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Guest Article: A History of the Devil -- and What it Reveals about Diablo

Discussion in 'Diablo 2 Community Forum' started by Flux, Mar 20, 2004.

  1. Flux

    Flux Administrator

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    Guest Article: A History of the Devil -- and What it Reveals about Diablo

    http://diabloii.net/columnists/a-history-devil.shtml

    This article summarizes the history of the devil; how various cultures have viewed the mythical figure over time, from trickster to evil incarnate. That much is factual, and largely based on a book cited in the article. The debatable opinion part comes in when the author extrapolotes from the historical and cultural info, and postulates that Diablo the game is more popular in countries that cling to a more frightening and nefarious view of The Adversary, while countries that don't pay Satan much mind have shown less interest in the RPG game we all know and occasionally love.

    Read and see what you think.
     
  2. Turambar

    Turambar IncGamers Member

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    This article is so poorly researched it's absolutely laughable. It reads more like an 8th-grade book report than anything else, and certainly doesn't make any particularly insightful conclusions. So the Diablo series is popular because the "eternal struggle between good and evil" resonates in the American consciousness. Big deal. It's been said before, bub.

    Next time, try reading more than one book on a subject before writing a whole article about it. :rolleyes:
     
  3. KWBishop

    KWBishop IncGamers Member

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    I liked the article very much. Insightful, and an ejoyable read. Thumbs up and props to the author, who had the cajones to submit it despite the possibility of harsh criticism.
     
  4. Baboon

    Baboon IncGamers Member

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    That's as nice read, I enjoyed it.

    About Turambar's remark: yes, He used one book. it's stil way more interesting than most articles here.
     
  5. kaedenky

    kaedenky IncGamers Member

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    Do you expect him?

    Turambar do you expect someone to read multipul books to write a "fun" article for a web site that only a few fans read?

    Your attacks on the writer are disrespecful.
     
  6. Ferrous

    Ferrous IncGamers Member

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    But not unreasonable. The conclusions that the author makes are not quite as profound if they are taken from one book, which is the point that Turambar makes. Regardless, it still brought to light some interesting facts....like how borscht is the devil's instrument.
     
  7. kaedenky

    kaedenky IncGamers Member

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    Hes entitled to his opinion, but saying.

    Its laughable and reads like an 8th grade report is simply a personal attack.

    You said the same thing in a much more constructive way. That is all I was pointing out.
     
  8. jerryku

    jerryku IncGamers Member

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    I always think of economics instead of religion when it comes to cultural behavior. And I like to think that economics leads to religious outcomes, not the other way around. Example: slavery and racism only became un-Christian once they became economically inefficient. Industrial inventions made it obsolete.

    I feel like America and other nations that are striving to be very industrial tend to like "grow in wealth and material possession" games like RPGs/RTSs. South Korea is a big Blizzard fan too. Meanwhile, when I think of European gamers, the first thing that comes to mind is Day of Defeat and Natural Selection. These are FPS games where there are no material rewards, and lots of teamwork required. Dunno what's up over there, but maybe the more democratic economies over there are a part of it :p
     
  9. Turambar

    Turambar IncGamers Member

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    Interesting ideas, jerry. You're right to a certain extent, though I think you're slightly incorrect in pointing out economics as the fundamental reason for cultural change. I would say that your statement only holds true for American culture, where capitalism and therefore the economy is the cornerstone of the society. However, in countries such as Great Britain, where there is a national religion and thus a closer relationship between religion and the state, your theory doesn't work quite as well. For instance, Great Britain abolished slavery before the United States, due largely to the religious/moral arguments of politicians such as William Wilburforce rather than to any economic inefficiency. In contrast, the United States kept slavery going until it became economically and socially unfeasible (as you pointed out). Wilberforce's arguments wouldn't have held the same weight in the U.S. because of the U.S.'s lack of a government-endorsed religion. The difference here isn't economics itself, but the differing societal basis of each country.

    That said, I find your argument far more compelling than the one put forth by Houxis, which relies on faulty information, conjecture, and a single book written by an obscure author. I'd be interested to read more of your theory in this area. Wanna write a rebuttal article? :)
     
  10. jerryku

    jerryku IncGamers Member

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    Haha well I don't have enough to write a whole article :D

    I believe that perhaps Britain's abolishment of slavery may have been easier to do since Britain had never had much invested in the slave trade to begin with. Their economy wasn't strongly tied to slavery, I think the US's economy was much more strongly tied to it. Everytime I see the UK's parliament on CSPAN, there is not a single non-white face there. The country is far less diverse, and I believe that just goes to show that slavery was far less popular in the UK. Without a need for slavery, and without it being a part of British life, it was easy to debate and remove. Also, Britain had a large colonial empire, and though slavery was abolished, it still maintained this colonial empire well into World War 2. Britain's colonial policies were considered a form of servitude from the viewpoint of all of the colonised nations... and Britain, and other European nations never gave up on the idea of colonialism until the National Socialists had severely wore them down. At the end of WW2, Europe was devastated and tired, a ripe time for Gandhi, Ho Chi Minh, Lumumba and other independence-minded people to demand independence. Had the National Socialists not bled Europe dry, I think it's very possible we would still be living in a world where much of the planet is a European or American colony. I say all this to point out that colonialism was considered an extension of the white man's burden, the belief that white people were essentially God's chosen people, chosen to uplift the dirty brown masses and "civilise them with a krag" or something like that. Therefore, Britain's religious government only abolished slavery to replace it with another form of racial superiority ideology, one more globally far-reaching than slavery ever was.

    Here's another thought..... both the US and South Korea are big Blizzard fans. Both nations are constantly at war. The US goes to war about every 2 years, South Korea is, last time I heard, still officially at war with North Korea. There's just a LONG armistice. A Demilitarized Zone always looms on the horizon. I dunno. Maybe both nations' people enjoy Warcraft and Starcraft because they love the idea of getting rich, then using their wealth to build weapons.... and then use it on people. LOL.
     
  11. Panchito

    Panchito IncGamers Member

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    I am guessing then that Blizzard products are really popular in Afghanistan then too? That argument doesn't hold toghether, man. If these countries wanted war they'd go BF1942, DoD, CoD and all such.

    Also, the arguments about diabolic presence in the culture of the country drawing people to play the game is totally off. You tell me what presence does the Christian conception of Diablo have at all in Korea. Also, southern european countries have less Diablo players, yes. And less Starcraft players, and less CounterStrike players, and less of everything, not just Diablo. Doesn't have anything to do with religious evolution, it has to do with the amount and quality of our internet connections, mind you.

    Not that i really mind about any of this stuff, but it'd be just better if people stated when are they pulling arguments out of their nether regions when writing this kind of stuff. Either that, or if you're joking make it obvious, as in the Lion's Toes article series.

    Peace all. :)
     
  12. j_vellinne

    j_vellinne IncGamers Member

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    I do have to agree this sounded like a book report, though. Yes, in a fashion, that's what it was - more about the book than any link to the game, or any real discussion of "the devil" in culture or history.

    About the other arguments - the US abolished slavery during the Civil War, not for any grand and noble ideals, but to strike a blow against the then-rebel southern US economic foundation. We just dressed it up afterward.

    As for religion and politics, they go hand in hand - much more overtly during the middle ages, when a ruler relied on the "blessing" of the Church as much as his vassals or armies. That's a lot of power to put in one man or one organization's hands (and the reason for the existance of the Anglican church.) No noble or holy ideals - just a group trying to find more ways to obtain and maintain control over people. And if you think it's not true any more, look at the world today - Iraq's constitution signing being held up by the protests of a cleric. Rome denouncing one thing after another (and being soundly ignored by most in the US.)

    "The devil" and those "associated" with him are useful tools for people like that, that's all. Don't agree with a group? They obviously "Worship the devil" and must be "cleansed" (usually by taking their property, often followed by killing them.) Want to give rationale for discrimination? Those people don't agree with us, worship the same way, think our priest/pastor/etc. is the mouth of our god, they obviously are devil worshipers and not worthy of consideration.

    The story's been played out over and over again. Want to see the devil? It's not in a video game or book. It's in the heart of Man.
     
  13. Anyee

    Anyee IncGamers Member

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    S is for straw man, good enough for him.

    Oddly, not all Koreas are martial arts masters following Zen Buddhism. I know a LOT of Christian Koreans. I think you've got a point, though it was based on all the wrong stuff: it's culture that encourages video game playing in general. I think D2 is so popular because, shocker, it is a good game.
     
  14. psyadam

    psyadam IncGamers Member

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    Diablo is a good game, but I wonder why it doesn't have enough popularity for further development.
     
  15. houxis

    houxis IncGamers Member

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    thanks all

    Thank you all for the nice - and even the not-so-nice - comments. Indeed, all I wanted to do is to provide you with a book summary that might tell us something about our fondness of Diablo. I am happy the article has inspired this debate. While reading Muchembled's work I couldn't help switching my thoughts back and forth between the book and Diablo. Therefore I thought it would be worthwile to write this article.

    For me, personally, the big eye-opener was that I was not playing a game based on a Medieval image of the Devil. Diablo represents the post-Renaissance view of Evil, not the one common during the Middle Ages.

    Again, thank you all for your feedback.

    Regards -

    Houxis
     

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