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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Die die must Diablo

Gaming fans have crazy plans for marathon sessions with the launch of Diablo 3 after 12 years of waiting
The Straits Times - May 13, 2012
By: Kenneth Goh
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Die die must Diablo Video producer Benjamin Goh postponed his honeymoon with fiancee Kuek Shao Yang (both above) to next year so that they can stay home to battle the monsters. -- PHOTOS: TERRENCE LIM FOR THE STRAITS TIMES, BLIZZARD

What would possess a man to postpone his honeymoon? A computer game, among other things.

Video producer Benjamin Goh, 30, will tie the knot on May 26, but his real Big Day, it seems, is May 15 - the release date of hit action role-playing game Diablo 3.

Mr Goh, who is engaged to 24-year-old nurse Kuek Shao Yang, says: 'If we had known the release date of Diablo 3 earlier, we would have brought forward our wedding, so that we can play the game with peace of mind.'

The couple are postponing their honeymoon to Japan to next year, also partly due to work commitments. Instead, they will stay home to slay the horror- themed game's monsters together.

'May 15 will be the last day of our social lives,' the groom-to-be proclaims dramatically.

After the launch of the game, he adds, 'the only time we will discuss our wedding is the day before it'.

Like Mr Goh, legions of Diablo fans in Singapore have been waiting 12 years for the sequel to be released and with the impending launch, anticipation is boiling over.

Besides swatting away events such as wedding preparations, fans are clearing the decks for wicked gaming marathons by taking leave from work as well as rescheduling appointments.

Diablo fan Kelvinson Kiew has taken half a day off from work next Tuesday to collect his pre-ordered game from Qisahn at Far East Shopping Centre. He will then head home immediately to start 'slashing' his way through the game, which allows players to complete quests by killing devious characters and picking up prizes.

Mr Kiew, 26, a staff nurse, was in secondary school when Diablo 2 was released in 2000. 'I had to study then and my parents controlled my gaming time. Now, I have the freedom to play as long as I want,' he says.

The previous two instalments of Diablo, which were released in 1996 and 2000 respectively, have sold more than 17 million copies worldwide.

Diablo 3, by developer Blizzard Entertainment, is distributed by Asiasoft Online here.

The online single or multi-player game, for PC and Mac, will boast new features such as an in-game auction house where players put their virtual weapons up for sale and receive real money through PayPal.

As with the previous instalments, players select and control their character from one of these classes - barbarian warrior, devoted monk, demon hunter, witch doctor or wizard - to help keep earth safe from the hordes of hell.

Freelance film producer Wong Jun Heng, 33, is planning to reschedule client meetings and clear his assignments to make time to hit the keyboard for a 17-hour Diablo marathon daily for a week.

His fiancee, Miss Yuen Yi Ying, 26, an assistant magazine editor, finds his gaming plans 'ridiculous'. She says: 'I wanted to take leave to go on a holiday, but he refused as it crossed over the release date of Diablo 3.' She has made plans to work late next week, in view of his impending absence.

Mr Wong says: 'I feel a little guilty about having to take time away from her. I will make it up by taking her out for a nice dinner or cooking a meal later this month.'

A couple who play Diablo together, however, is spending next week together.

Technical officer Lukas Yong, 25, and his wife Joansy Aw, a 26-year-old teacher, have pre-ordered two sets of the new sequel, all the better for being on the same gaming team simultaneously. And they are devoting their nights to battling it out onscreen for the next few weeks.

Mr Yong, a Diablo fan of 15 years, says: 'I have warned my friends on Facebook not to disturb me on the weekend that Diablo comes out, but I am not so crazy as to switch off my mobile phone.'

Diablo 3 is not the only computer game to spark such a frenzy among fans. Other 'life-changing' games include the World of Warcraft and Starcraft series of games, which inspire long queues when each instalment is released.

What sets the upcoming launch of Diablo 3 apart is the longer-than-usual gap of 12 years between the release of version 2 and 3.

Bridegroom-to-be Goh has also taken two days off work next week for some uninterrupted gaming.

He says he will be spending up to five hours a day battling the demonic hordes till June. 'I like the game's dark graphic style and enjoy trying out the crazy powers of the witch-doctor character,' he adds.

His fiancee, Miss Kuek, says she is only a 'casual player' but has taken a day's leave to queue up with him to collect his pre-ordered set next week.

He says, with a laugh: 'I am very lucky that she also understands how awesome this game is.'

kengohsz@sph.com.sg

'I have warned my friends on Facebook not to disturb me on the weekend that Diablo comes out, but I am not so crazy as to switch off my mobile phone.'

MR LUKAS YONG, a technical officer, on devoting nights to battling it out onscreen with his wife Joansy Aw

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