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Where do we go from
The life of the Pokemon player has always been exciting. And
Iíve been extremely privileged. Iíve played in many
competitive events, and Iíve played (and beaten in some
cases) some of the best players in the world. Itís going to
be coming up on 4 years for me in the next couple months.
FOUR years. Do you realize how long that is? I started
playing Pokemon when I was TEN, going on ELEVEN. I was
immature. I was condescending. Yeah, I was a tween! That was
a third of a lifetime ago for me.
Now Iím going on 15. Iím in High School. To think this
started as a grade school fadÖ just a thing everyone was
doing, into something that has greatly affected my life. I
canít think of what life would be like without Pokemon at
this point. At least, without it ever have affecting me. I
only started using the Internet because I picked up Pojoís
old magazine. Then I was opened into a brand new world for
I met TONS of people from the Internet. And just in the last
year, with the WCSTS and Worlds, Iíve met MORE. Truthfully,
I hated Junior High. Sure, I kept up good grades, but I was
bored. Pokemon gave me something to look forward to on the
weekends besides the fact that it wasnít school. It gave me
a challenge. I loved spending hours and hours just tweaking
my favorite deck, preparing it for the Saturday tournament
about 30 miles from me.
Two years ago, I couldnít ever imagine quitting Pokemon. I
thought itíd go on forever. Sure, there were 15+ problems,
but they were small. I figured Wizards would fix them. I
didnít even THINK about the fact that they might be
overspending. Did you guys? I mean honestly, recession
wasnít really the thing on everyoneís mind. We thought weíd
get out of our short ďbear marketĒ, and move back into the
positives. Hell, most of us are USED to a ďbooming economyĒ.
Losing jobs? Cutbacks? Whatís that?
However, it seems like this yearís challenge series may be
the last. Will they stop manufacturing the cards? Not for
quite some time. If you still only play casually, you wonít
be affected. Good for you. I mean, look at Digimon! That
game has nothing going for it other than the fact that the
company makes the cards. But you can still occasionally find
a pack at your local Wal-Mart.
See, one of the things I used to really respected about
Wizardsí Pokemon Department at the time was that it seemed
that they cared more about us than the profit they were
making. Companies donít do that! They had very, VERY happy
customers. Again one of the reasons so many kept playing for
And on that point, why do you think Magic has been around so
long? You think that Wizards has sat back and just
ďmanufactured cardsĒ because thatís ďall they owed themĒ?
Sorry to put it, but cards just being made doesnít keep a
game around for 10 years. They have treated Magic players
royally. TONS of rewards. TONS of tournaments. TONS of fun.
Pokemon was like that. Remember? Remember back when everyone
was included? The Mall Tours were an excellent point in
Pokemon history. We all had fun. We all had fun COMPETING.
Now as easy as it is to blame Wizards for Pokemonís
troubles, itís probably not all their fault. The game has
gotten stale. Itís boring, quite frankly. Expedition doesnít
look all that hotÖ theyíre making rare cards an easy
commodity to get. The cards have poor art, and the mechanics
werenít thought through.
Ask yourself this: If you donít have a league nearby, you
donít have DCI tourneys, and you donít have any friends
nearby that play Pokemon, when was the last time you played
a game of Pokemon? A real game? Most of you havenít since
the last major tournament, or qualifier, you went to. How
would you feel if suddenly even THAT was taken away from
you? Welcome to the life of a 15 year old. And for most of
you, thatís coming soon.
Do you honestly care when you see people talking about MMF
decks on the various message boards? Unless you fit one of
the criteria above, probably not. Most likely, you are idle;
not playing the game, not looking at your cards. You might
even be thinking about playing another game.
Before I go into this, I want to make sure. Iím not
advocating quitting Pokemon. Believe me, when the Challenge
Series comes out, yes, Iíll go to the Central Stadium
Challenge. I love the game. And I always will, as it was my
first game. But in my opinion, Pokemon is nearing death, and
itís time to move on.
Which game would you go into?
There are two main ones at this point people are going into.
Magic: The Gathering, and Yu-Gi-Oh. And a few people are
branching into other games, like DBZ, Harry Potter, MLB
Showdown, Star Wars, LotR, etc.
Iíve looked at both Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh. Believe it or not
guys, I probably will start playing Yu-Gi-Oh on the Pojo
ladder. Why? For fun. For something to do. But I wonít
invest money into it. Why? Because itís going to be the same
as Pokemon was.
I mean, the yu-gi-oh players will disagree, but itís true.
What is yu-gi-oh right now? A fad. A Japanese fad. A
Japanese fad involving creatures. A Japanese fad involving
creatures that has a tv show that is =/. A Japanese fad
involving creatures that has a tv show that is =/ AND its
cards are worth a lot right now.
I wonder what that reminds me of. And it doesnít take a
rocket scientist to get it, either. Guys, Iím warning you,
if you enter into Yu-Gi-Oh AND are quitting Pokemon because
itís ďdyingĒ, you have two years. Two years until Yu-Gi-Oh
falls flat on its face, like Pokemon did. I predict by the
end of 2004 Yu-Gi-Oh will no longer have a huge impact on
the TCG world. Like Pokemon, itíll fizzle, and eventually
Then of course, there will be another card game thatís
popular, and history will repeat itself, once again.
Guys, Magic is the safest bet if you want to find a secure
card game. It has been around for 10 years. Never really a
HUGE fad, but always maintaining stability. Now more than
ever, it is gaining an influx of Pokemon players, and the
base is increasing. Wizards isnít losing profits, believe it
or not, to other card games. Itís still sucking in the money
weíve poured out, because now weíre buying another card game
One of the reasons people have told me for not going into
Magic is that it has too big of a card pool. Guys, you know
how Pokemon has Modified? So does MAGIC! Trust me, it wonít
be that hard to become a good player. Just buy cards from
the latest sets. If you want a place to go, I recommendÖ
www.shuffleandcutgames.com. Itís run by Scott and Christine
Gerhardt, who have supported Pojo for many years. They sell
pretty cheap too. And yes, they sell Yu-Gi-Oh cards too. And
they donít bite either. Odds are you could probably get help
from them on tips on what to buy to get you started.
So if you are considering going into another competitive
game, I say go into Magic. Yu-Gi-Oh probably will do well
too, but remember, itís just another Pokemon. And hey, if
you arenít into the competitive element, by all means pick
any game you like.
Remember, I still play Pokemon. I havenít quit. Iím just
making Magic my priority game.
By the way, look forward to some new opinion articles by me
about other things than just TCGís. Iíve found that many of
you actually have LIVES! You CARE about other things! So
Iíll talk about them. =)
AIM: JonSchweppe (Please donít be offended if I donít answer
immediately; you must realize I have a personal life too.)
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