Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Damn it. I Want a Magic the Gathering TV Show

Okay so I was watching Card Fight!! Vanguard. It's one in a long line of TV shows based on card games. I love me some Magic The Gathering and every now and again I find myself in a deck building slump. One of the ways I try to get myself out of it is watching such shows, but none of them feel right.

Yu-Gi-Oh (The Original)

It had a bunch of problems. The first was rules consistency. The game was never suppose to be a big part of the series in the first place so in the beginning the rules are wonky.

The main problem I had with Yu-Gi-Oh of course was with the stakes and acceptable levels of disbelief. I can believe that a game is based off some ancient mumbo jumbo, but why the hell would wizards invoke magic with paper playing cards. Why the hell would a game like this be a mechanism for unleashing unspeakable evil that could only be stopped by a foolish samurai warrior who stepping forth to oppose... wait what was I saying.

The truth of the matter is that the plot would have been better without the card games and the card games would have been better without that plot.

Duel Masters

Okay, Duel Masters was actually created in part by Wizards of the Coast, the company that makes Magic. Yu-gi-oh was taking off and was an obvious rip off. Hell the creator of Yu-gi-oh even admitted it. (That's not to say it's bad. Just based off Magic.)See back in the day Yugi just played random shadow games. One was an expy/lawyer friendly version of Magic and it so happened that it became popular and developed into a plot tumor. Later it was defictionalized and more rounded out.

Anyway Wizards saw this and said hey why can't we profit from this stuff. And created a nerfed version of Magic and a TV show to compete.

It was actually pretty cool because it didn't take itself too seriously. That said it has a lot of the same problems as Yu-gi-oh. While the show has a lot of great humor I just want something with people playing card games as boring as that sounds.


Okay the first season of Chaotic will probably be the closest thing I get to the show I want. A show about a bunch of friends playing a game they all liked. The problem I had with it is that it was complicated and convoluted, especially when it tried to explain the, "flavor" of the game in later seasons.

This is my problem with all of these shows. If you're going to do that, make it its own damn show, maybe a 10 minute end segment. I'm not saying a TV show about the plot to Scars of Mirrodin would be boring. I'm just saying it would be distracting from the more competitive card game plots. Choose one. A sports TV show or a fantasy TV show.

Note: I'm not calling Magic The Gathering a sport. I'm saying that I want a show involving it in the format of a sports movie or TV Show. Like, and damn I don't want to admit I watch this, Bamboo Blade.

Or maybe something like Initial D.

with maybe the tone and setting of Genshiken. A college Magic the Gathering club would make sense.

Even if they did it there would be problems.

First they would run into the Tron effect. As a guy who plays the game, I can just watch and be entertained but it wouldn't exactly be an action packed show to watch people throwing down cardboard so they would have to have some sort of visual way to represent what is going on which may or may not be consistent with any rules system. And that may defeat the purpose of the, "sports aspect".

Second, none of these shows, with the exception of Yu-Gi-Oh really, really focused on character development, because the show wasn't about the characters. It was about magic and monsters. The thing is any sports movie or tv show has to be about the characters. Hell it would be that way even for a fantasy series. The problem is a lot of these shows just focused on how cool the game was without really rounding out the characters and it made things less interesting.

One thing that makes the players of any sports movie interesting are the characters' play styles, and the only way to really have that come through in a non-superficial way would to really show the viewers how the game really worked. Again this is one of my pet peeves out Yu-gi-oh in the early days. It would just be my monster is bigger so it destroys your monster which got old quick watching the show. (It's annoying me about the current standard environment too. Look WOTC an improved power:converted mana cost ratio does not equal cooler cards.) That or again with the weird wacky doesn't make sense inconsistent rules. That's why people love battle city, that's when the rules became consistent and the battles became interesting.

Magic has a really flexible rules system that allows for several ways of going about winning. I loved when Yu-gi milled Marek's deck. It would take work and finesse but if they could create a show could fully use the rules that would be really interesting rather than the stupid, "Hey my deck's made out of bugs because I'm the creepy bug guy" way these shows have been going about it.

Have a guy who likes burn spells, another who wins through tramply creatures, white weenie, combo, control, infinite mana. Heck even throw in a couple multiplayer games where politics matters. You get my point.

Another beef is that none of these shows ever take the competitive aspect seriously. They always need to add another gimmick along the line. Look, Rocky long ago proved it.

Two people locked in a contest they both want to win can be entertaining in and of itself. Nor does any party have to be overtly evil. Hell it can sometimes be interesting if both are likable and you don't know who you want to win. You can have drama simply because both sides want to win the damn game. Not lose. Not tie. Win!.

Ultimately I just want a show that would take the idea seriously.

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