[pixelation | weekly gaming column every wednesday]
Diablo II turned ten yesterday. Wait, what. Really? Ten years. Jesus Christ. So that wretched, chill-inducing screeching I hear is in fact time being dragged down the corridor all too quickly. Why, it feels like just yesterday I was sitting in my room, covered in a pile of Pepsi cans, trying my god damn hardest to farm Mephisto for ill loots. Caloric intent high. Sleep minimal. Bone marrow? Yep. Laced to to the very core with caffeine.
Then is now.
Now is then.
Diablo II is one of those touchstone games that you can go back to. If you’ve played it. It’s the sort of game you can drunkenly bring up with a pack of friends who experienced it and just smash the red button labeled “Holy fuck, Nostalgic Trip” while buckling the fuck up. In almost no time, the people around you will be awash in a vernacular they don’t understand. “Motherfucking Stone of Jordans” and “Fucking Mephisto runs” and “Dude, dude, remember when the shit I traded for was actually duped, and when I logged in, it was gone?”
It’s deep, yo. Deep within my breastplate of rot. I can’t ever become jaded, Diablo-fueled nostalgia keeps me warm.
A decade ago. Fifty pounds heavier. One worn and gooey virginity card tucked into my pocket. God, was I going to hold that thing forever. Long shitty hair. But still super-pumped. But still super-enthused. About everything. A summer like this. Like any other summer. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The crack. Before World of Warcraft stole my life, there was Diablo II. It cracked my Ridiculous Gaming Sessions hymen. Gouged with a sharp-stick, thrust with ill-intent.
Oh for sure I had played games for ten hours in a row before Diablo II. Oh sure, I had cranked out entire games in a couple of sittings. But fucking Diablo II, yo. That shit wasn’t a game. It was crack. I didn’t just play it. I lived it. Senior year of high school was merely seven hours of diversion before I could go farm Act III for another five hours. The repetitious gameplay giving away to an insatiable need to have better shit. God damn Blizzard. A decade later and the same technique still drives people who play WoW.
The mentality is simple: I need better fake things, and because I need these fake things, I’m going to stay up real late and compulsively play and ruin my real life.