It’s been 23 years since the original Diablo released on PC and started what would become known as the action RPG genre. Whereas previous high-fantasy games almost universally used a top-down view and turn-based combat, Diablo did everything in real time with the player’s reflexes determining whether or not they lived or died at the hands of an oncoming horde of demons.
To be fair, those reflexes mostly involved how quickly you could hit your left mouse button. However, at the time, this was paradigm-shifting stuff.
Diablo would eventually spawn two sequels which have brought countless millions of dollars to Blizzard Entertainment, and a fourth installment is in the works. You can play Diablo III on every major console currently available, and there are persistent theories that a remastered version of Diablo II is currently under development.
But what about the first Diablo? Well, not too many people are interested in the original game these days, but you can still buy it on GOG.com with the Hellfire expansion for a very reasonable price. Alternatively, you can play it on the Nintendo Switch thanks to a very enterprising community of Diablo fans.
Fair warning though: this is not an authorized Blizzard product and is technically a hack. Also, the first line of the readme file states this port is full of bugs and to use it at your own discretion.
To get Diablo for Switch, you’ll first need to get root access to your Nintendo console. This will definitely void your warranty, so consider that before you start messing about. Next, download the GitHub repository for Diablo. It’s actually called DevilutionX, which is a reverse-engineered version of the original game made to work on modern hardware. The process by which this port was developed was highly complicated, but rest assured that it required a lot of very smart people doing a lot of hard work for your benefit.
Next, extract the contents of the zip file to SDMC:witch\diablo-nx. Then, you’ll need to grab the DIABDAT.MPQ file from your original Diablo CD-ROM or from a GOG install version of the game (this is how the developers of this port get around the whole piracy problem).
Finally, click “diablo-nx.nro” and you’re off to the races.
The Switch port uses mostly the same controls as the PlayStation 1 port but makes the right analog joystick stand-in for your mouse when you really need it.
As for a remastered Diablo II, that’s still a rumor for now. Regardless, it is one fans will surely keep their eyes on.