Diablo fan, Shivan Bhatt, lost his best friend to cancer. His most cherished memory? Playing Diablo together.
At Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, David Brevik, co-founder of Blizzard North, gave a behind-the-scenes presentation of Diablo, the classic PC game from 1996.
Brevik revealed the origins and creation of Diablo. But what happened at the end of his presentation took Brevik’s breath away.
Diablo fan Shavim Bhatt stood up and asked a question that was on his mind.
“I asked a question about Battle.net and while he answered, I started checking my wallet,” says Bhatt. He happened to have 40 bucks in his wallet, which is near precisely the amount that Diablo cost when it was released back in 1996.
Bhatt had never paid for his copy of Diablo. He had a pirated copy. “I was 16 years-old, and my friend had gotten his first ever CD-R drive. It took something like 4 hours to copy a game or music CD, and the discs themselves were hella expensive. We were just excited to try it out.”
Bhatt used to take his PCs and consoles to his friends houses so they could all play the latest games together. But at the time they couldn’t afford the games, so they pirated them. “As high schoolers, we didn’t all have much in the way of money, and my mom wasn’t about to buy a game like Diablo for me, so copying was the way. It was one of the first games passed around my group like this.”
Bhatt and his friends were huge fans of fantasy games. So naturally Diablo was one of their favourite games. Battle.net also meant that they didn’t have to lug boxes around, making it a favourite.
Bhatt got his pirated copy of Diablo from his best friend. Years later, his friend died of cancer. And it was then that Bhatt realised precisely how much games meant to him and his friends (and to all of us).
“Diablo was our favorite thing to do together,” Bhatt said. Bhatt now looks back on his pirated games in a different way. He says he knows the huge value that a developer like Diablo gives to people and to the community.
Diablo was one of Bhatt’s favourite memories of his friend when he was healthy, before he contracted cancer. And he felt that in order to honour the memory of his friend the best thing he could do would be to pay Blizzard for the game they had pirated.
“I felt that thanking the creator of our shared passion was the best way I could honor my friend’s memory.”
It’s a beautiful tribute to a friend. And it shows just how much we all love those hours we spend together playing games.
Have you got a favourite memory of playing games with best friends when you were younger? Share this story with them.