Category Archives: History/Opinion

My Nerdy History – Part Deux

Y’know…this is how it always is. When I finished last Friday’s column, which happened to be not only my first entry, but the first part of my personal history, which today’s column is supposed to be a continuation of, I had it ALL planned out. I had it broken into three easy chunks to make a very smoothly flowing three-parter.

Then I forgot the second part. I have the beginning (done already) and the end…which is easy, because it’s JUST HAPPENED, relatively speaking…but the second part? Nah. Nothing.

I even took NOTES!  But looking over them now, it’s like when you have a dream that seems incredibly important, and you wake up and scribble down something critical, possibly world-changing, and go back to sleep. In the morning, you wake up, look atyour notes and it says something like “The secret is at precisely 1:02:15 in the latest Twilight movie.” You can watch it over and over, and you aren’t going to be discovering anything world-changing. In fact, the only thing that might change is your developing brain cancer from watching that tripe.

Just TRY to claim you don’t dream about this on a nightly basis too. We BOTH know you’re full of shit if you try to say you don’t.

So, anyway, let’s dive right in, and I’ll pretend this is all according to some grand plan I set up a week ago. So…yeah, pretend that I didn’t write anything above this paragraph. I command you!

Today’s column won’t have much to do with Magic, actually, since it’s going to be my largely Magic-free portion of my life, and next week’s will deal with the actual return (You see that, self? Now you know what you’re writing next week!)

Last history entry saw the end of my first foray into Magic…and even though the column was brief, keep in mind, my initial time in Magic wasn’t. I remember my homeroom advisor mentioning my “passion” for the game in one of my 9thgrade midterm progress reports. I was planning on being in it for the long haul. Then, things like parental pressure, peer pressure, and the fact that I had little money, and was really, REALLY interested in those creatures that had bodies with curves even more intriguing than the world’s smoothest mana curve, smelled good, and felt soft, and who, come to find out, you can’t summon for ANY amount of tapped mana.

If you think THIS is bad…just try suggesting Magic to a “nerdy” girl.

So, I soldiered on…and publicly “quit” playing, while still regularly going to the LGS on the sly. Looking back, it was slightly ridiculous, but that’s what an adolescent male will do while in the throes of burgeoning hormones. As I mentioned last time…things just kind of faded out over time. I was working a lot, and once I finished high school, I lived in the dorms my first year of college, and my fraternity house the second, and playing Magic in either of those places was DEFINITELY a no-go. So, pulling myself out of the habit for two years definitely dampened my ardor for the game, as did having to spend my money on survival, rather than being able to play with it, beyond the monthly car payment/insurance/gas I had to pay in high school.

I worked a number of retail jobs, and still being a gamer, I gravitated to places like GameStop and Media Play (which I think is now non-existent, but was essentially an entertainment store, with departments for music, movies, books, and computer/video game) and would buy a theme deck or two every expansion or so, if I saw one that caught my eye (I was always disappointed that they didn’t do more red-green, and I didn’t care for the flavor of the red-green decks they did.)

In time, I even stopped buying those. I never did more than goldfish with those decks, and sometimes didn’t even do more than open up the packaging and flip through the cards. It just got to be a silly expenditure of money for me, especially when money was spare. In time, a longtime friend of mine at GameStop was marrying another co-worker, and honored me by asking me to be the best man. I knew he had introduced her to D&D as well as Magic, and given how broke I was, gave them my collection, save my binder, and a couple of decks, for a wedding gift. Don’t worry…I told them about the stuff I couldn’t part with, I wasn’t secretly holding anything back and just unloading jank…there was some good stuff in there.

And with that, I figured the door was shut on Magic for me for good.

Over the years, I got pretty heavily into MMOs instead. Star Wars Galaxies was my first, and COMPLETELY screwed up my schooling, as I wasn’t able to stop playing to go to bed on time. It was just after this that I was diagnosed with ADD, in my early 20s, which answered a lot about my difficulties in school, which I really haven’t mentioned before now. That’s one of those topics for a later column. I got out of SWG, mostly due to the fact that EVERYONE was quitting…the devs had screwed things up but good, and WoW was coming out. My group of online friends and I hadn’t been impressed with WoW’s beta, and planned to make the jump to EQ2, which, admittedly, was awesome. I ended up going with both.

I only stuck with EQ2 for a few months. I like to be able to play at my own times and pace, and EQ2 was SEVERELY unfriendly for solo-play. WoW was much…kinder, in that regard. I ended up playing WoW from beta, almost straight through until the end of Cataclysm, with only short breaks here and there. During that time, I met a girl that I started dating more seriously than most girls, at a time when I had adopted a “I don’t want to get serious, let’s see how much fun I can have with them” attitude towards girls and dating.  In due time we got engaged, then married. She brought a son from a previous marriage into our marriage, and I had to learn to be a dad to a 2 year old. Though, to be perfectly frank, he had just turned 1 when we started dating, so I had more than a year to prepare for that particular challenge.

At this point, Magic couldn’t have been further from my mind…but things would shortly change. And that’s where we’ll pick up when I finish this off next Friday. The next entry is Monday, when I talk about my next Janky Deck for Janky People…a W/U treat sure to make your head spin with its absolute badness.

My Nerdy History – Part the First

So…yeah, blogging. Something I’ve thought about for a good long while, but didn’t really ever have a SERIOUS reason to until now. And by serious, I mean serious in the context of a hobby, as serious as that can possibly be.

What hobby, you may ask? And even if you don’t, I’m going to talk about it anyway. I am here to talk about the collectable card game, Magic: The Gathering.

Since it’s my first blog post here, how about a bit of history? Or, since I tend to be rather verbose…a LOT of history. I should note, after reaching a good stopping point here, I’ve read back over it and thought to myself “Hmmm. Damn. Well, I’ve really glossed over this, and didn’t say a lot of the things I wanted to. Oh well, fuck it.” *post to blog*

So, knowing that…I’ll be revisiting this era, and likely, any others where I start out with a high level view, and drilling down into specifics in future posts. So don’t worry…I’m egotistical enough to believe that everyone wants to read ALL the sad little details of my cardboard fetishizing life…so it’ll all come out eventually.

I first encountered Magic in eighth grade. I won’t say exactly when that was because; first of all…I’d have to figure it out. And secondly, I’ll date myself enough by saying that Unlimited was the current base set, but was about to give way to Revised. There…if you’re really curious, you can figure out the time period. No…I didn’t ever get any Power Nine. I was in eighth grade, I wasn’t burdened down by gobs and gobs of disposable income.

And take your newfangled Modern border with you!

A new classmate of mine showed me the game, and I showed him…I don’t know what. I think it was D&D. The funny thing there is that within about six months, I really gave up D&D and went whole hog on Magic (still played D&D on occasion, but it wasn’t my gaming passion anymore) and he gave up Magic, and picked up D&D in a similar manner. He’d keep a deck around for random duels, but didn’t obsess about it the way I began to.

And obsess I did.  Slinging spells by way of turning some rectangular pieces of cardboard sideways, then putting other rectangular pieces of cardboard from my hand onto the table began to be one of the big things people knew about me. And in a small private school like mine…that meant EVERYONE knew. Since I was pretty young though, I didn’t mind. Yet, anyway. But let’s not skip ahead.

Or, let’s. For the next few years, I played, and played. It was my “thing.” I was known around my (again, small) school as, if not “the” Magic player, than at least one of the more well-known Magic players. I’m not saying that to boast…this was jr. high and high school. Playing Magic was even less cool then than it is today. Spending my lunch period tapping mana wasn’t getting me a ton of dates. After awhile, I started being FAR more quiet about Magic, and then…for a period of a time, I stopped completely. I remember getting back into it in my junior year, so I couldn’t have skipped more than a year, maybe two. That was quite some time ago, but I DO remember heading over to the LGS after lacrosse practice to de-jock-ify.

This continued for a bit, I made some good friends in that particular metagroup, most of whom were younger than me, and teased me about tapping my lands to produce “monna,” when they all said “mah-na.” I finally caved, and to this day, use a hard “a” when I say mana.

Oh Tycho, you blowhard.

But, alas and anon, I was not long for the Magic world at this point, and the last major event I remember participating in was the Exodus pre-release…where I had my typical poor showing, and was eliminated early. If I remember correctly (no guarantee there,) it wasn’t Swiss rounds, but rather, double-elimination. I was unable to completely abandon the mindset of my red/green constructed deck, which I’ll have to describe sometime, and I believe I went with some red/blue monstrosity, mostly because I wasn’t comfortable completely getting away from burn…and it sucked ass. I was a total Timmy in those days, and I’d NEVER done a sealed event, so I was hopelessly lost. I also remember being a little irked that I didn’t pull an Ertai, Wizard Adept, and a guy two seats down from me did. I’ve never had great luck with pulls, but I’m an eternal optimist.

So, soon after that event, I must have let Magic fade from my life. It wasn’t due to my poor showing, or the tournament at all…I just remember things in my life changing, and Magic didn’t have a place anymore. But, I’ll delve deeper into that, and the move forward in my next History/Random Thoughts entry, which will show up on Fridays. Next Mon, my first “Bad Deck Workshop: Janky Decks for Janky People” entry.

I know you’re all waiting with baited breath.