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View From the Commons Bin: Pokemon
By Anthony Scott
View from the Commons Bin: part 2

It's been waaaaaay too long since I submitted anything to the forums. I sincerely apologize and hope to rectify this situation by regularly submitting something or other on a weekly basis. Again, you have my apologies.

I'm going to take a stance here that may not make me the most popular guy in the world. Understand that this is just my opinion and you're free to disagree with it. Heck, write in and tell me how you feel. That being said, here goes:

I don't think Pokemon is bad for Magic.

Now, now, calm down all of you. I know, I know. It's surpassing Magic in sales. It is fetching ridiculous prices on QVC. Some guy was trying to sell a foil Charizard for three easy installments of $99 bucks. That's insane. Three hundred bucks for a piece of cardboard? Pokemon players are nuts!

Let's put this in perspective, though. How many people do you know that would plunk down a coulple of hundred dollars for a Black Lotus or Ancestral Recall? I remember when a friend of mine paid $50 dollars for a beaten up Juzam Djinn and we called it a great deal. He paid $50 bucks for a piece of cardboard that was smaller than the bill he used to pay for it. Pokemon players aren't the only ones with a license for bizarre actions. We can all be a little weird at times.

Granted, no one's getting knifed over Moxes but Magic has had its share of controversy as well. If you've been playing Magic since Revised, you'll remember cards like Demonic Tutor, Demonic Hordes, Darkpact and the like. All of a sudden, parents' groups and fire-and-brimstone religious groups with too much free time on their hands started to condemn the game as satanic. The 700 Club did a feature on the cards. I sat and watched it and laughed my head off but evidently WotC felt enough heat to change the card mix. Think about this. They changed the mix not because of the power of the cards but because some unimaginative adults got freaked at a little cardboard square with some devil-guy on it. You don't hear much controversy over Magic anymore. Maybe the change is why. Maybe Pokemon has just covered it up.

On another note, I am quite the naysayer when it comes to the future of Pokemon. It's not that bad as far as play goes (although it's not the most inticrate game in the world) but I don't see it lasting much longer. These things happen sometimes. Case in point: The X-Files CCG was a great game with a tremendous fan following. I, for one, thought it would be around for quite some time. It's a popular license, it's a fun game, it should be a winner, right? Unfortunately, the fan base seems to have dried up. The CCG market is a volitile one to begin with. Look at Netrunner, Shadowrun and Rage for proof of this. Add in the whimsy of fickle children and you've got a recipe for disaster. In Japan, they've already started to move on to a game called Yugi-Oh. I suspect things won't last for too much longer here. Kids, for the most part, seem to have the attention span of hyperactive rodents these days. This isn't to say that kids are stupid. Not by any means. Kids are a lot smarter than most people give them credit. It's just that things seem to get old quickly when you're a kid. I know they did for me. Granted, there will be some people that play Pokemon until their dying day. Every game has its true fans. Heck, look at Spellfire. I think, though, that most kids will play Pokemon until they get tired of it and move on to something else. And what will they move on to?

My belief is Magic. I think that we'll catch a lot of the kids in the exodus from Pokemon and this is good for our game as new blood brings new life. Rather than being the death of Magic as so many fear, I think Pokemon will only help Magic's popularity. Partially as a gateway game to get kids interested in gaming and partially because good ol', tried and true Magic will be something to take refuge in when Pokemon is passe.

I don't like Pokemon in general. I think it is one of the poorest examples of anime there is. I really couldn't care less about the game itself. If it lasts forever or went away tomorrow I wouldn't lose any sleep because I know that Magic will be there. It's stood the test of time thus far and will still be around long after Pokemon is a bad memory. Just don't get so bent out of shape over a game that is bringing a lot of potential Magic players into the gaming world.

And I'm willing to bet that when they cross over to Magic, every one of them will be a casual player.

I remain
The Baron
Tap, Sacrifice a Pokemon: Add years to Magic: The Gathering's life.

maraxus25@hotmail.com

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