now that you mention it, I’m not sure if it qualifies or not. Can you play World of Warcraft offline or by yourself? I have so many questions now. Regardless, it is still fun, not too long, and still worth playing in my opinion.

      As for Mr Smegma, I hate naming characters, so I give them the worst names I can imagine.

  2. Great read. There were a handful of “similar” games. Fatal Labyrinth, Ultima 7 and 8, etc… But Diablo established both what action RPGs and random generation should be. The inventory system was actually rudimentary compared to a lot of games that came before but it was pretty streamlined all in all.

    All that being said, as a D1 fan, I could never stand Diablo 2. It some ways it was better, but in most ways it took a great experiment in gameplay and polished it down to a nub. Everything about it was just too much. Like the chances of ever finding a useful item. By increasing all of the types of magic, all of the types of weapons, and the total class number and shoe horning them into class specific types the entire meaning of random loot changed. It went from feature to bug in 0 seconds.

    But the difficulty curve was just disgusting. In D1 and EVERY SINGLE RPG THAT CAME BEFORE IT gaining a level meant unlocking new opportunities that are both harder and different as well as making familiar challenges easier. In D2 everything was calculated down to a fraction to make sure that if you didn’t min max the right values you didn’t progress. You never summon a new skeleton or get a more powerful spell. You just get a spell that is exactly as effective as your last one against monsters that have advanced exactly as much as you. Every single moment of the game is EXACTLY THE SAME as the last. It’s the call of duty of RPGs. It became a template on which all future bad decisions in RPGs have been based. Even the mention of stacking potions in the quick bar… Before D2 fun was directly proportional to learning curve. After D2 devs did everything on earth to remove learning curve and add convenience factor. Like you’re in this together and they are going to hold your hand the whole way.

    This is why terms like “Nintendo hard” exist. There is no such thing. There is only Diablo 2/Call of Duty easy.

    • Totally forgot I meant to reply to this.

      Anyway, I loved Diablo 2, but definitely enjoyed the original more. Not sure what it was about the sequel, but it didn’t do it for me in the same way its predecessor did. Maybe it’s because Diablo was so new and original for me. Maybe it’s because I was a few years older and starting university when 2 came out.

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