Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Magic Addiction

I'm just going to put it out there. I'm pretty obsessed with Magic.

What makes a person go crazy over this little card game?

Maybe a public service announcement is in order.

I've always been a gamer nerd. I have pulled an all nighter in my childhood playing Pokemon Blue. I would wake up super-early on holidays to play on my N64. Even as an adult, I got super-excited over getting my Wii. I procrastinated on work by playing Minesweeper or online flash games. I was just that type of kid/teenager/adult. (Unusual for a girl, maybe but certainly not unheard of.)

Still, I never got obsessed with a game for more than a week or so. I always got bored eventually. Not so with Magic.

The problem is Magic always changes; it is one game but has the potential to be a thousand different kinds of games. There are tons of different formats: draft, pack wars, EDH, Type 4, Constructed, et cetera. You could make up different rules, and you'd have a new game. You could wait for the next set release, and you would have new cards. Wizards continues to release new games like Planechase and now Archenemy. The strategy and depth are almost never-ending. You could build a hundred decks and still have new ideas (given a large enough card pool).

Of course, I play it less as a game now, and I see it more as a competitive sport. It's the competition that really drives me. My inner Spike found an outlet in Magic it couldn't find through games like Starcraft or Super Smash Bros. (Because I suck at those games. Haha.)

In a sense, Magic is like World of Warcraft, the most addictive game ever (probably? I've never touched it because it looks mind-numbingly boring to me.) Well, they're actually rather different. But WoW manages to find its variation in the fact that you're constantly interacting with real people and forming social groups. Magic has those, too. It has its own subculture in America. A subculture I never realized existed until I started playing competitively. Once you make Magic friends, it establishes you a little in that world. Although it rarely stops quitters from quitting the game.

Ultimately, if you have a passion for Magic, you won't stop no matter what. And if you don't really enjoy it, you can stop regardless of the circumstances. It seems easy to quit Magic. Maybe not forever. But people take breaks all the time.

So, how healthy is your relationship with it?

It depends. For a lot of people, it's just a hobby. Something to do on Fridays and weekends.

For others, it can interfere with work. Maybe they think about decklists during class or at their job. It can certainly pop into your head when not desirable.

Then there are people who actually make a living off of it, and so they kind of have to think about it all the time. I guess that's living the dream. But I think once it gets to the point you have to think about Magic, maybe some of the fun goes away.

And then there is me! I am not good enough to go Pro (yet!), but I pretty much spend most of my time thinking or writing about Magic. And some of the time playing it. I should join a MTG Anonymous group; is there one yet? I know I'm not alone!

There, I said it! I have a problem. I am an MTG Addict. :0

Actually I am not nearly as obsessed about Magic as I was in my first year of playing it. And mostly I just write and think about it, not play actual games. (Is that worse somehow?) I wonder if the addiction has various stages. Right now I am merely an MTG Fanatic.

Here's the public service announcement: everything in moderation. Video game addiction is a serious and acknowledged problem these days. So if you find Magic taking over your life, run! Or find a way to make money off of it. Or both. Running is healthy for you.