DGC Ep 152: Diablo (part one)

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin a new game: Blizzard Entertainment's 1996 classic, Diablo. We situate the game in time and in the RPG landscape of the 90s before diving into the first quarter of the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Levels 1-4

Issues covered: Brett's Ph.D. falls to Diablo, playing in the various pits of LucasArts, games slipping across the industry due to Diablo multiplayer, RPGs of the 1990s, apparent look of Diablo as an isometric turn-based game, tabletop lineage and Western RPGs, limitations on casting, coming from arcade design, the origin of rogue-likes, loot drops, the death of RPGs and the rise of first-person shooter, overturning genre conventions, moving a strategy game reinvention to the RPG, having multiplayer, underpinnings of so many loot systems, screenshot test, limiting down to one character, balancing AI design to allow the player to react, mechanics/dynamics/aesthetics framework, lack of health bars, being pulled in and freneticism and panic, position maintenance and target prioritization, doing everything with one input, lack of numbers, streamlining health/stats, quest selection, saving frequently/infrequently, memorable terrifying boss, simple quest system, multiplayer games, getting a friend to help you retrieve your corpse, lack of game history in the curriculum, DGC timeline, lack of cursing, tenets and pillars of studios as well as for the games, incorporating players into games, fighting each other, Japanese interviews, the show music and production, leveling up spells.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal, Doom, Quake, LucasArts, Duke Nukem 3D, Pokemon Red/Blue, Super Mario 64, Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, Nintendo 64, Game Boy, PlayStation, Civilization II, Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Mario Kart 64, Crash Bandicoot, Meridian 59, Andrew Kirmse, 3DO, Final Fantasy VII, Chrono Cross, Chrono Trigger, Baldur's Gate, Planescape Torment, Betrayal at Krondor, Sierra Games, Ultima VI, Ultima VII, System Shock 2, Fallout, Elder Scrolls: Arena, Might and Magic VI, Wizardry (series), Eye of the Beholder, Ultima Underworld, Gold Box (series), Halo, Dungeons and Dragons, Gary Gygax, Jack Vance, Chainmail, Gauntlet, Nethack, Moria, Rogue, Dave Brevik, Condor Games, PC Gamer, Computer Gaming World, Rise of the Triad, Dune, Command and Conquer, BioWare, World of Warcraft, Fallout 4, Destiny, Dark Forces, Jogsidf, Deus Ex, King's Quest/Space Quest, Johnny Grattan, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill 2, Julian Gollop, X-COM, TIE Fighter, Sakaguchi Hironobu, Ueda Fumito, Kojima Hideo, Suda Goichi, SWERY65, Deadly Premonition, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
The Catacombs


PC Gamer Diablo Preview

Original Diablo Pitch Document

Dave Brevik Classic Game Postmortem

IGN Interview with Dave Brevik

Arcade Attack Podcast Interview with Dave Brevik

Diablo 2 Office Tour

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