Saturday, February 13, 2010

Findings from Playing Diablo 2 Excessively

It is quite evident from the fact that I am still playing Diablo 2 after more than 10 years that I have spent an excessive amount of time on it. However, it is only recently that I was able to attain a small measure of success in it, completing about 6 of the 7 available classes (I am now attempting the last class).

On Saturday I made an unexpected discovery; I was playing Diablo 2 with my earphones on when I was momentarily distracted by the television behind me (to be entirely accurate, it was the television programme, but this ought to be obvious). Since I was in town, there was no danger of any sudden death by stupid causes, so I removed by earphones and split my attention between the television and the usual logistics tasks done in town (selling loot, repairing gear, cubing etc).

I had an excess of gems, so I cubed them. As I was moving a gem into the Horadric cube, I heard a faint ring. Curious, I repeated the gem movement, and the ring was heard again. This was interesting; the earphones were placed relatively distant from my ears, and yet the faint tone was audible. Perhaps it was because the gem sound was sharp and of high frequency, hence it was more easily transmitted.

I next tried moving other items. Skulls were, perhaps expectedly, quite inaudible from the distance, since the dull "plopping" sound wasn't very sharp. The metallic clang from shields was somewhat more audible, but very significantly less so compared to gems. Charms were quite detectable from a distance, almost similar to gems, though it required some training as the sound wasn't quite as sharp as compared to gems. It was an interesting experiment to run.

Another finding made with the earphones off was that the game seemed to run slower; movements seemed more sluggish, and actions more delayed. In retrospect, sound may actually serve to affect our perception of time; a sound effect may not sound long but may actually occupy a significant amount of time and attention.

Perhaps playing without sound may serve to improve my neurokinetics.

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