Diablo was bound to be a Classic Game of the Week pick sooner or later, and why not sooner? After all, Blizzard's addictive inferno-crawling clickfest remains one of the most universally enjoyed and critically acclaimed PC titles ever created.
Diablo sported a well-worn but accessible premise, great art direction, terrific sound design, a user-friendly interface, and loot-driven gameplay that masterfully married simple action elements with that sense of reward and accomplishment that only an RPG can deliver. And Blizzard brought it all together, in trademark fashion, to create an experience that revitalized the RPG genre and marked the developer as a force to be reckoned with. Diablo also marked the advent of integrated, one-click, free-of-charge online multiplayer gaming through the launch of Blizzard's Battle.net service. Griefing had never been so easy.
I encountered Diablo in the midst of a years-long hiatus from gaming of any kind, when my only PC was a work-issued laptop that I eventually began smuggling home for clandestine dungeon-clearing sessions that lasted 'til the wee hours of the morning. It was the first game to ever give me carpal tunnel syndrome. Who can forget their initial foray into the dungeon beneath Tristram's chapel, as their avatar solemnly proclaimed "The sanctity of this place has been befouled"? Ten years later, and I can still perfectly remember the whoosh of my warrior's sword, the crack and crumble of skeletal remains, and the glorious ringing as gold hit the floor.
As always, if you'd like to nominate one of your favorite titles as a Classic Game of the Week, send an email to [email protected].