Chatter #18: June 20, 2001

12/14/2001 — I started the Chatter section on July 27, 2000 when I noticed that the rest of my site was sometimes getting cluttered with lots of text. I'm a talkative guy, after all! So now I talk about my life here, instead of all over the place. Originally this was one huge section, but in December of 2001 it simply became too large to remain as one page, and I broke it into dated sections, as you can see. —>PM


This & That

I've been terribly backed up on responding to my email; one of these days Real Soon Now I need to buckle down and start writing back to all of the people who've been good enough to write to me. But it's hard to find time. Also, I sometimes wonder whether I should respond to guestbook entries in the guestbook, via email, or both. Mostly I've been responding by email only, but perhaps it would be better to also post my answers to public emails publically? It might stimulate discussion. Of course private emails and private guestbook entries would remain private!

There've been a few new entries into the Chaos Project by visitors (which I really appreciate), but most of the material has been by yours truly (I had a rush of inspiration a couple of days ago). I'm trying to think of ways to twist arms encourage my friends to put in some ideas. Would emailing them and asking for ten found items apiece be obnoxious, do you think?

On the Diablo front, I'm still addicted—but the grip may be loosening a bit. I've now killed Diablo so many times that it's starting to get boring. Still haven't killed him solo in Hell Difficulty on, but frankly the whole thing seems just a little boring. Still, it has been interesting developing powerful characters without cheating. My latest character, Warrioor (I typo'd when creating him), has been particularly interesting; despite what most online articles say, he's actually more effective with all his resistances at zero and a huge armor class (he's wearing Gotterdamerung, an Awesome Shield of the Ages, and Glorious Plate of Sorcery—which itself surprised me by being superior to the Demonspike coat).

While playing him at earlier points I made an interesting discovery which I wrote up on Even a relatively low-magic fighter can be extremely effective with the proper use of the Firewall spell. I can actually clean out the 16th level of Hell much more quickly with a fighter using Firewall than with a mage who is twice as high level using other techniques. Very surprising!

But that reminds me of something about Diablo that has always bothered me: oh damn. Although Diablo I is now extremely passe, I shouldn't spoil the ending for those who haven't played it but might some day. Let me see...ah. The spoilers are in the box below. To view them, click in the upper left-hand corner of the box and drag to the lower right-hand corner:


The thing that bothers me about Diablo is the end: it's sooo damn depressing! You've spent hours, many hours, being scared (I have to admit that the music of Diablo really got to me—it's creepy! Later I figured out how to turn it off), and after tons of hard playing you've finally managed to slay the monster and save the world (and the town). Your reward: A self-administered soul-spike in the head and a chance to destroy your soul and become Diablo! I understand that the game was originally intended to have more information, which would make it clear that that was the only way to imprison Diablo...and I'll give Blizzard credit, it's a very dramatic ending. But damn! It's a real downer! And it doesn't help that in Diablo II your task is to kill Diablo, who used to be your previous PC. Why couldn't they have had some movies of the townspeople thanking you for saving them?

Actually, the whole issue of endings of video/computer games is an interesting one. Personally, I believe that they should be a reward for the player, even a memorialization of their hard work and the fun they've had. All too often, though, they're a huge disappointment.

Splatterhouse (for the Turbo Graphx 16 video game system) was a good example of a game with a bad ending. You take your chainsaw-wielding maniac through hell itself to rescue your girlfriend, and (as I recall) if you win, you end up sharing a grave with her because you were both dead to begin with! I don't think you even got to SEE her, much less have a reunion! A remarkably quick and depressing ending.

On the other hand, the arcade laser disk game Dragon's Lair had a pretty good ending. Princess Daphne had to be the hottest thing ever seen in cartoons up to that time, and the reconciliation with her was gratifying, though a bit quick. But the best video game ending I've ever seen was for Bonk's Adventure (also for Turbo Graphx 16). Now there was a game! It must have taken a hundred hours of playing to win, easy—and even now that I know all the tricks it still takes about 90 minutes to play through (I play it for my nephew, who for some reason enjoys watching it). The ending alone had to take at least five minutes, which is an incredibly long time! Princess Za transforms and kisses you, every boss thanks you for freeing them, says something funny and flies back to Moonland, and the bunch of them smile and wave at you and thank you for playing. Then you get the best credits around, showing every character in the game and giving their (usually amusing) names! Like "T. Ractorhead", for example. When that game was finished, you felt good!

Ahem. Here endeth the rant of the day.

By the way, Dragon's Lair is now available on DVD and DVD-ROM. And there are Turbo Graphx-16 emulator programs which work nicely on even a slow PC, and ROMs are available for many games online.

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[email protected] Copyright 2001 by Peter Maranci. Revised: December 14, 2001. version 1.0