You may be unaware that there is "Belzebub", a "HD mod" for the original Diablo, available today, that taches the original engine a few tricks (besides the obvious 1080p resolution), and also re-introduces a lot of the game's planned content that had to be cut from the final release shortly before the gold master was spun. And IT IS AWESOME! Even if you never tried the original classic, you should probably give this a go if ARPGs in a dark fantasy setting are something you might like.
To whet your appetite, check the trailer (https://youtu.be/m4PfLbMJCoA) on the (afaik, unfortunately discontinued) mod's website: https://mod.diablo.noktis.pl/features
The 1.045 release you may still download there (you need to provide a copy of the game's assets in the form of the main CDs ".mpq" data file yourself) is essentially a polished and extended re-make of the original Diablo 1. I played for hours each day for a few days straight after I discovered the project in 2015. Hope someone else in here enjoys it as much as I did! :)
The now-defunct Gametrailers did an amazing retrospective on the Diablo series at some point:
EDIT: I also thought some of the side illustrations looked familiar. They are taken from some illustrations for the Dictionnaire Infernal:
'I remember taking the mouse, and I clicked on the mouse, and the warrior walked over and and smacked the skeleton down, and I was like "Oh my god! That was awesome!".'
'And the sun shone through the window, and God passed by, and the angels sung, and sure enough that was when the ARPG was kind of born at that moment, and I was lucky enough to be there.'
If you're in this part of this comment thread, you'll probably enjoy the whole video.
All that isn't to diminish the substantial achievements of Diablo, which was quite innovative. The fast, smooth gameplay was novel, as was the setting. It was compulsively playable and accessible while a lot of earlier action RPGs were kind of clunky. The art design was superb -- everything from the dreary, gothic environs to the satisfying animation and sound of a pile of gold bursting forth from a slain enemy. It's fair to say that Diablo was a milestone in ARPG history and highly influential.
Diablo changed things in that it focused on action first, whereas the RPG element is just an add-on. Its gameplay cycles between essentially going deeper in a dungeon that's becoming more difficult, obtaining/selling etc. of items/potions in town so that you can descend further. Its story isn't really of (heavy) importance.
Starcraft, WoW, and Hearthstone are also discussed. Warning: audio quality is not great.
I kinda take issue with saying "the ARPG was born at that moment", though. We had JRPGs for almost a decade before that included realtime combat.
It's one of
my strongest experiences of ux ever. The actual realisation of going from turn based balanced fun to tick based balanced fun is far from obvious!
For "over a weekend" read "in a few hours" :)
I beat "Into The Breach" 3 times on hard mode with 3 different classes, and I can safely say that a top-down perspective would have been more intuitive.
It feels like every time I look at the map, I need to rotate the image 45 degrees in my head before I could process what unit needs to do what.
As with any general rule, there are some great exceptions, such as RTSs (Age of Empires, Starcraft) and city builders (SimCity 3000, Caesar 3).
Vaguely related but mildly funny anecdote, I got into this game really late (basically, when it was cheap). I remember buying it from Wal-Mart and also buying one of the bigger bags of crispy M&Ms (Wikipedia says those came out in 1999 so I must have been even later than I remember). The game was incredibly good, but the first couple times playing it, I'm going through said bag of M&Ms because the game felt like a pretty intense movie at the time. Ever since that point, anytime I played that game, I'd crave crispy M&Ms, which went away after a while (though have since come back apparently).
I would kill for Nintendo to release a few old titles on iOS.
Luckily the old 3DS port of Chrono Trigger is good. The only way I know to play FFVI now is with an SNES Classic: an overpriced raspberry pi.
Or with literally any SNES emulator?
As a 10 year old, it was the first "adult" game I played (alongside Leisure Suit Larry). Dropping the turn based style and keeping classes more simplistic was an excellent decision. It's what introduced me to the online world via battle.net and PKing (player killing) was a joy in itself. Clans, online friends, and memories all shortly followed. Loved reading this.
Diablo 1: still better than the 3rd.
Source: overbearing nostalgia
Cheating was a big downside to playing on battle.net though, in my experience. It got so bad that you would enter a game and another player would either crash the game (by dropping a modified ear IIRC) or everyone would be playing with god-mode on. And creating an open, "legit" game only enticed cheaters to join in order to kill everyone. Oh well. My friends and I had plenty of fun playing over IPX and later LAN, or having password protected games on battle.net with people I met in the chat rooms.
I was surprised to find that only a handful of years ago people were still playing on battle.net. Not a lot, but enough to join a couple games and have some fun. Didn't see any cheating, either.
I remember first discovering online mode. Clicking Multiplayer and seeing some sort of "you must be connected to the internet" type message. I started up the dial up connection and tried again and then the world opened up to me.
As much time as I spent on D1 and enjoying myself, it paled in comparison as the gateway drug to SC:BW for me.
I still recall opening a door in the game (with hints of something odd about the tiles behind it) and hearing that come out of the speakers to this day.
I believe that was from Hellfire, right? Was it the character that you could give a moose suit to?
About the one warning I give about the game, is that it doesn't explain in game enough early game. I got frustrated because the early game is really punishing and it's too hard to figure things out since many interactions are probabilistic. I finally found a wiki on the game which allowed me to understand what I was doing wrong (and which dungeon artifacts should be skipped when no protection). After that I fell in love with the gamr.
I remember that this was an issue on initial release and the devs where adamant on not fixing that or even acknowledging the issue.
I remember as a kid being incredibly scared to go from the “open” terrain into the dungeons in Act 1 of D2... I knew it couldn’t be any good. And then facing the terrible Anadriel... GOD I miss that game!
For people who like CCG and roguelike, I can highly recommend Slay The Spire  as it combines the two in an easy to learn, difficult to master game. Its been developed and tested by Android: Netrunner players (CCG-wise I only ever played the orig. Netrunner and MtG in the 90s, orig. SWCCG, and recently Hearthstone). The game is what I wish Hearthstone would've been, and I haven't had so much fun for 16 EUR (compare to Hearthstone...). Its available early access on Steam. Third character isn't yet available.
I ended up giving up on it quickly when I got to the first dungeon/castle and couldn't figure out how to move through the diagonal passages. In later years I unlocked the secrets of the numpad.
He's been working on a new game, "It Lurks Below", you can find it on Steam (not released yet). The game is in closed beta though. He's mentioned that one of his daughters did some of the artwork and has actually released at least one game of her own on Steam as well.
It is basically Terraria with classes (meaning that you pick some kind of special ability at the start of the game), survival elements (need to eat, sleep, etc), and Diablo style randomized loot (all weapons are gun shaped wands with wildly varying stats and firing patterns).
From what i have caught of others playing it, there are even an NPC in town later on (you plop down preconfigured buildings for them) that can reroll old dungeons.
Meaning that you can technically play the same world over and over, rather than keep rolling new ones as seems to be the pattern with Terraria.
It would be pretty weird to have a pitch for Diablo 4 in the 90s, before Diablo 3 was released. :)
Of course, going real-time fundamentally changed the feel of the game, but the initial pitch was much more "bring Moria to the masses".
Worth watching for any fans of the original and if you want more context around that pitch. Lots of interesting tidbits about the origins of Diablo and Blizzard North.
And an amusing moment during the Q&A: Someone in the audience went up and gave David some money to make up for pirating the game when he was a kid.
IGN Unfiltered episode with David about his origins and the creation of Diablo/Blizzard North.
Diablo was one of the earliest games to start exercising those little dopamine hits of microjoy when the monsters go pop, hoping for just one more bit of treasure/xp/whatever.
Apparently that never worked out, maybe because without the ease of downloading it wouldn't have sold enough against a single big expansion
Expansion packs have existed in one form or another for ages, these days they are just that much easier to distribute via Steam and similar services.
Please correct any mistakes I made.
edit: it also took them about twice as long including pre development time.
Someone had built a utility to dump the memory for your character to a file, where if you knew or could figure out the addresses, you could edit it and load it back into the game. I spent a lot of time changing a value in game, dumping the memory, and running a little diff tool I built to figure out where everything was. Then I built a little editor that could edit your character and item stats with a ui that looked like the game.
Such huge nostalgia for that game. StarCraft Remastered really brought back memories too. Blizzard is so, so good at game design.
I'm also glad they had the guts to add permadeath mode into Diablo II.
How would I play the full, original Diablo now on my MacBook, if I wanted a trip down memory lane? I wouldn't even know where to begin.