Hi, it’s Baneful again. Yugioh is over 20 years old. It came out in the late 90’s in Japan, but 2002 in the U.S.
Konami, overall, has done a fantastic job at making Yugioh culturally relevant for a long time. It continues to sell well to this day. Back in 2007, the thought entered my mind that maybe this game would be a fad people grow out of once they graduate high school or college. But that’s not the case because it’s adapted with the times.
Since then, there are people who have found careers, relationships, other hobbies, but come back to Yugioh, at least casually. Most important there are a lot of Gen Z’ers who weren’t even born when Yugioh came out that still play the game. For many people, their first TV show may have been Xexal, Vrains or Arc V. Constantly changing and adapting, having new tv series’ and new aesthetics, is how the game managed to stay fresh. As I’ve written in an article in the past, Yugioh’s aesthetics have gone from traditional medieval fantasy tropes like zombies and gargoyles, to anthropomorphic airplanes, to Madolches, and to all sorts of other inventive ideas.
I started playing Yugioh at around age 11. Now I’m 30. I played a lot in my teens. In my 20’s, I played it online, on and off, mostly off. I don’t have the level of obsession now as I did years ago. There’s work, fitness, social life, other games and other hobbies in my life. But I still pop in Yugioh every now and then.
One of the core things that disenchanted me from Yugioh is power creep. It’s archetype driven. Most of the deckbuilding involves using cards of the archetype; not so much splashability. This means many archetypes come and go. There are countless times a new archetype comes out that made the pre-existing ones obsolete, only for upcoming ones to do the same. It’s hard to get excited for a new archetype release anymore, just knowing that it’s the flavor of the month and could be obsolete soon. From a collecting standpoint, whether it’s in-game or even digitally, it doesn’t feel good to know what you have isn’t a long-term investment. It loses value. Of course, there has to be a way to encourage people to use new cards. Other card games have set rotations to just disallow many of the old cards, but Yugioh instead keeps every card legal, but just makes them obsolete with power creep.
Yugioh is successful to this day, and this is why Konami shouldn’t take my criticisms too seriously. Listen to your paying customers and enthusiastic players. Don’t listen to an old curmudgeon like me.
The additions to the game have overall been a good thing. When Yugioh first came out, it was far simpler than other card games. It’s definitely become more complex now, which is a good thing. If Yugioh had stayed similar to how it was in the 2000’s, it would’ve been seen as a dated game.
Let’s just say that many of the game mechanics in the early years didn’t work out. Equip cards were usually -1’s. Rituals and fusion summons were -2’s. Tribute summoning was usually not encouraged because sacrificing a monster is a -1 and if your tributed monster gets hit with removal and doesn’t get the opportunity to win battles and/or deal damage, it’s basically a -1 for you. Especially LV7+ creatures that needed 2 tributes. Mechanics like Links, XYZ’s, Synchros and Pendulums are definitely better thought out than those earlier mechanics.
I’m totally out of the loop with the meta, so I’ll write content that’s timeless and evergreen rather than time-sensitive. But that’s kind of what I’ve always tried to do.
For the handful people out there who are still familiar with who I am, and have read my articles from the beginning (when I first came on Pojo in 2014), I’m grateful to still be a very very very tiny 2-minute part of your life to this day 🙂