Yu-gi-oh: Children’s Card Game? Bloodsport?

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Having worked with CCG’s for a good few years now, and played them for about as long, it’s easy to see that different people play these games for different reasons, you have your various archetypal card players:

  • Kitchen table players, who play with their friends as if it were a board game, and pay no or little heed to the grand scale of the games, like competitions or games clubs etc
  • People who play having watched the TV series (if there is one) or video game (if there is one), and play the cards they know from them rather than the “good cards”
  • People who play in clubs that are aware of the good cards but find that they are too expensive or too popular to pick up individually and so build less popular decks in order to play at a somewhat competitive level without spending a fortune or doing what they feel is, for want of a better term, too mainstream
  • Players who want to win and will do anything they can to do it, they’ll spend the money on the big cards, they’ll play until they drop, they go to every tournament under the sun, and look down upon loss, whether it be their own or other peoples’

This article is primarily based on the latter two listed. The Magic community has affectionately given card players 3 archetypes in the way they play: Jonny, Timmy and Spike. Timmy being that player who loves big things to happen in their games, and won’t build decks any other way, whether they be good or not. Jonny being the player who wants to win, but win his own way, the non-conformist, if you will. And Spike being the player who plays only to win. DailyMTG explains this far better than I do; https://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtgcom/daily/mr11b. My problem with Yugioh, primarily, is that these archetypes aren’t actually real anymore, You now seem to have Spikes and Everyone Else, except the Spikes aren’t in it to win, they’re in it to gain fame or make money. Perhaps it’s a part of Internet culture that breeds such attitudes; we can look up how much every card in any game costs, how often a card gets played in top decks, how often a player ranks in the top cuts, etc etc. It’s now become incredibly cliquey, and in order to join said clique, you have to be good enough at the game itself. Seems like a schoolyard, right?

image courtesy of DailyMTG

image courtesy of DailyMTG

It’s a shame that players who go to large scale tournaments can’t so easily walk up to another player and just start talking, particularly if they’re ‘good’. It’s a shame that the way communities are in card games like Yugioh now, you have to know absolutely everything about the game, the prices of the cards, the players who make themselves known and more for fear of being scoffed at. I’m not saying it isn’t a good thing to be knowledgeable, but it certainly shouldn’t be forced upon people in the way it is.  It’s increasingly difficult to get into a game where people don’t want you, almost like a job application requiring experience you’d need that job to have. Whats most upsetting is that this is descriptive of a hobby. Yes, there’s competition involved, yes, there are winners and losers involved, but is it really that impossible to enjoy these games without absolutely HAVING to be at the top but wanting to play with people outside your friend group?

I feel the secondary market has a part to play in the development of such an attitude, as it has brought into these games a factor that wasn’t so prevalent before; money. Yes, of course people have bought and sold cards from one another for years, but it was at a time where you well and truly valued the cards yourself, rather than check the price on eBay, where people were a little happier to play. Nowadays, and I’m sure many people would agree with me here, the mere question: “How much do you value that at?” is enough to make your stomach turn. This is primarily because that isn’t really what you’re being asked. What that tends to translate into is in fact “Do you value this at lower than it’s average cost so that I can grab it from you and trade/sell it at a profit?” You never hear people asking “What would you like for that?” or anything with even a word’s difference, it’s always the same, robotic, heartless question that makes a person who is uninitiated not want to even open a trades folder.  This is the least of worries as well. People steal, people lie, cheat, ostracize, persist, slander, anything to get what they want. I’ve come across a fair few people who call themselves vendors of cards who, while perfectly allowed to refer to themselves as such, aren’t exactly bricks-and-mortar stores trying to make an honest living. Now obviously I’m not naive enough to believe that no person is going to do these things, but the sheer volume of it within this so-called community is disturbing, and I believe needs changing.

Supposedly, the next banlist (which should be announced within the next hour or so) will bring about a new rule that suggests twice as many banlists a year. I think this is a positive step in the right direction. If there are 4 banlists a year, there’s only 3 months before a supposedly ‘broken’ card will be affected by it, and so less people will be willing to spend out as much money on the higher end cards when they come out, which then makes it so that people won’t be quite so eager to try and turn a profit that isn’t there. However it might be too late, and “How much do you value that at” might be too ingrained into people to change things. But one can hope that a start can be made.

It would be good if people also tried talking about things other than the game itself, at least initially in order to meet new people? If not that, as its perfectly warranted for people to want to keep their hobbies seperate from one another, why not share that hobby rather than try to take a ‘winner takes all’ approach? Organise an outing so that even if you aren’t keen on the players or tournament organisers within the parameters of the game environment, learn other things about them you could be? If there’s enough of them, chances are you can’t possibly dislike them all! Put simply, I believe it would be great if everyone were more community driven. Do you have any ideas for making Yugioh or any other competitive gaming scene more easily accessible or more pleasant in general? Do you think there’s actually no problem at all? Leave your comments and have your say!

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10 responses to “Yu-gi-oh: Children’s Card Game? Bloodsport?

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  8. Its a massive problem, and a difficult one to resolve. I feel that its the people involved in the game. They are in general extremely immature, selfish, and disrespectful. Thus this culture has developed of trying to get everything for themselves, winning, and ripping of people etc. The ironic thing I find is that most of these people are probably the nerds/outcasts at school who get/got bullied. Move into Yugioh, they become bullies and horrible people because they are now in a comfort zone. So at tournaments when more is at stake, this is amplified to sickening levels. The example of you and your friends is perfectly normal to me; people want to have fun, or win (because they are really competitive), or simply to hang out with friends who play the game. The only way it will change is if good people start to call out these idiots, and over time you can only hope that a culture change will occur. I don’t think MTG has such issues, but then again they have a much older player base who know how life is like outside of a card game. My comments are pretty broad, so of course doesnt apply to everybody that plays the game.

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