Nostalgia for Something I Didn’t Have

A fan of trading card game cards.Ever since the hubbub of a Magic collector pulling a Black Lotus from a sealed Alpha starter deck live on camera hit last week, I’ve found his YouTube channel, openboosters, curiously fascinating. I wasn’t a big Magic player and my era was the end of Revised to the deflated party balloon launch that was Homelands — and I never really grokked the strategy of the game and deckbuilding like most players did — but I knew the cards of the time pretty well thanks to InQuest printing their text at the back of every issue.

Watching this fellow crack open packs feels like a vicarious pleasure. I didn’t do much pack-cracking[1] — never bought a box, or part of one, only one and two boosters at a time — so getting to see it through his eyes, and having the benefit of his knowledge about which card is the rare, and which are fun cards to play, is gratifying. I remember knowing many of those card names and art, but didn’t get to experience them in play. Now I can have the best of seeing cards in “person” for the first time, and the flush of fond memories, even if they aren’t mine.

From time to time, I’ve wished there were a way to go back to the early days of Magic, when you had just the core set at the time, with its Power Nine and other ridiculousness, and just play that era of the game, without necessarily having to track down cards of absurd rarity and value. Picture a Chronicles-like throwback covering the entire core set.

For now, I’ll keep watching openboosters. He’s got to hit on a Kird Ape at some point, right?


[1] And hold no illusions about any joy to be gleaned from such activities, having once lost my mind and bought a dozen or more Illuminati: New World Order starter decks.

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