Priorities, priorities

Priorities, priorities

2 August 2012 | 5:40 pm

Nurturing the child in me is something I consider important for my own sanity, and a great coping mechanism for the pressures of my role as a dad…

Belinda: “I’m so excited about May. It’s going to be great!” (Thinking about our son’s first birthday, which was on May 3.)

Me: “So am I!” (Thinking mostly about Diablo 3, which came out for PC on May 15… And maybe a little about my son’s birthday.)

This was a typical conversation with my wife from March and April this year. Sure, this might have cost me a few Father of the Year points, but there’s something pretty special about the anticipation and excitement a gamer feels for a big game release. Especially in this case, as it’s a Blizzard Entertainment production, and these guys don’t release games every day. In fact, it’s been twelve years since Diablo 2 came out, a game that would easily find a spot on any Top 5 Games of All Time list.

Oh yeah, the whole “choosing a game over my son’s birthday” thing. Before anyone starts rolling their eyes, let me point out a few important facts:

  1. My relationship with Diablo started in 1997, or fifteen years ago.
  2. My relationship with my wife started seven years ago.
  3. Even if I added in the 12 months of my son’s age, I’ve still had a relationship with Diablo for almost twice as long as my family added together.
  4. Having said that, my relationship with Diablo has been strictly platonic.

To be honest, the anticipation has occasionally strayed into being a bit of a worry. At almost any point from mid-March on I was able to tell anyone interested how many days and even hours remained until release. Not many people asked, of course, so it was information that was only really useful to me. I would check out screenshots, read previews and developer diaries, and scour the internet for information. I even booked the two days after release off work so I could play it. Grandpa was organised to mind my son those days, so I could really soak up the experience.

The good news is that now, several months after release, I’m still loving the game. There are certainly issues – the constant requirement for an online connection to play gets annoying, but Diablo has the same addictive formula of an action roleplaying game, together with being drip-fed better equipment for your character that the series has always enjoyed. The wait – together with the years of anticipation – has been well worth it.

Maybe I’m exaggerating a little when it comes to the fact-finding part of this, but I’m glad I still get excited about this kind of thing. I’m looking forward to finding out what motivates this same joy in my son in the future.

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