Magic Pre-Internet

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Posted on May 10, 2017, 3 a.m. by RainbowDevil

Hi folks,

I'm not sure where to post this, but the description does say "Magic stories", so I guess here is okay...

For all of you who played Magic pre-Internet, do you feel a bit of nostalgia for those days and feel a bit of the "magic" is gone from the game due to the internet? Granted, I haven't had any store games yet, so it might seem different once I do. However, I remember playing in the 90s in high school. Us kids would go to our local game store. We'd excitedly open the booster packs and see what awesome cards we got. Most of the time we'd be a little disappointed, but it was exciting nonetheless. We'd then eagerly flick through the ring-binder folder at the counter, and look through all the shop cards that were for sale, to see if anything was right for our deck. Some of them were pretty ordinary, some were way out of our price range, others we'd be able to afford and we'd eagerly hand over our hard-earned pocket money! But of course, many of the cards we wanted we still didn't have, so we'd have to network with all the other players there, work out who had which cards and if we had anything we could trade/pay for it. Often when playing against experienced opponents, they'd pull out cards that we'd only ever heard myths about, like the black lotus or the moxs. We knew that those cards were well beyond our means at the time.

Back in those days, we didn't have the list of cards at our fingertips. Then we'd go to the store counter and get their Excel spreadsheets of all the cards in that expansion set, and go and photocopy it in the shop. Those ten or so pages per expansion were gold, because it was our only way of planning what we wanted in our decks. It was our only knowledge! We couldn't just go online and ask people for deck help, or decide what we want using the online database.

Back in those days, creating a Magic deck was just as much a part of the Magic-al adventure as actually playing the game was. Sure, now everyone has equal access to all the cards through the online suppliers (and don't get me wrong, I fully plan on buying my deck online), but still... "Oooh! Where did you get that card from?" "Oh, I bought it online." I just can't help but feel the Magic just isn't the same. But then, I was a nave kid back then... :)

Rainbow Devil

(disclaimer: I still love playing Magic, and this is in no way criticizing the game, just the ease that the internet gives us)

GobboE says... #2

Same is true for music versus cd's, I suppose :) . But some of the magic (pun intended) does return when you start playing casual games (kitchen table, sealed deck, or draft) with friends or at your local store - at least I think so.

May 10, 2017 8:06 a.m.

You're feeling nostalgia for something that still happens. Just go to any LGS.

May 10, 2017 12:20 p.m.

TheDevicer says... #4

I've never played pre-internet era, but Magic is a strategy game for me first and foremost. I truly believe competitive games benefit form the existence of a rigid meta and don't mind slow-changing environments. Try being a Melee player for a few years... The idea of not possessing all freely available knowledge or at least not having the opportunity to consume said information makes me cringe.

Still, I can see why some people would feel like formats get solved too quickly today. Really, the faster rotation schedule was better for gameplay but worse for players who owned cards. So, uhhh.... Yeah.

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May 10, 2017 12:24 p.m.

perrin515 says... #5

The only thing that I miss is people building their own decks instead of net decking. Competitive magic was more interesting when you were not facing the exact same deck 5 times in a row.

Now before I get lambasted, I understand that the game must change with the time. I personally just thought it was more fun.

On the same hand I do love the ability to have access to pretty much any cards online.

May 10, 2017 12:52 p.m.

Nope! I wouldn't exactly say I played before the era of the internet itself, but when I was new, nobody I played with had access to it, or the means to research it.

But those days sucked. A lot. I do have a certain nostalgia for when I was actually learning the game itself, but the period of time after I learned the game, before I had internet, was the worst. I honestly almost quit. Those were the days before I knew what a format was, those were the days before I could cite rules and rulings to credibly call someone out for cheating.

Between cheaters, bad luck, and other kids with no idea how powerful their shit really was (I had nothing stronger than a precon deck and regularly faced things like Sensei's Divining Top, Land Tax, Skullclamp, and storm decks, and they genuinely believed they won because they were more skilled), life was misery. I had maybe a 2% winrate. The game was still fun for a while, but that really starts to wear on you.

The internet enabled me to find good, fun, stronger cards that still held little value to hunt for, so I actually stood a real chance. It enabled me to find and provide information on game rules that stopped nonbos in their tracks. Almost instantly, access to the net increased my enjoyment of the game 500+%. If anything, those are the days I miss, when I wasn't a walking encyclopedia of mtg cards, when I was browsing the net and learning of all these fantastic cards I could actually go out and find. I miss those days.

May 10, 2017 2:32 p.m.

chicagobearz says... #7

Once upon a time there was a playgroup

Where we used to raise a zombie or two

Remember how we casts instants to draw cards

Think of all the great creatures we would summon

Those were the days my friend

We thought they'd never end

We'd shuffle un-sleeved cards forever and a day

We'd used the combos we choose

We'd fight until 20 life we lose

Those were the days, oh yes those were the days

La la la la...

May 10, 2017 11:41 p.m.

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