Well, here we are. Technically, as of today, a whole year of writing about video games.
Of course, since it’s me, I didn’t realize until way too late that this was a leap year, meaning that I’d have to tack one extra entry on there at the end just for completion sake. I suppose that’s not so bad considering I’ve made it this far. When I look back at the year and how it’s gone, both in the context of this project and the direction of my life in general, I have mixed feelings, but in the strict sense of checking games I wanted to cover off of an arbitrary list, I’ve done quite well. I’ve known from the start what the final day was going to be, but aside from that, I had a roster of heavy hitters that I wanted to get around to. I can say with confidence that I wrote about every single one of them – except one.
I never wrote about Diablo.
Diablo II, specifically, is one of my favorite games of all time and for sheer hours played, it may be the game I’ve spent more time with than any other. It was the only thing I played for about a year and a half, clicking endlessly into the night until my hand cramped into some sort of mangled claw form.
“So why”, you’re probably asking, “am I not reading an entry titled ‘Diablo II’?”
Because I couldn’t do it.
Of course, my high-level character from years-past is long gone, but this isn’t a “never go home again” situation. Part of me was reluctant to sit down with it again simply because of how unproductive it likely would have made me, but the bigger issue was one of making sure I could do the game justice in a way that was reflective of my history with it, and none of the words I could come up with felt quite right. It was then that I realized that, despite my love of Diablo II, I don’t really have a lot to say about it. It’s a weird thing for a writer to deal with, feeling as if we are defined by our ability to create meaning and substance out of literally anything. But the more I thought about my relationship with that game, the more I thought about why it was so important for me at that point in my life. Diablo II was my escape. I latched on to it for the specific reason that I didn’t ever have to think much about what I was doing, since the act of doing anything was enough for me in that moment to not think about anything else in my life.
Now, as I look back at the year behind me and all that I still have to do, I feel a tremendous burden when I should be anticipating some level of impending relief. My brain, unfortunately, has never worked quite the way it should. I’m tired. I’m stressed the fuck out. I’m worried about the future in ways that I can’t express to loved ones for fear of concerning them. I am, in this moment, not too disimilar from the kid that got lost in front of that monitor for days at a time. I, like him, needed something to scratch that same itch, something I could get lost in while blaring music as loudly as I could because the combination of sights and sounds would maybe somehow take me to a different place, where my only concern is the next piece of fancy loot and where my next objective marker happened to be.
For that, I thank you, Torchlight II.