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Stay Awhile and Listen : How Two Blizzards Unleashed Diablo and Forged a Video-Game Empire

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Two companies. Two opposing cultures. One multi-billion-dollar video-game empire. Stay Awhile and Listen: How Two Blizzards Unleashed Diablo and Forged a Video-Game Empire - Book 1 invites readers to discover the origin of Blizzard North, a studio built by gamers, for gamers, and Blizzard Entertainment, a convergence of designers driven to rule their industry. Composed fro Two companies. Two opposing cultures. One multi-billion-dollar video-game empire. Stay Awhile and Listen: How Two Blizzards Unleashed Diablo and Forged a Video-Game Empire - Book 1 invites readers to discover the origin of Blizzard North, a studio built by gamers, for gamers, and Blizzard Entertainment, a convergence of designers driven to rule their industry. Composed from exhaustive research and hundreds of personal interviews, the Stay Awhile and Listen series divulges the fated meeting that brought the two Blizzards together, the clashes that tore them apart, and their transformation from grassroots democracy to corporate empire. At the center of it all—Diablo, a hack-and-slash adventure through the darkest recesses of Hell that changed online gaming forever.


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Two companies. Two opposing cultures. One multi-billion-dollar video-game empire. Stay Awhile and Listen: How Two Blizzards Unleashed Diablo and Forged a Video-Game Empire - Book 1 invites readers to discover the origin of Blizzard North, a studio built by gamers, for gamers, and Blizzard Entertainment, a convergence of designers driven to rule their industry. Composed fro Two companies. Two opposing cultures. One multi-billion-dollar video-game empire. Stay Awhile and Listen: How Two Blizzards Unleashed Diablo and Forged a Video-Game Empire - Book 1 invites readers to discover the origin of Blizzard North, a studio built by gamers, for gamers, and Blizzard Entertainment, a convergence of designers driven to rule their industry. Composed from exhaustive research and hundreds of personal interviews, the Stay Awhile and Listen series divulges the fated meeting that brought the two Blizzards together, the clashes that tore them apart, and their transformation from grassroots democracy to corporate empire. At the center of it all—Diablo, a hack-and-slash adventure through the darkest recesses of Hell that changed online gaming forever.

30 review for Stay Awhile and Listen : How Two Blizzards Unleashed Diablo and Forged a Video-Game Empire

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    A fun and interesting read about the making of the computer game Diablo. I thought it ended rather abruptly and thought some of the bonus material was unnecessary but I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the game.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Yoly

    Fun story about the origins of Blizzard, focusing on Diablo (the first one) and some Warcraft. I'm looking forward to part 2 which it's supposed to come out in 2019.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    Executive Summary: I can't get enough of Video Game and Computer history books. As a huge fan of Blizzard and Diablo this book was no different. I would have liked some more information from some of the Blizzard folks, but this book still felt well researched and written. Audiobook: I'm a bit torn on the narration. Normally I like a narrator who does a variety of voices. However this is non-fiction. Every time Mike Rylander did a different voice for someone in this book, I got distracted from wha Executive Summary: I can't get enough of Video Game and Computer history books. As a huge fan of Blizzard and Diablo this book was no different. I would have liked some more information from some of the Blizzard folks, but this book still felt well researched and written. Audiobook: I'm a bit torn on the narration. Normally I like a narrator who does a variety of voices. However this is non-fiction. Every time Mike Rylander did a different voice for someone in this book, I got distracted from what they were saying thinking about if that person sounds even remotely like the voice he gave them. I think he does a good job with his volume, inflections and speed but this really kept throwing me off and I think I'd have preferred he simply read the entire book in his own voice. Full Review There are mainly two companies that got me hooked on video games: Nintendo and Blizzard Entertainment. I played a lot of PC games growing up, but no other companies put out games that have sucked up more of my time than those two. I was introduced to Blizzard with a demo of Warcraft 2. I've bought every game they've released since. World of Warcraft has sucked up more of my time than I'd care to admit. Until that game came out however, my favorite Blizzard game had to be Diablo. I spent so many hours both alone and with friends clicking until my fingers were numb. I knew a little bit about David Brevik and Blizzard North before this book. I bought his (largely failed) attempt to release Diablo 3 under a new IP/company Hellgate: London when I found out he was behind it. For me however nothing beats the original. Most people will probably list Diablo 2 as the best/their favorite but for me it's still the original. The first half of this book covers the early career of David Brevik and the Max and Eric Shaefer, who would go on to found Condor Games (which was later renamed Blizzard North). It also spent some time talking about the foundation of Silicon and Synapse (which was later renamed Blizzard). He spent some time talking about the development of Warcraft 1, much to my delight, but most of it focused on the Blizzard North folks. The second half of this book is mostly about Diablo itself. I found a lot of this absolutely fascinating. There were a lot of good interviews, primarily with the Blizzard North founders and what I assume are all former Blizzard employees. It seems that none of the (at the time) current Blizzard employees were willing (or allowed) to be interviewed for the book. I would love to see Blizzard put out a book of their own (especially if it focused on Warcraft) but I thought Mr. Craddock did a good job despite this limitation. I have a few other books by Mr. Craddock on my radar as he seems to have written several non-fiction books after my own heart. I'll definitely pick up some of those books in the future.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Martti

    How Warcraft and Diablo got made by Blizzard and Blizzard North. A bit of fun PC game history written in the vein of David Kushner's "Masters of Doom" and "Prepare to Meet Thy Doom", but not quite. I guess I'm not much of a Diablo guy and although I played Warcraft a lot, I preferred X-COM and C&C at a time. Nonetheless, I hope they're having as much fun nowdays than they were having while developing Warcraft and Diablo! I guess the most enlightening piece I took away from this piece of hist How Warcraft and Diablo got made by Blizzard and Blizzard North. A bit of fun PC game history written in the vein of David Kushner's "Masters of Doom" and "Prepare to Meet Thy Doom", but not quite. I guess I'm not much of a Diablo guy and although I played Warcraft a lot, I preferred X-COM and C&C at a time. Nonetheless, I hope they're having as much fun nowdays than they were having while developing Warcraft and Diablo! I guess the most enlightening piece I took away from this piece of history was the feeling why Diablo and Warcraft have always had something important missing - it's the story. There was no writing and world building involved. That's why it feels so empty and generic. And that's why we have these pseudo-fantasy names and themes without any piece of original thought in sight. Which is incredibly sad. On the other hand, there's no argument that Blizzard is one very important piece of gaming history.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sabin

    Geeky kids, check. Epic dreams, check. Long hours, check. The recipe for a successful game, made by people who happen to love their craft, is all there. And this book describes Blizzard Entertainment's journey from their early years up to the development of Diablo and Warcraft 2. The book is filled with anecdotes and first-hand accounts of the struggles the creators had with many aspects of game development, as well as financial matters and ultimately their own egos. I found it a bit less entert Geeky kids, check. Epic dreams, check. Long hours, check. The recipe for a successful game, made by people who happen to love their craft, is all there. And this book describes Blizzard Entertainment's journey from their early years up to the development of Diablo and Warcraft 2. The book is filled with anecdotes and first-hand accounts of the struggles the creators had with many aspects of game development, as well as financial matters and ultimately their own egos. I found it a bit less entertaining than Kushner's Masters of Doom, but it did scratch an itch for a bit of computer-gaming history. And some of the material here is, on top of that, pretty sensible game-design advice.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ren Bedell

    A look at the history of the creators of Blizzard and their games, Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo. The book gives an interesting look at the creators, their backgrounds, influences, and personalities. It was great to learn about the process of how their games came into creation. The book itself was a difficult though. It is sectioned into main story and "side quests", which are optional. I can see where they are going there. But when it comes to audiobooks, I'm often listening as I'm doing other A look at the history of the creators of Blizzard and their games, Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo. The book gives an interesting look at the creators, their backgrounds, influences, and personalities. It was great to learn about the process of how their games came into creation. The book itself was a difficult though. It is sectioned into main story and "side quests", which are optional. I can see where they are going there. But when it comes to audiobooks, I'm often listening as I'm doing other things so I'm not going to try to find where the next section starts. This also made the narration of timelines very confusing, as it sometimes jumped around. The narrator also did very weird voices for the quotes, but maybe they really spoke that way.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    If you like stories of “how it all started” and how the gaming industry has evolved since the mid eighties, this is definitely the book for you. The layout is a little strange and some of the content unnecessary, but the main book is well worth a listen/read if you’re a gamer and like Diablo/Blizzard.

  8. 5 out of 5

    René

    I must admit I probably wouldn't have read this, was it not for Masters of Doom. Unfortunately the two doesn't compare at all. Whilst I did enjoy the story of how the two Blizzards came to be as well as the formation of the grandfather of modern action RPGs; Diablo, the format of the book kind of got in the way of immersion. Most of it is comprised of quotes from interviewed parties, and the jump between quotes and narrative is tiring. Maybe this annoyance is exaggerated on the Kindle, but to me I must admit I probably wouldn't have read this, was it not for Masters of Doom. Unfortunately the two doesn't compare at all. Whilst I did enjoy the story of how the two Blizzards came to be as well as the formation of the grandfather of modern action RPGs; Diablo, the format of the book kind of got in the way of immersion. Most of it is comprised of quotes from interviewed parties, and the jump between quotes and narrative is tiring. Maybe this annoyance is exaggerated on the Kindle, but to me it was a major detractor and I much prefer the "story" like weaving in of facts as done in Masters of Doom. Aside from this the actual book is only ~3/5 of the numbered pages. The rest is left for footnotes, or "sidequests", as their are so thematically called, as well as some extra interviews. All in all, the material is there, but the presentation is lacking. Not the best of reads.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Charles

    What a mess this book is. The information it contains is some great behind the scenes info on the two companies that became Blizzard, but the timeline is just nuts! You get through the company's porting of SNES games and then suddenly there's a quote from an artist from before that port was even started and then a chapter long rabbit hole that takes place somewhere between those to things. It's just all over the damn place. Also, as I did the audio version, the voice actor was TERRIBLE! Picture What a mess this book is. The information it contains is some great behind the scenes info on the two companies that became Blizzard, but the timeline is just nuts! You get through the company's porting of SNES games and then suddenly there's a quote from an artist from before that port was even started and then a chapter long rabbit hole that takes place somewhere between those to things. It's just all over the damn place. Also, as I did the audio version, the voice actor was TERRIBLE! Picture a 14 year old doing a homosexual Californian stereotype voice, and then a Brooklyn accent, then a surfer dude. Oh man, so terrible I would actually cringe at some of these voices. Bottom line, if you're a Blizzard super fan looking for some behind the scenes stuff from the Diablo 1, Warcraft II era, see if you can satisfy yourself with Google searches. If not, check out the print version of this book and prepare to skip over about half of it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    I enjoyed the book. I wanted to enjoy it, having grown up playing these games and seeing their new gameplay and enjoying them. To hear how their work and experiences lead to these ideas and gave them the opportunities and challenges to overcome. The decisions and debates that were made internally, and as the reader I can imagine what might have been instead. How would Diablo be different if it was not real time? What if Warcraft was serious and not cartoony? Or how close the studios came to fail I enjoyed the book. I wanted to enjoy it, having grown up playing these games and seeing their new gameplay and enjoying them. To hear how their work and experiences lead to these ideas and gave them the opportunities and challenges to overcome. The decisions and debates that were made internally, and as the reader I can imagine what might have been instead. How would Diablo be different if it was not real time? What if Warcraft was serious and not cartoony? Or how close the studios came to failure and financial ruin, before this success. But the audiobook really needs refinement to not read everything in the book. Hearing the full titles of anyone quoted, hearing the headings in the sidequests. And most of all, the narrator's attempt to recreate *everyone's'* voices is annoying. Sometimes, the quotes seem to come from a different person, but often the narrator's basic voice still is audible. Interesting to read, tiring to hear.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    Fun book about the founding of Blizzard, it mostly focuses on the development of Diablo, with some side-trips into Warcraft and Warcraft 2. Overall I enjoyed the book and it'll probably be the best book written about Blizzard. That said, it wasn't the best it could have been. And I listened to the audio book, which has a weird structure ('side quests' with more boilerplate that got read than content), and the narrator did some annoying voices. On the whole, recommended if you're a Blizzard fan. Ot Fun book about the founding of Blizzard, it mostly focuses on the development of Diablo, with some side-trips into Warcraft and Warcraft 2. Overall I enjoyed the book and it'll probably be the best book written about Blizzard. That said, it wasn't the best it could have been. And I listened to the audio book, which has a weird structure ('side quests' with more boilerplate that got read than content), and the narrator did some annoying voices. On the whole, recommended if you're a Blizzard fan. Otherwise, I think you can skip it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cameron Morgan

    If you're interested in the history of Blizzard and Blizzard North and the making of Diablo, you will enjoy this book. It's a mix of interview snippets and cohesive narrative history of all the events that transpired in the creation of Blizzard and Blizzard North. The focus is on the first Diablo. It was great to have a peek into the game development process. Very well-written and engaging. Check it out!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tomáš

    Interesting reading about game development scene in '90s. The title says it all - the book is more about two Blizzards (that is two game development companies and people in them) than about the game Diablo itself. I would give it one more star for more technical details, but I'm probably not the expected audience (which are gamers probably). For this, look for David Brevik's a classic game postmortem from GDC 2016 on youtube.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Hynek

    I have to admit, I’m a sucker for good gaming pioneer history books. And this definitely is one; I still remember breezing through it because I wanted to know more. I roughly knew Blizzard’s history before reading to book but it gave me a much better feeling for the human factor. Anyone who doesn’t care about computer games can subtract 4 stars. :)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

    Holy wow. This is a book of quotes strung together by a tight narrative. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the two companies coming together and the passion they had for creating these great games. It also helps that I've been a Blizzard fan since my early teens.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan S. Harbour

    Absolutely fascinating biography of Blizzard and its founders. A must read for WoW/Blizz fans. I felt so nostalgic I renewed WoW and got my kids back into the game with me. The book doesn't go into WoW, it's about Warcraft and Diablo and ends there. Makes me want to play D2.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Enemby

    Good! But a little too short. Trying to read the end notes and categories are frustrating on kindle. Buttons are placed in different places on each page, and each button rewinds you in pages and loses your place in the book. Not really the fault of the writer, but it affected me.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Martin Stoev

    I like the little stories behind Blizzard. There are so many details that just fit together and a lot could have gone wrong. Nice read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

    The book was good and interesting. The narrator was horrifically bad, especially if you’ve ever heard any of the people quoted speak.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Арсений

    Ультимативный источник о людях, что создали серию Diablo, и про историю ее разработки. По качеству и объему собранной информации «Stay Awhile and Listen» превосходит все, что было написано, и что еще будет. Дальнейшие ретроспективы могут открывать один-два новых факта, но вот этот массив уникальных интервью так и останется недостижим. Раскрывается вся предыстория, ведущая к организации Condor, Inc./Blizzard North. Мы знакомимся с основателями компании, ее главными сотрудниками — теми людьми, что Ультимативный источник о людях, что создали серию Diablo, и про историю ее разработки. По качеству и объему собранной информации «Stay Awhile and Listen» превосходит все, что было написано, и что еще будет. Дальнейшие ретроспективы могут открывать один-два новых факта, но вот этот массив уникальных интервью так и останется недостижим. Раскрывается вся предыстория, ведущая к организации Condor, Inc./Blizzard North. Мы знакомимся с основателями компании, ее главными сотрудниками — теми людьми, что подарили нам Diablo. Рассказ сдобрен множеством зарисовок событий, и огромным количеством цитат, а также побочных рассказов, позволяющих лучше понять жизнь, технологии, игры в те моменты времени. Плюс особенности и сложности разработки, взаимоотношения в команде, вопрос денег, взгляды на управленческие решения с разных сторон. Треть книги посвящена Blizzard Entertainment — ведь без их предложений (реальное время, бесплатный мультиплеер на Battle.net) трудно представить Diablo такой, как мы ее знаем. Читал долго, читал урывками — чтобы усвоить информацию по частям, и чтоб щастье не накрывало с головой. Слишком люблю серию Diablo, и очень сильно интересуюсь ее историей, так что рейтинг мой для книги 6/5. Единственное — можно было сделать глубже части, посвященные гейм-дизайну, написать больше примеров что как было реализовано. Но тут уже был вопрос разрешений от Blizzard, чтобы все это публиковать. Позже Дэвид Бревик, автор идеи Diablo, сооснователь Blizzard North, и ведущий программист игры, провел на GDC 2016 выступление «Classic Game Postmortem: Diablo», и выложил исходную презентацию Diablo, когда она еще была походовой игрой: «Original Diablo Pitch Document». Они отлично дополняют книгу, рекомендую их найти. Эту изначально электронное издание недавно выпустили и на бумаге. Нужно будет купить: Stay Awhile and Listen: Book I Legendary Edition.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Truelove

    It Takes One to Know One! I really enjoyed this book. As a long-time female gamer and bibliophile, fluent in both artistic "languages," I can say, with a smile on my face, that the quote from Erebos, "Stay awhile and listen!" was absolutely not lost on me. Storyline and games intersect yet can also be separate or in the best cases, symbiotic. I wish the sub-genre of techno-fantasy/cyberpunk fiction about gaming and video games was larger, but I also enjoy reading books like this one, regarding th It Takes One to Know One! I really enjoyed this book. As a long-time female gamer and bibliophile, fluent in both artistic "languages," I can say, with a smile on my face, that the quote from Erebos, "Stay awhile and listen!" was absolutely not lost on me. Storyline and games intersect yet can also be separate or in the best cases, symbiotic. I wish the sub-genre of techno-fantasy/cyberpunk fiction about gaming and video games was larger, but I also enjoy reading books like this one, regarding the history and development of games. I'm anxious to see what the rest of the series holds.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    Its a breezy, fun book that tells the story of the early days of Blizzard. Full of anecdotes, trvia and written in a humororus passionate way. Only Flaw that brings it down, for me: its clearly the first part, if not the prologue to a much longer story, the rest of which (according to the author) is still "up in the air". Which is sort of like seeing the fiorst seaon of a cancelled tv show. Pity, and let's hope the rest actually comes

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alexei

    I want more! It's a phenomenal book. Because it consists mostly of direct quotes, there is never a doubt that the author is giving it to me straight, unlike much more editorialized Masters of Doom, and I respect that. It also establishes this rocking flow of a documentary, a couple of guitar chords away from being a BBC Making of a Great Album feature. I hope the Book II is coming, 'cause I want to read that shit right now!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Markus Jevring

    It was pretty good. Very detailed. If you want a shorter version, there's a 20th anniversary blizzard interview that you can watch. If you're really interested in Blizzard North, i.e. the Diablo guys (and gals), rather than the Warcraft guys (and gals), then this is the book for you. Unfortunately, the book only covers events up until the release of the first diablo. I would have liked to see diablo 2, lod and wow as well.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Henry

    Very good book for those interested in the history of Blizzard North (and Blizzard Entertainment). It stops at the release of Diablo, but I am looking forward to the next part. I wish the author could have gotten interviews with people still with the company, as well some more technical information as to how things were done (partly because I have been enjoying Patrick Wyatt's posts at http://www.codeofhonor.com/blog).

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    The content itself is good, flows well, and makes for an interesting read, but the structure of the first half of the book is confusing, leading the reader to wonder exactly which company or person is ultimately relevant to Diablo's production, something which only gets sorted out by the second half. There are also some instances of repeated information, but they are sparse. The way additional information is presented as "Side Quests" is actually fun and makes sense in a book about gaming.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jon

    Much better than I expected. Fairly well written, paced and consistently engaging. Craddock wisely focuses on the rise of Blizzard and the journey to creating Diablo and ends the book right before the actual release. I love the Choose Your Own Adventure style links to the 'extras'. I'm itchin to play Diablo again if I can figure out how to get it running on my Windows 8 machine.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    An interesting oral history primarily focusing on the development of one of my favorite video games, Diablo. The author is sufficiently able to describe the culture of both Blizzard North and Blizzard Entertainment. The only area I wish was greater explored is the technical side of the games's developments.

  29. 4 out of 5

    David Macpherson

    This is the kind of book that they mae fun of. The creation of Diablo using mostly oral history but not completely, it was kind of messy on what was quote and what was narration. There is nothing too exciting about it, though I did finish it, so that says something. Maybe if I played computer games it would mean more to me, but as it is, its doesn't do a thing for me.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nenad Jaksic

    Before reading this book, almost nothing in the world could make me play Diablo I again. Well, now I AM playing it again, and enjoying the hell out of it. I think that's more than enough for a recommendation.

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