It’s true what they say: you never “truly” quit Yu-Gi-Oh.

Hello all. It’s been a while. The last time I wrote for Pojo was back in 2010. At the time, I had been “retired” from playing competitively for about 3 years. I was 20 years old at the time, navigating college, working a dead-end job, and trying to figure out what I want to do with life.

It’s now 2022, I’m 32 and have a lot more going for me. But one thing that hasn’t changed: my love for the game.

So much has changed from 2010 to now. But I will tell you one thing that has really helped keep me in the loop and enjoy it more: Conventions.

Cons have taken off since 2010 on – and living in Florida, I’ve been able to head to some of the biggest and best. From MegaCon in Orlando, to Collective Con to my hometown in Jacksonville, and I’ve even been lucky enough to head to New York City for New York Comic Con, one thing was present at each show: there were vendors selling Yu-Gi-Oh! cards and products.

I know of some cards… I know of Pendulum, XYZ, Synchro & Link. I don’t play the game but I love to see how the cards changed to help the game evolve.

But I’m here today to talk about nostalgia, and why this game still means so much to me years later.

Going back to the convention scene, one thing I love doing is meeting the actors/actresses who played the characters. To date, I’ve met over 50 different people and have their autograph. Each and everyone I can tell you what show it was and when – and that means a lot to me.

More recently (coming out of the pandemic), more of the Yu-Gi-Oh! voice actors have been doing their rounds. At the time of this writing, I’ve met Megan Hollingshead and Erica Schroeder (first and second voice of Mai Valentine), Ted Lewis (Bakura), Jonathan Todd Ross (Marik) and Eric Stuart (Seto Kaiba). Come July, I’ll have added Dan Green (Yugi/Yami Yugi) and Darren Dunstan (Pegasus).

Meeting each one has been fantastic; I’ve known their voice since I was an early teenager! They have all been personable and truly loves their fans. To me, it met something much more: I got to meet the voices of my… teenage-hood.

Now, I’ll be honest: when the show came out, I was not one of those “no friends/going to fail out of school/etc.” people. (And I know people who were, and this show helped them significantly!). For me, they helped with a kid who seemed to only have one interest at a time. When Yu-Gi-Oh! came out, that was it: I didn’t want any other toys, cards, etc.: Just Yu-Gi-Oh!. MAYBE a video game here or there… but outside of Mario or Pokémon… the only video games I wanted were Yu-Gi-Oh! (Eternal Duelist Soul for GameBoy Advance is the GOAT and you cannot tell me otherwise!).

The 2020 pandemic really changed a lot of people. Pokémon cards REALLY took off; with the new big thing being getting them graded and flipping. Yu-Gi-Oh! took off as well, but didn’t seem to really catch on as much, except for maybe the older cards, and even then, it needed to be the big boys, like Blue-Eyes White Dragon, Dark Magician, or Red-Eyes Black Dragon.

And Dark Magician Girl from Magician’s Force. I mean I can see why but, but I was still surprised!

After taking a day to do some digging, I looked back on the boards… and found my old Deck lists! I was shocked; I thought they were gone. Needless to say, although not my “original” cards, I went back and purchased each card I used for my Decks to have again. Breaker the Magical Warrior is my favorite card, and it was only fitting that, once I had all the cards in, I shuffled them up and drew my first hand of 5 cards, and Breaker was there. A sign, perhaps.

Regardless, I’m having a blast. I built a list of cards I want that will probably just sit in my binder on my bookshelf. But I don’t care. They were cards I remember and love. Opening a Pharaoh’s Servant 1st Edition booster pack and pulling a Jinzo in 2002 is still peak for me.

If I could give a piece of advice to anyone who reads this, it would be this: if you don’t need to, don’t sell your collection. Or at least all of it. Like me, I regret it. Sure, you can go back later and get all of the cards you had, but they won’t be YOUR original cards.

The game came out in 2002. I was 12 years old. Finishing up 6th grade and going into 7th.

It’s now 2022. 20 years later. I am 32 years old and living on my own, and working towards purchasing a house.

But one thing will never leave me: my love for the game and the folks who play it. I may not play competitive anymore, but that doesn’t matter. Yu-Gi-Oh! is still going after all this time because people are still playing. Something must be working.

There is so much more I want to say, but I need to keep this short. I grew up with this game, and in turn on the message boards. A lot of things are different now compared to then, to be expected, but us older players are still here, watching more people play and enjoy the game that shaped so many kids and teenagers’ mind.

Thank you to anyone who reads this.

If you’d like to contact me, I am still lurking around the message boards as TMD12. I look forward to hearing from all of you!