I love Yugioh style game cartoons and comics. My favorite is probably Hikaru No Go. They somehow perfectly capture the ridiculous importance we place, as a species, on meaningless competition. For my money no one interjects drama into the mundane like the Japanese. I always thought it was strange that Wizards Of The Coast, or whoever own Magic the Gathering now, never made a play for a comic/cartoon based on the game. Of course their strategy of pro tournaments worked just fine, so maybe they felt everything else was not necessary. Plus, Magic rotates cards out of league play too fast. You need a more static game for an animated series to work. Even so, I would have loved to have seen a Magic anime.
The problem Mike has with Yugioh is the very reason I never played it. Even thought the math is easy if you drop the zeros I always had a mental block that made me freeze up when trying to quickly do the sums. If I had actually given it a go I would probably have learned to do it after a while, but I never made the leap. Plus, it was another expensive game at a time when I didn’t have much money.
For me, excepting for Magic, there were no people to play CCGs with. Pokémon had a big enough following for a while, but X Files, Star Wars, Dragonball Z, never did. So I had cards with no one to play with. I could probably still find a game of magic even in the one horse town near where I live. That’s how good the marketing for Magic has been. Leagues ahead of anything else. Market saturation. I’ve actually been approached twice by Magic players just because I was standing near the display. I apparently have the look of a fellow card monkey. I won’t even attempt to argue that one. I briefly entertained the thought of trying to teach the Teen to play a card game of some sort, but she just doesn’t have the head for it. Not because she’s deficient in maths. In fact she’s pretty good at math on her own. No, she just doesn’t care for strategy of any kind, and has no interest in competition. To that I say fair enough. We can’t all like the same sorts of frivolities. It would have been nice though, to scratch that itch once in a while. She did enjoy Cards Against Humanity for a while, but only because it’s Apple To Apples with swears. The swearing was pretty much the only thing that kept that going for so long.
I still have a complete set of Homelands. A set so obscure now that when I mentioned it to one of the players I mentioned before they had no knowledge of it whatever. Since old sets are cast aside these days it’s little wonder. I expect none of the cards are allowed in sanctioned play anymore. Also, Homelands was a shit series. There were almost no serviceable cards.
I also have all of my Pokémon cards, and Animehem, which was a ridiculously convoluted game based on the handful of Japanese cartoon known in the west at the tail end of the 90s. Tenchi Muyo, Dragonball, Ranma 1/2, Bubblegum Crisis, ect. I’m, fairly sure I still have a box of X Files cards. I bought them out of fervor more than fandom, since I barely watched the show. I’d always intended to sell them off, but never got around to doing so. Most of my storage is like that. I’ve never been one to toss things away if they still had potential value to someone.
My NES collection, for example, is on borrowed time. I’ve accepted, in my heart, that I’m never going to play those games again. They were fun at the time, but I’m not going to have anyone top leave them to. I’ll die and they’ll get thrown away by people who don’t care about the history at all. So, at some point I’m going to sell them, or give them to friends. I just have to get to the point where I have time and can bear to part with that element of my past. The problem is when I look at them I remember things. Playing Super Bomberman with a room full of stoners in art school, Tetris on the back of the bus on school trips, listening to the final fantasy OST as I walked home from school. I fell in love, what I thought was real, true, love, while playing Secret Of Mana, Final Fantasy 2 and 3, Chrono Trigger, Secret Of Evermore, and others. Those games are all tied up in those memories the same way Disney movies of the time are. On some level it feels like getting rid of them will allow me to forget those days for good, and I’m still not sure I want to. Some part of me will always be in love with that red haired girl who played Illusion Of Gaia with a zeal only another gamer could understand.
Getting rid of that stuff will remove an anchor in my mind that holds those memories. There was a time when I would’ve plunged the knife into that version of my past self gladly if I could erase those memories. Even now I don’t look fondly back at them. They just ignite a little bit of the fire that used to power me. They’re just spikes I can rake my heart over when I need to remember how to feel again. It seems like an addiction sometimes. A high I get from the past. A past where I thought I was the hero, but turned out to be the antagonist. Except I didn’t have sense enough to die when the hero beat me. Instead I wander this purgatory of mundanity, grasping pathetically at something like a happy ending. I don’t wander alone though. Heroes are rare. Villains abound, and cling to hope. Hope that maybe in the last act we’ll get a redemption arc and be included on the cover with the good guys before the series ends.
A good friend of mine has had more success with love than I. Natasha, I’ve mentioned her before. She had a comic that started around the same time as this one, but her story arced away from that path. Still, she always seemed to be there for me when I needed support. There were times when I might have walked away from this endeavor if not for her. I try never to forget a good turn done for me. To that end I would like to direct those of you with extra walking around money to her plight. She has been engaged to a nice young man for almost as long as this comic has existed; which is far too long a time to be separated by distance when you are in love. The path to U.S. citizenship is far more costly than people realize. My father has helped fund more than one attempt and it takes years and a significant amount of money. If you have the means I would appreciate it if you might help her out. For the sake of a love that didn’t settle for the convenience of geographic whim I think a small donation is worth the risk. Bring these two together in wedded bliss. Tell them J.T. sent you.