Perhaps the handiest way to illustrate Diablo’s (Blizzard, 1996; Apple Macintosh, PC, Sony PlayStation) impact is by comparing it to another breakout hit of the 1990s: id’s first-person shooter Doom (1993; Apple Macintosh, Atari Jaguar, PC, and others; see Chapter 5, “Doom (1993): The First Person Shooter Takes Control”). The two games have much in common. First, they both introduced critical innovations that established new genres. Second, they were staggeringly successful in their own right, inspiring other developers to shamelessly duplicate their formula. Both games offer similar plots (go to hell, confront demons). Finally, and perhaps most importantly, both games took full advantage of the tremendous graphics and networking potential of the PC. Simply put, Diablo did for the action roleplaying game (RPG) genre what Doom did for the first-person shooter. Like all the games in this book, they have helped shape the videogame industry as we know it today. Diablo-inspired games are still produced today, and the major
game sites and magazines wax endlessly over highly anticipated games like Ascaron’s Sacred II: Fallen Angel (2008, Microsoft Xbox 360, PC, Sony PlayStation 3) and Blizzard’s own Diablo III (2012; Apple Macintosh, PC). Although Sacred II and Diablo III boast terrific graphics and interesting innovations, they still have much in common with the original-which was still being sold a decade later as part of Blizzard’s Diablo Battle Chest.