The gaming industry is pretty terrible at preserving its rich history. The hard and thankless work of making sure classic games are still available to future generations is done by third-parties, some of whom even risk lawsuits from companies that are not at all interested in doing that but continue to close off these games to protect their IPs decades after their day in the market. Fortunately, through odd twists in history, the code for the original Diablo has more or less become available to the public, leading to one of the oddest ports of the game: Diablo on the Web.
Diablo was one of Blizzard’s biggest tiles, both because of the fame it received among gamers and its infamy in media. Despite that, however, the company has let the franchise fall by the wayside. It was only recently that Diablo III was released but even before then, the first Diablo game was quickly abandoned, never to see formal patches to fix long-standing bugs.
Thanks to some carelessness on the part of the game’s developers for other platforms, Devilution was board. The project on GitHub aims to provide a better foundation for patches and mods for the original Diablo. It is so faithful to the game that it even preserves the bugs of the 1996 title.
One of the mods to come out of that was made by mod group Rivsoft which basically lets you play Diablo on the browser. It’s not a call to piracy, though, as you do need the original game or play only the free shareware version. You don’t need the actual old installation media, of course, as you can buy a copy from GOG and use the same DIABDAT.MPQ file to play.
At the moment, there doesn’t seem to be any legal hounds set on either group just yet. They are trying to stay on the good side of the law by only recommending legally-acquired assets and not shipping those themselves. That said, they’re still standing on rather shaky ground and who knows how long before the project is slapped with a C & D.