Evolution Of YuGiOh: The Good. The Bad. The Ugly.

What's up guys, I'm William Levert.  A few of you know me, most of you don't, but I'm here to bring you an article on the evolution of YuGiOh from my perspective.  I've played the game of YuGiOh since it was first released over here in the states.  At first I had no idea what it was, or what it was about.  However while working at Toys R Us in North Randall, I was pulled aside by my store manager one day and asked if I wanted to help introduce a new card game to kids, something that was going to be big.  I said sure, it gave me something to do on my Saturdays off. Heh.  That's sarcasm there by the way.  I wasn't too happy about it at first, since it meant I only had Sundays off, but it was only for a few hours on Saturday then I got to go home, so what the hay?  So I took home some advance product, including the Kaiba and Yugi structure decks, a rule book, some promo cards and studied up on the game.

I was glad to find that the game was rather easy, especially back then, and it didn't take long for me to get the hang of it.  In fact, I rather enjoyed the concept of the game and was quite glad to get in there on Saturday for the official Release of the product and Toys R Us' YuGiOh league.  So if any of you guys out there ever played YuGiOh up at Toys R Us out at Randall [And later Mayfield], then you probably know me.  The beginnings of the game were sparse, but a whole lot of fun.  There were Pokemon players looking to try something new, and people looking for something that wasn't Pokemon at all, and with the Cartoon making it's debut as well, the YuGiOh league was a big hit.  The game spread like wild fire and soon I was hosting 15-20 kids every Saturday.  Through all of this, I grew to love the game myself and branched out from playing just at the Leagues to going to tournaments [Insert Shout out to Altereality here!] and playing with friends wherever we could gather.  It was a game meant for kids, but it became so much more than that.  So what did YuGiOh become?  Well it became many things, both good and bad, as well as ugly.

The Good

Between then, and now, the game of YuGiOh [Duel Monsters for all you purists out there], has become an entirely different monster.  With constant rule changes, corrections, ban list substitutions, and not to mention the ever evolving mechanics of the game, you can always count on SOMETHING shaking up the game in some shape, form or fashion.  With each new set, comes new support for old deck archetypes and brand knew archetypes to be tried and tested.  I would always get excited when there was a new type of monster to try out, new combinations, but one thing was clear.  There were definitely some broken cards.  Cards like Raigeki, Pot of greed, among others.  However even those didn't take away from the game until cards like Yata Garasu, Black Luster Solider and Chaos Emperor dragon came out.  Get a sangan or witch of the black forest on the board, summon CED blow everything up, pull Yata from the search effect of Sangan or Witch and that was game.  Nothing sucks more than getting into a situation there is absolutely no way out of unless your opponent lets you.  Right, like THAT'S going to happen right?  Thus came the evolution of the Ban List.  The only way to keep things fun and varied were to lock away the cards that were widely taking fun away from the game.  There were also Errata's, which regulated the effects of certain cards to keep as many infinite locks out of the game as possible.  When it couldn't be avoided, a card gets banned.  The Ban list is always controversial.  Cards make it onto the list that fans just don't think should be there, but then cards run rampant in the meta that people want banned badly.  Hey, nothing's perfect right?  But in the end, it's definitely a good thing that they exist.  The best thing about Yugioh though?  It gave a lot of kids something to do to keep them out of trouble.  Off the streets, away from otherwise dangerous and troubled situations.  Running the leagues and playing other places gave me the chance to see a lot of good done by the existence of this game.  Another good, or rather GREAT thing about the game are the year round tournaments.  What this does is gives Yugioh players something to work towards, a reason to better themselves.  Then there's the prizes which include rare cards expensive binders, play mats, computers, and video game systems, so there's always something great to work towards.

The Bad

Oh yeah, there's always bad to go with the good right?  Always a dark side.  Like any popular card game or trading cards in general, there are cards that are going to be worth money.  Thanks to this, there are going to be those who feel they need to get their hands on them, even if they have to use less than virtuous ways to do so.  Running the league, I had more than my share of problems with card theft, lopsided trades, and bullying.  I had big brothers come up to get their younger siblings cards back, sometimes even threatening violence.  I've had some of the members of my own league stealing from the store, forcing me to bust them and ban them from the league.  I'm quite sure stores all over had these kinds of problems.  It's one of the downsides to the kind of phenomenon Yugioh is.  And as the game evolves through newly released cards that bring dominating mechanics to the game and the ban lists making certain cards far more useful, causing them to become highly valued, these kinds of situations get worse along with the game.  The game itself isn't innocent either, releasing overly powerful cards that get abused and become hated until they get banned, making some frustrated to the point they don't want to play anymore.  Though this can't happen without good playings finding ways to abuse them to the fullest, the fact that they are released can still be a problem.  But hey, what are we going to do?  We'll just have to keep coming up with ways to stop them.

The Ugly

Ah yes, the ugly!  So what could be ugly, well competition has a thing for bringing out the worse in people, from unsportsmanlike conduct to down right cheating.  Now I'll never agree with those who believe that Yugioh is a kids game, because while many aspects of Yugioh are indeed geared and marketed towards kids, the game itself is for everyone.  However, some people just get out of hand and make me wonder if it should be regulated to a kids game.  I've heard people talk trash like they were the Ali of Yugioh, and I've heard many horror stories about conduct at Regional and National tournaments.  I have to ask myself;  Is it really that serious?  This game is great fun, to some it's addictive, but to those who feel the need to bring everyone else around them down because they think they are the best thing to happen to the game since Solemn Warning, well they need to take a step back and look at themselves and ask themselves if they really need to be playing this game.

Whether they do or they don't, the game of Yugioh is going to continue to grow, thrive, and evolve. It's going to have it's ups, and it's downs, and I for one believe that the Good outweighs both the bad, and the Ugly.  What do you think?  What are some of your most prominent memories about the game of Yugioh?  Whether they be Good, Bad, or Ugly, feel free to share!  That's all from me guys.  Play hard or go home!

William Levert
Cleveland, OH.
Altereality Games.

William Levert

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