Reminiscing My Duel Monsters Era

The internet is a series of rabbit holes. You click on one thing and that subjects begins to multiply in search engines. Recently, my wife and I were looking at used cars. All of sudden we’re getting ads and pop-ups for used cars all over google. Search engine algorithms can be amazingly aggressive.

I don’t how it started. Meaning, I don’t remember the inciting “click” but I’ve been diving down a rabbit hole of nostalgia.

When I was in high school, I was a nerd. On the surface I might not have locked the part, but I was obsessed with a trading card game called Yu-Gi-Oh; or Duel Monsters in Japan.

The card game is an extension of an animated series imported from Japan. Similar to Pokémon, the show served as a way to advertise merchandise to children. What sets Yu-Gi-Oh apart from Pokemon was that the show was much more grounded. Instead of traversing a fantasy land of fantastical animals, the characters of Yu-Gi-Oh played a card game. That’s the show. Of course the show animated the cards and made the act of dueling look cool, but overall that’s something that we could physically do. The show taught us the rules of the game, and in turn we’d go out and buy the cards to play against our friends.

It was like clockwork, we’d watch the Saturday morning cartoon and meetup in the afternoon to play the game. Either at the arcade, a coffee shop or a laundromat. Anywhere where we could find tablespace.

Marlon checking out a binder full of cards

I find myself remembering these memories after coming across videos about the game on YouTube. It turns out the game is still played today, but has evolved beyond my comprehension. Image you were a big poker player back in the day. You ran with the best of them twenty years ago, but found out that the rules governing the game changed exponentially.

You can play your old strategy, but you’d be destroyed and bought out in seconds. That’s Yu-Gi-Oh today.

If you were at all interested in what the show was like. It turns out that you can watch episodes completely free on their official YouTube channel. I’ll share the first episode, but I promise you it’s full of Saturday morning cartoon cheese…

The longevity of this franchise is amazing. I think they still have cartoons airing to this day. And for sure, they are still kids who play the card game. I’m sure I have a few nephews who are fans. I’m sure they can kick my butt. My deep dive down the internet rabbit hole led me to the following video. It’s a 40 minute duel between two elite players. Right around the time I played the game.

You know what’s crazy? I can still follow the flow of the game. This match moves at a snails pace when compared to what the game is supposedly like today, but I understand the strategy at play.

Where are my old cards?

I gave them all away. At some point during my growing pains, my trading card game hobby morphed into competitive video games. Playing games like Halo at LAN parties.

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