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    Cow King's corral.

    Cow King’s corral.

    Mount Diablo is a state park in Northern California, well inland and southeast of San Francisco and Oakland. The mountain is 3864 feet (1178 m) high and occasionally gets some snow in the winter, but for most of the year it’s just a big, not very steep hill that’s covered in dry grass and lots of pine trees. It’s a nice place for a day visit with some scenic gorges and lots of hiking and biking and horse riding trails. You can even drive up to the summit and an observation point if you don’t mind perambulating along the windiest road since the invention of asphalt.

    Thanks to site reader Skanderbeg for pointing out that it’s in the news lately, as it is every few years, thanks to a massive wildfire raging over the endless rolling hills off to the east. Northern California is warm and very sunny most of the year, but unlike SoCal it’s not entirely covered in condos, and the weather turns quite cool and rainy in the winter and spring. It’s not *that* wet, but there’s plenty of moisture for trees and tall grasses to carpet the rolling hills with an emerald expanse. That grass all dies and turns golden during the rainless-summer, and by this time of year it’s essentially a million square miles of kindling, which is why fires with nearly the intensity of hell erupt every year in the region.

    There are two amusing things about this news; 1) David Brevik was prompted to call his first ARPG by the name of the mountain, since he used to live quite near it in the East Bay, and 2) if you follow the endlessly-winding road out of the park to the west, heading towards Oakland or SF, you pass by the Diablo Ranch. As far as I know there’s zero connection between that and the Secret Cow Level in Diablo 2, but I drove along that road several times when I lived in the area and I and my Diablo-playing friends always felt the need to stop and gaze, with dread and wonder, upon the bucolic farm.

    I never saw any cows from the road, I always half-feared/hoped that I’d see a herd of bipedal bovines ambling towards the gate, halberds across their shoulders and murder in their eyes.

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    Mount Diablo isn’t exactly a towering peak but it can be seen throughout most of the Bay Area on a clear day. Including from San Mateo across the bay, where Blizzard North once existed.

    What happens in the secret cow level, stays in the secret cow level.

    What happens in the secret cow level, stays in the secret cow level.

    IncGamers: Where did the name Diablo come from?

    David Brevik: I thought of the game when I was in high school and I lived in the east part of San Francisco in a town called Danville and I lived at the base of Mount Diablo and that’s where the name comes from. Once I found out what the mountain name was, I thought that was awesome, I didn’t speak Spanish, so I thought I wanted to use that as a title for a nemesis in a videogame. It’s simply from where I lived.

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