Editorial: Card Games in Video Games?

Good day to you, Lusipoids! It is time to t-t-t-t-t-t-t-talk about card games! More accurately, card games that have been published as video games. Though card games such as Solitaire and Cribbage have been published as standalone games and as part of larger packages of video games with card game themes, and though the Pokémon Trading Card Game has had two video game incarnations, I will discuss two specific trading card game series: Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh!.

A very good card game. Play it.
A very good card game. Play it.

Though there have been several Magic The Gathering video games, the most popular is Magic: The Gathering — Duels of the Planeswalkers for the PC and Xbox Live Arcade, and for good reason. Duels of the Planeswalkers accurately simulates the trading card game experience in a way that is satisfactory to veteran players and easy to learn for new players. Instead of allowing for full deck customization, the game restricts players to pre-constructed decks. The player has the ability to unlock new decks and additional cards that can be added to decks by defeating computer opponents in the game’s Campaign mode. The game has a Challenge mode, which consists of puzzles that can only be solved by playing certain cards in the right way. These entertaining puzzles force the player to think hard about how they are playing because there is only one way to beat each puzzle. The game also has a cooperative mode called Two-Headed Giant, in which two players share a field against a pair of AI players. Players can play locally using a single Xbox 360 console or over Xbox Live with their friends. PC players get the short end of the stick, as although they gain a two-player vs mode, they lose the ability to play the game online. It is the multiplayer portion of the game that I find the most interesting. A decent multiplayer experience in a video game version of a trading card game can be an adequate replacement for the trading card game itself.

When I look to buy a video game based on a trading card game, that is what I look for. The video game should present me with the opportunity to experience all that the trading card game has to offer for a fraction of the price. Trading cards are expensive. Booster packs can cost several dollars apiece and are not guaranteed to contain the cards that a player wants for his deck. Box sets of cards with specific themes exist, but they are far more expensive. Individual cards can be purchased, but their prices depend on who is selling them and their rarity. In my opinion, a good video game version of a trading card game provides all of the cards that exist in the game at the time of its release. It should also have an excellent multiplayer experience. I should be able to play the game with someone as if I owned all of the trading cards and my opponent and I were in a friendly match with our favorite decks. That said, Duels of the Planeswalkers fails in that respect. Decks are pre-constructed and can only be modified by adding special cards that the player obtains by defeating AI opponents. In the sequel game, decks can be further modified by removing cards, but I would still find that inadequate. There is, however, a trading card video game series that meets my expectations. That game series is the Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship series for the Nintendo DS.

Card games on motorcycles!
Card games on motorcycles!

The Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship series is set in the world of the Yu-Gi-Oh! television series. The player collects cards in a single-player mode and can duel AI opponents to collect DP in order to buy booster packs. The player can also log in to Nintendo WiFi in order to download additional cards daily. Once a player has a card list for a booster pack, they can enter a passcode printed on a real life card that is found in that pack in order to purchase that card specifically. Some players use cheating devices in order to complete their card collections. Lusipurr.com does not condone cheating to gain unfair advantage over other players. That said, I did just that because I wanted to use the game to simulate playing the trading card game, not to simulate buying booster packs and being forever without money.

The games perform perfectly as trading card game simulators. They come complete with local wireless multiplayer and WiFi multiplayer, where a group of friends can play against each other in 1v1 and 2v2 formats. Players can choose to customize their own decks or to play with pre-constructed decks as in the aforementioned Duels of the Planeswalkers. The games are up-to-date with the Japanese trading cards at the time of their release, which means that they often contain initially contain cards that have yet to be released in the United States. The game automatically handles most timing, though some cards must be triggered by the player.

For fans of the trading card games, Magic: The Gathering — Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 and Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship 2011 are certainly an excellent cost-effective way to continue playing with friends. I believe that as long as there are trading card games, there should be a less expensive video gaming option for people to consider as well.

4 comments

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  2. I’m not sure how easy it is to learn how to play Magic with this game. I have it and think it’s a lot of fun but I already had a basic knowledge of it when I started playing it. I have many coworkers who are serious Magic players. Although I enjoy it I do not wish to put the time or the money into making high caliber decks, so this allows us to meet in the middle. Plus it comes with a voucher for a promo card, the value of which pays for the game itself.

  3. I first learned Magic’s basics with the game. It was nice because it is a controlled environment that helps you get a feel for the timing of playing cards. It’s also nice to learn using a video game because the game doesn’t allow you to make illegal moves. Sometimes, if a friend teaches you, you make illegal moves that they don’t catch.

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