Checking In

To say I’m excited for this fall would be an understatement. First of all, it’s Fall, and Fall is objectively the best time of year, best season, best vibes, best weather. Pumpkins, Halloween, spooky stuff, gray skies, and dead leaves. As a Fall Kid, I need not explain myself further.

Second – my wedding anniversary! Our first in the “we got vaccinated, thank God” era, and it should be a blast to celebrate another year of being married to my badass wife. We’re still navigating our way out of the fear and weighty nature of the pre-vaxxed months, but between making (and finally meeting!) some great new friends and Donald Trump being kicked to the curb, we have a lot to celebrate.

Third, and I apologize for the length at which I’m going to talk about it in advance, Diablo II: Resurrected is out this September, and I am absolutely stoked.

Let me take you back to approximately 1995. What a divine time it was to be a 9, 10 year old kid. Nickleodeon was churning out its best nicktoons, Batman: The Animated Series was rocking weekday afternoons, action figures and LEGO were churning out bits of plastic to capture young imaginations, and video game consoles were our constant companions – at least if your parents reluctantly decided to shell out the dough for them, that is. Playing with toys and creating worlds of LEGO was in its final stages of accessibility for young me, and at a certain point I do remember putting a few Hot Wheels down on the carpeted floor of the basement, frustrated because the inner machinery I had used to play was no longer working.

Friends and I watched Toy Story at one of their houses, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Typically what would happen after an invigorating movie is a session of playing, going back into the world of the movie ourselves and continuing the adventure. After Toy Story concluded, I remember we all kind of considered our routine, but there was a hesitance. Enough so that we dropped the subject nearly immediately and moved on. It was subtle, but the unspoken nature of “we don’t do this anymore” was there. Our brains had moved on.

Fast forward a couple of years. With our young minds unable to immerse solely with imaginations, it was left to the capable hands of Nintendo, Sega, and computer games to fill that void, and fill they did. Friends would regularly play Warcraft, Command & Conquer, Doom, Age of Empires II, LoZ: A Link to the Past, Final Fantasy III/VI, any number of RPGs, platformers, etc., etc. Eventually one of the games that found its way into our circle was a little ol’ game called Diablo.

What set Diablo apart was excellent gameplay for the time in addition to setting an excellent atmosphere for getting lost in. The mysterious little town of Tristram, the comforting voices of Deckard Cain and the other villagers, and an amazing little soundtrack that immersed you in the environment. Memorable monsters, goofy sound effects, and maps that were never the same to explore twice. It all made for a unique and savory gaming experience that always left its players wanting.

Anyways, I sunk hundreds and hundreds of hours into Diablo II once I had my own computer. Well, well past the time that playing Diablo II was fashionable, and many a night was spent into the wee morning hours grinding Mephisto runs and listening to Metallica. My dad one day was asking me what was so compelling about a game to play it nearly the whole night, and it’s difficult to explain.

Diablo is a very satisfying experience overall, and addicting to grind out the drops and level up your characters. The music, the sound effects, the game mechanics was nearly perfect in Diablo II, at least in my eyes. Most people played player-vs-player or did things together online, but I wasn’t about that. I pretty much exclusively played single-player and got lost in the experience. Couple that with being an introverted kid with too much free time and you’ve got the recipe for alln-night D2 binging.

Blizzard has spent the last few months hyping up the remaster of Diablo II, and the amount of care and respect they have for putting out a nearly unadulterated version of the game has been incredibly appealing. I’m looking forward to revisiting the game this September and enjoying the experience all over again.

Finally, and my wife will love this part, is the return of football season. I’ll give more input on the Bears as we get closer to the season, for anyone who cares, but here in late June I’m thoroughly enjoying the lack of Bears-related news and drama that so often peppers me for 6 months of the year.

I hope anyone reading this is well. The missus and I are rockin’ and rollin’, hanging out with our silly small dogs and making our house our home bit by bit. Here’s hoping the rest of this summer is awesome.

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