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Amid a sea of digital entertainment, card games will never die


College is a time to explore a variety of activities with Central Michigan University offering a chance to get involved in everything from intramural sports to gaming clubs.

CMU has seen a rise in card gaming culture over the last few years with games ranging from the traditional deck of cards to games using specific decks. The seemingly most popular of these games is called "Magic: The Gathering."

"Magic: The Gathering" was introduced in 1993. Each game represents a battle between wizards and uses fantasy elements to defeat one’s opponents. It is played using a deck of printed cards or a deck of virtual cards for the Internet-based version of the game.

“It is one of the oldest games and it is highly popular,” said Dion Campbell, a Marion senior and president of the Mount Pleasant Gaming Association, a local group that meets weekly to play different games. “We meet every Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Down Under Food Court."

Campbell said that while "Magic" is a very popular game right now, other consistently popular trading card games are available such as "Pokémon" and "Yu-Gi-Oh!." They are ranked the top 3 games right now based on the number of games sold in America.

The "Pokémon Trading Card Game" is played with the goal of using one's cards and their individual strengths and weaknesses to "knock out" an opponent.

Campbell said these games are very popular for three main reasons.

“These (games) have history,” he said. “They allow you to socialize and play against an opponent. People will collect the cards, which can sell for a lot of money, and people like to compete.”

Card gaming competitions are a big incentive for some people, as many competitions offer substantial prizes such as scholarships.

Michael Travis-Shuler, owner of the local shop, Hall of Heroes, said Magic is very popular among college students at CMU, but others are played frequently as well.

“The game has a fantasy background to it,” he said. “Yu-Gi-Oh is also very popular, though that is geared a little younger.”

Travis-Shuler said his store offers a variety of products such as comic books and board games.

Debunking misconceptions

Campbell said there are about 38 students in the Mount Pleasant Gaming Association right now.

“I have been president for about two years now,” he said. “I love communicating and socializing with everyone.”

He said he thinks there are some common misconceptions about people who like to play card games.

“People say they are antisocial, and it is not very true,” he said. “MPGA has a variety of people. There is definitely a lot of misinformation.”

Campbell said he believes "Magic," "Pokemon" and "Yu-Gi-Oh!" will remain the most popular games in coming years, even though new games will be invented.

“Japan is big on producing games,” he said. “Card Fight Vanguard is already number four, and is already replacing some games in terms of popularity.”