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Baneful's Column
You're Never Too Old or
Too Cool for Yu-Gi-Oh!
November 25, 2013

I'm happy with my previous article about deckbuilding and Fire Kings but, while this section is going to contain a good bit of deck construction, it will never be a full-on 100% hardcore deckbuilding series.  It's never going to a column specifically focused on pro play and metagame discussion.  Rather, I will focus on the enduring principles which have been true in 2004, true in 2009, true today, and will probably be true 5 or 10 years from now.

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 Yu-Gi-Oh!

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, I got really obsessive with the game, but in 2008 I decided to quit because I felt like it's a necessary part of maturing.  The logic was that YGO is for kids - not adults - and that it was an
unproductive waste of time.  However, my logic behind quitting wasn't necessarily true.

Years after that, I spent a lot of my free time on blogging and role-playing games instead.  Around 2011, I realized that it was really not all that different.  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 08 to 2011, I grew as a person a lot in some aspects, and not so much in others, but I no longer had YGO to blame.

YGO is not the end-all-be-all of life, and it's hard to see that if you were as into it as I was in 2007.  When I saw the fights and arguments it caused, it made me realize that the whole purpose of the game is to have fun.  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.  Years ago, a 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 doesn't matter.

I got back into YGO since 2011, but I don't really attend tournaments anymore.  I just play for fun.  But I have a better sense of moderation than I did when I was a teenager.  I'm able to appreciate the game's strengths and avoid it's faults by not expecting anymore from the game than what it could possibly provide.  There's nothing particularly wrong with going to tournaments every week, though I've just found more enjoyment in writing about the mechanics of the game than playing it, at this point.  I'm not quite sure I'll care about YGO 5 years from now (I said that 5 years ago, keep in mind), but I very well could be married to the game for a long time.

I also want to talk about social skills, popularity and high school, with regards to how they relate to Yu-Gi-Oh.  In high school, kids can sometimes be rotten and malicious, though it depends on your luck.  Some kids have gotten bullied for playing, some kids have gotten simply wierd looks and that's it, and in other cases, people didn't have a problem with.  It entirely depends on the community and lots of other variables, but looking back, I'd venture to say that it's really not YGO that would you unpopular (as long as it isn't all you do or talk about).

You can still be popular and play YGO.  If you're a guy, you can play YGO and still get a girlfriend.  I guess it just depends on who you are, but YGO is not to blame.  And no duelist needs to hide their hobby to avoid being mistaken for a stereotypical nerd (in a negative context).  So long as you're somewhat good socially, practice basic hygiene and have other interests, there's no reason for alarm.  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 and realized that it's not about one's age or maturity, but rather the mentality that judges when it's time to call it quits.

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.

If you lost interest in the game, are really pressed for time or don't have the money, it's definitely understandable that you would want to quit (or at least take a break for a while).  But if you truly enjoy the game, never feel like you have to give it up because you are too old for it or it will make you less cool.  If it works for you, stick with it.  And that's all I have to say
on that.

I don't mean for my column to be the "Dr. Phil Show" section of Pojo, but this is something I wanted to get off my chest while I still play and I also wanted to offer a bit of perspective that I think could be very helpful to someone who was in the position I was in.  Thanks for tuning in and see you soon.

Contact: banefulscolumn@gmail.com


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