When I wrote this article a few years ago, I clarified that this would be a column more geared toward timelessness than specific meta trends at the time, and I think this article exemplifies it.  I’ll probably quit Yugioh when I’m dead.

I’ve been reading other featured writers on Pojo, ones who have had articles from years back, and I realized that the articles explaining general principles of dueling have endured quite well, whereas articles covering specific tactics or trends of that particular time period haven’t as much.  Cards like Tour Guide that we love so much today could be become obsolete like Snipe Hunter or Injection Fairy Lily.  Standouts of Jaelove’s writing were when he detailed his growth as a person and a duelist with painstaking honesty.  And I still remember the look the store clerk gave Pook as he wanted to buy three of the same magazine to get 3 copies of Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon.  I want to bring to my section something that’s timeless, and also touch on aspects of Yu-Gi-Oh! that other writers haven’t commented much on.

I was in the process of writing an article called “What I Wish I Knew Before I Started Playing”.  It would’ve had mundane but helpful advice such as “it’s better to buy boxes and singles rather than packs”, “keep your decks and binders in a backpack so they don’t get stolen” and such.  But then, I had more broad ideas in mind.  And I thought of this.

You’re never too old or too cool for Yugioh!

I’m 22 right now and I started playing about 10 years ago in the 4th grade.  It was a popular fad and craze that probably half of us participated in.  In a few years, the fad wore off, but it stuck with me and I had met a circle of friends who had just happened to be duelists.  Around 2006-2007, I played obsessively, but in 2008 I decided to quit because I felt like it’s a necessary part of maturing.  I felt like Yugioh was for kids – not adults – and it was a waste of time.  That wasn’t necessarily true. 

Years after that, I spent hundreds of hours of free time on blogging and role-playing games instead.  Around 2011, I realized that I wasn’t being any more productive with my free time than I was with Yugioh.  Whether I spent my time on YGO or the latest video game or even reading books like War and Peace, it’s still not going to make me any wealthier or more productive.  I did those things because I enjoyed them.

I really enjoyed YGO, and even as I was “retired” on the surface, there was still a part of me that felt like I was metaphorically walking outside on a rainy night peering at a bright window of people partying and having fun.  From 2008 to 2011, I grew as a person a lot in some aspects, and not so much in others, but I no longer could tell myself that I would grow up if I had only quit Yugioh.

There’s more to life than Yugioh.

During my absence, I started to look at things objectively in a way I didn’t when I was a teenager obsessed with the game.  At a certain point, I would read impassion Yugioh arguments on forums and be shocked that I used to get so riled up over controversial aspects of the game.  Whether a ridiculously overpowered card is removed from the forbidden list, an opponent had a lucky top-deck draw which won them the match, a series of bad opening hands causes you to lose games, or you faced up against nothing but cookie-cutter decks and mirror matches, I found none of that, in the end, worth arguing for.  The point of the game is to have fun.  Years ago, a tournament judge’s false ruling of the card Trap Reclamation being able to infinitely add trap cards to the player’s hand (rather than just once) infuriated me beyond reason.  Now, it’s water under the bridge.

I got back into YGO since 2011, but haven’t attended a tournament since.  I play for fun and have more sense of moderation than I did as a teen.  I accept the game for what it is.

Social Skills, Popularity, High School

I wanted to talk about these subjects with how they relate to Yugioh.  In high school, the reaction to a person playing Yugioh can range from curious interest, to disregard, to being given a weird look, to outright bullying.  However, looking back, it had to do with popularity.  Cool kids got away with dueling and less popular ones didn’t.

I want to say that you can still play Yugioh and be well liked in school.  I know so many guys who play Yugioh and have girlfriends, jobs and healthy social lives.  As long as you shower, have good social skills, and have other interests besides Yugioh, you won’t be defined as a stereotype.

In high school, kids are self-conscious and judgmental, but in college it all changes.  During the middle of high school, I put my deck away “for good”, but in college I discovered a niche of people who still play.

At 16, I thought I was too old for YGO.  That was so far from the truth.  In fact, I was too young for it.  I cared what people thought about me, and that’s totally understandable in the context, but as we get older we often lose that trait.

Don’t stop playing just to please a few haters.