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The Dragon's Den
I have a very interesting story about a Magic player that you guys might want to hear. It happens a long time ago (late 1994). It happens in a very interesting and unlikely places (Texas).
It's about this player that I know pretty well. The story begins with the player walking into shopping mall in south Texas. It's not a big deal really. He was just killing some time during a field trip. Well, as it ends up, this fateful day was the first time that he encountered Magic: the Gathering trading cards.
He walks into this little game/novelty shop looking for something different. Well, this really neat card game is pointed out to him. The employee tells him all about it. After getting the rundown on the product, he is then presented with an interested situation. There was an Unlimited and a Revised starter deck on the shelf. They were called starter decks back in the day, not tournament packs. Anyway, he then asked what the difference is. He's told that Revised includes cards from more sets and that the set is a little bigger. So, guess what he decides to purchase? Yep. A Revised starter pack. Gotta love hindsight.
But this didn't hinder out faithful player from further learning and experimenting with the game. He remembers the plain black and white rulebook (that was a little difficult to understand) with a big dragon on the front cover. He later found out that it was a Shivan Dragon. But that's beside the point. He was eager to find out how to play this game so that he could show all of his friends.
He read the rulebook for a few minutes. It was some interesting reading, mainly because he had to learn a lot of new terms. Eventually, he found the glaring hole in his plan. He couldn't really show anyone else how to play, because each player needs to have a deck. And unfortunately, he only had one deck. This was obvious. So he can just go out and buy another one right? Nope. The only place he knows that carries this really cool game is about 80 miles away.
So, he thought about his situation for a while. He really couldn't come to a good solution. He figured it was only out $9.00 so it wasn't a huge loss. He simply put the rulebook back in the box and place it in the bottom of the top drawer in his dresser. Odds are, he'd never play the game again.
A few weeks pass. It may have been about a month to six weeks. Details are a bit sketchy. He is studying one day at a friends house. After they are done, they are hanging out watching some television when his friends starts telling him about this really great game that his brother showed him while he was in Austin. It all sounded familiar. Well, when he realizes that his friend is talking about Magic, they rush over to his house so they each had a deck to play.
So, they play for hours. Literally hours. I mean, they played until nearly two in the morning. This wasn't such a big deal had they not started at somewhere around nine that previous evening.
That being said, months went by where they realized that they didn't have all the rules down. There were no good sources for information other than Shadis, Duelist, and Scrye magazines. It wasn't easy to for everyone to get updates. So, cards like Desert Twister killed something every turn. Granted it was completely fair, because it killed something of everyone's each turn. Yeah, I know. How could they ever play like that? The answer is simple. They didn't know any better.
There really were no big internet sites. There were some tournaments. However, it required a lot of weekly traveling. So this went on for almost two years. He made lots of friends. But things had to come to an end. He eventually left to school. He never really had a lot of money. We was working two jobs while trying to graduated from high school (with honors and doing all kinds of school activities) just to have some cash when he left. So he put the cards away again. Go figure.
But the story doesn't end there. He got things together in school. So that created some free time. For some unknown reason, he kept his cards and brought them in a big cardboard box. He had some packs he hadn't opened from tournaments that he won, so it gave him a lot trade value. Well, that is, if he had someone to trade with. Well, as fortune would have it, he met someone that knew the area and there was actually a game store in the area. He eventually shared an apartment with this guy.
So, he finds this shop, gets to know everyone, and starts playing regularly. He day pretty much consisted of some combination of work and school that was then following by hitching a ride with a friend or catching a bus to the local game store. This was a good stress reliever from every day life. Having very little money, no friends, no family, and no vehicle, this was a great way for him to meet people and get involved in something.
Well, even with this outlet, he was getting stressed out in school. So, he decided to take a break from everything. He was working out things with a new love interest, trying to balance work, classes and his regular gaming schedule. So, he has to make a conscious decision to put Magic on the back burner while he got him a new place to stay and a new job and such. So he worked for the local city hall taking care of paperwork in the inspector's office. Not exciting, but it helped pay the bills.
But gaming helped pay the bills too. So he starting gaming regularly. He taught Magic to a lot of people. Well, about seven months after getting this job with the city government, he gets an offer to own a game store. It was offered to him as part of a partnership. It was a chance to do something different. He knew he wouldn't make a mint doing it, but it was a chance worth taking.
And as life would have it, he eventually got the chance to write for you. Right here. Right now. I get so many letters and players in my store asking me how I got into the game, and what lead to me owning The Game Closet. It's a long strange journey sometimes.
I always tell people not to worry about tournaments and such. Just enjoy them. You'll do well sometimes. You'll do bad sometimes. I was nearly separated from the game industry on three different occasions in less than four years. Obviously, this wasn't by choice, but it almost happened.
What kept me close though was the interaction. I've met so many people. I've traveled to so many places. I've built up a lot of fun memories. And it was largely due to Magic. You can't let the little things get to you. The next time you get frustrated, take a look at why you are really playing the game.
If you don't like the people and you don't like the journey, then you should definitely be doing something else. Magic is mostly definitely about the community. Magic (and gaming in general) is almost a lifestyle of sorts. And I think somewhere deep down, you have to learn to accept that part to REALLY enjoy it.
Take a moment to reminisce about your journey. It probably makes a pretty interesting story. Think about all the people you've met. Think about all the fun games you've played.
Those are the reasons to keep playing the game.
Until next time,
a.k.a. PowrDragn at Pojo dot com
P.S. I hope my little story didn't bore you :)
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