You might have heard that term before: "Core Gaming". It suggests that table top, board games, and to a lesser degree card games are the core of original gaming. I often feel back and forth on that statement. I am willing to concede that it was likely someone doing the parents-basement-gaming-thing that came up with a majority of the ideas surrounding modern gaming. Why they started with Pong I will never know but it seems likely. Born the arguable year of the Atari 2600 (if you add two years) my roots were in these sorts of simpler games just as much as they resided in the Magnavox Odyssey 300 (think the Atari pong but it looked like the last outfit from Kill Bill 1). Perhaps I haven't played a lot but what I have played... well I might have played too much of it.
With modern technology moving at the rate it is going at I get excited just as often as I get extremely annoyed. It is in these moments that I turn back to my "core" gaming and it seems that the small Demi-god that is Wizards of the Coast heard my prayers when I threw my PSP across the room cursing the name Mercury for the nineteenth time in two hours. In a thank you for some friendly beta keys from Stardock WotC sent a huge box of Magic: The Gathering cards. The heroine addict in my mind hit the cell bars of it's cage with such ferocity that I woke up hours later with booster pack wrappers all over and no clear memory of what happened.
I had played Magic the first year it came out and then on for about four years after that (some would describe it as the exact length of high school). Excuse the Dork speak for a moment but this part is for the players:
I had an all black and artifact deck I referred to as the "dark permission" deck. It was filled with Terrors, Royal Assassins, Thrall Pits, Lords of the Pit, Nightmares, and anything else that could kill any other creature or enchantment with just-because-I-can-powers. It was glorious. Now back to the program at hand....
Because I collected in the early days I had rare cards that came from the initial printings. When I went to sell my deck later on I bought my car to put the size of this game into perspective. So now almost every day in the lunch room I am teaching several members of Stardock how to play magic. It turns out our manager of software never gave it up in the some 20 years that it has been out. You can imagine he is excited to have players brewing in the wings. Thanks to this reawakening I blew dust off of my old D&D books, read a few choose-your-own-adventure books (with out cheating.... much), made fun of Pogs to my wife because I NEVER played them, bought the remake of Final Fantasy 3, played Final Fantasy on my original game boy (where RPG game time is not measured in hours but batteries used), and broke out the emulators to rock out some Altered Beast. A dork midlife crisis never rocked out so hard.
Thank you Wizards of the Coast. Should I be lucky enough to have any of them read this article I have a small request: If you use my reacquired soul to run an appliance in your building I would like that I be used in the code box for the upcoming Character builder/visualizer/Dungeon Builder/D&D Gaming Table. If that isn't possible I would like to be the coffee machine.