Magic: The Gathering:
a legend behind this game. See, when my oft-mentioned friend Dan left
to join the USMC, he left his old Playstation and games with me as a
parting gift. But with it came these words of warning:
play Battlemage. It sucks."
could tell, honestly. The disc was totally unscratched, and the manual
was in the jewel case unlike about half of his games. So I didn't touch
the cursed disc for nearly two years.
crap, this thing sucks. I'll mainly call it a 'game' since it's in Playstation
have a love/hate relationship with 'fantasy.' I've been known to dabble
in D&D; on the other hand I find the vast majority
of medieval 'high' fantasy boring as hell. I've loved the Lord of the
Rings movies thus far; but hell if I'll actually read Tolkien
any time soon. And so on and so on.
brings me to the immensely popular collectible card game Magic: The
Gathering. The fact that something in my brain just doesn't want to
memorize the rules beyond the basic concept of the game makes me something
of an outcast among geeks. Most of my friends carry a deck around with
them, ready to throw down at a moment's notice. Pokemon and the more
recent Yu-Gi-Oh may come and go, but rest assured there will still be
another series of themed Magic cards coming out when the shelves clear.
Long after atomic bombs wipe humanity off the planet in a gory spectacle
followed by a few years of agonizing living death begging for the rays
of a dead sun, rest assured, the cockroaches will take over. And once
that's done, they're going to whip out their tiny little Magic: The
Roach Apocalypse decks.
speaking as someone acting as a sort of moderator between those who
grok and those who don't grok*, basically you have
a deck of cards of varying types that you play in order to beat the
other players. Or sorcerers or planewalkers or whatever you want to
call yourself, Sir Lanced-a-lot, The Anal. Land cards, for example,
supply you with Mana, which are basically magic points you spend to
evoke a monster or spell effect. Monsters and spells inflict ticks of
HP damage on other players and their servant critters. So, much as I
gave up on Battletech for making me keep track of how often my mech
overheats and gets its chest shot out in a pitched battle, I've resolved
to take a more or less neutral stance on Magic: The Franchising.
I will say I like it lots better than the ill-fated Ani-Mayhem CCG.
Yeah, Akane's big sister from Ranma is really an even match for a Dragonball
character riding in the Tiger Special from Dominion Tank Police.
was I? Oh right, I was going to talk about Magic: The Gathering: Battlemage.
The extra subtitle is for extra suck.
first, let me call attention to the fact that there are actually places
on the internet where you can download videos of people playing Magic.
I don't personally care, and I figure anyone out there who knows Magic
likely knows about the live streaming CARD GAME FOOTAGE. So as a public
service, I ask you to not narrate card games at your friends on the
internet unless a fistfight breaks out or the demons come to life. Being
given a to-the-minute report of just how boring the match is to you
is inflicting an exponential amount of boredom upon your friends. And
they'll tell their friends how boring it is, and they'll tell their
friends, and so on and so on. Next thing you know, the entire world
is bored and they launch a nuclear war just for something to do.
For an idea of what happens after that, please refer to the roaches
playing cards scenario seen above.
what I call a tangent, folks. -ed)
getting to the game. M to the G to the B is a Playstation game that
makes me pine for the quick and streamlined play of the card game. You
control one of seven Wizards who came to the world of Dominaria in the
galaxy of Domino's or something to beat the mystical shit out of the
other six. Standing between you and victory is also a clunky real-time
battle engine. Basically, regardless of which character you select at
the beginning they'll appear as a functionally immobile lump in Druid
robes. The game also contains over 200 faithfully duplicated cards with
their lovingly detailed paintings. But here the creatures are given
AI that makes them function like the Goblin Special Ed battalions from
Warcraft. Even the buttons act retarded. After a few fumbling attempts
I realized I did, in fact have the instruction manual. Even after skimming
it, I ended up relying on mashing one or more buttons down at a time
to occasionally select and cast something that might show up on the
instruction manual offers you this bit of sage advice:
"Listen to the mystic
voice say the name of the spell as it's being cast. If you hear the
voice and you haven't cast the spell, get ready, because it's been cast
by a rival and it's probably coming your way!"
ready for what, exactly? Who knows. You character gave up the use of
his/her legs in exchange for ungodly worldly power. So, let me paint
you a scenario. You tap R1 and bring up your cards. Hitting left and
right to cycle through them in no particular order. Mashing the selection
key until it clicks and the Mystic Voice asks you to please tap Mana.
Immediately after that, she says "Grizzly Bear. Ring of protection:
Black." About five minutes later a brown twitching sprite walks
up to your wizard, stares at it for a second, then swipes and teleports
back to where it came from. Your life jewels go down to zero and you
get your hopes up that the game is almost over, but alas, you actually
have 20 life points. The game just only displays five at a time.
graphics and sound are every bit as nasty as the rest of it. If nothing
else I have to applaud M:TG:B for ensuring an even quality of awful
throughout the presentation. The opening cinematic is your first clue
as a couple of faceless retarded wizards convulse and wobble 'mystically'
while their spells and creatures do battle. One gets knocked off his
pillar by a blue Genie, only to come riding back on the back of a giant
purple spider. The interface screens are intricately detailed but about
as coherently designed as the Excel Saga DVD menus. Protip: Click the
upward-pointing arrow between wizard portraits to start a match. I can
understand the deck construction screen taking a while, but just selecting
a Wizard requires each player clicking the portrait to go to the real
select screen, choosing, then going back. Repeat for Player 2. The in
game characters are significantly worse than anything else so far, then
again how many games can make the directly overhead perspective look
good? If you said Mission: Impossible, congratulations; you're a retard.
figured the Magic video game was going to be a fast-paced, simplified
game akin to Front Mission or any other number of strategy role playing
games. Instead we're treated to a digitization of the card game, with
an vain attempt to integrate it into a realtime engine. To put this
all in perspective, imagine a game of cards with melodramatic presentation.
Wherein Gladys of the Pineview Cul-De-Sac invokes the King of Spades,
who slowly plods to the discard pile. "GO FISH!!" Bob, seller
of propane bids.
I don't play cards either. Just take my word for it, I know a bad game
when I see it, and Battlemage is a collapsed star in terms of suckage.
For the bargain bin price of this you could probably just as easily
get a pack of actual Magic cards. Or a roach trap.
in a Strange Land is a pretty good book. By encouraging you to read
it to find out what 'grok' is, I'm making up for saying Tolkien is boring.