A few weeks ago I mentioned playing Diablo II on line with some friends. That has gone quite well, and our Tuesday night virtual gathering is a highlight of my week, but there is an evil downside to this. The great wizard Rico Sanchez warned me that this 'time sucking click-fest' would insinuate itself into my psyche, demanding more and more of my time and attention till all I could think about was the game. Pshaw, thought I. I'm the one who's immune to the lure of video games. I have tried many times to get into gaming. I even had the original Diablo back in 2000, and while I played it nightly for about a week, it soon wore thin and I forgot about it. My wife bought a Play Station II last year, and while we have a bunch of games for it, most require such feats of manual/mental dexterity that I quickly get frustrated and storm off in search of Mythbusters reruns. I have enough trouble keeping the right and left buttons on my mouse straight, never mind having to press square, square, square, triangle, X, X, and stand on my head with my right toe in my left ear to make the ninja on the screen do a flying somersault. I'll take Scrabble any day.
But then came Diablo II.
After our first group game, in which I died twice and often held the group up while looking for them, I decided to practice a bit. I created a disposable barbarian and went zombie hunting. The controls are simple, and the game play is difficult enough to be interesting, but not so hard that you die every five minutes. Before I knew it hours had passed, and the first two fingers on my right hand were killing me. Then Targon asked if we could play just he and I, which we did and I made a different character for that game. Then I decided to see what I could do with a sorceress. She's at 14th level now. Now I'm playing a necromancer who has the creepy, but very useful ability to reanimate the creatures he kills and force them to fight for him. It's wierdly satisfying to go up to the bloody corpse of some beastie that just nearly did you in and make it your bitch.
Then yesterday something happened that made me realize that Rico's prediction had come true. After playing some in the morning before work, I went down to my car, put the key in the ignition, turned it, and heard that dismaying sound of a car that just won't start. The starter moter was turning, the battery was strong, just no ignition. At first there was panic...my car is a decade old with nearly 150,000 miles on her, so any illness could be terminal. Then I paused, took a deep breath, and pondered the least dire possible cause. If she had crappy gas, and was just a bit stopped up, perhaps she would be ok if I let her sit for about an hour. Now here's the disturbing part: my first thought after that was not who to call at work, or whether I should call the wife to prepare her for the possibility to taking me to work and living with only one car for a while, no. My first thought was that I could PLAY THE GAME FOR ANOTHER HOUR!!
Agamemnon the Barbarian
Maenad the Sorceress
Sphigmoid the Necromancer
and somewhere in the crowd,
Oh, yeah, the car. It was crappy gas. I hadn't started her at all Sunday, and she was a bit clogged. Stay away from Sunoco gas if you can.