Magic: The Superverting

It seems it isn’t just literature and movies that can be superversive but games can as well. Pierce T. Oka of Dogma and Dragons blog has an exploration of the venerable Magic the Gathering card game.

In middle school, my friend Ethan introduced me to what would become my favorite game of all time, Magic: The Gathering. I had heard about it here and there before; it was an “older kids” game by the same people who made my Pokemon cards, but I had never seen it. We had a blast with it for a brief time. Every few years I would return to it briefly, but it wasn’t until college that I found a group to play with consistently. Presently, I’ve competed in a Games Day, a prerelease, and a Pro Tour Qualifier, and play competitively on a semi-regular basis; Magic is my favorite tabletop game, bar none. Yet, from the handful of games I played in my youth, why did I keep returning to this game, even when I had barely anyone to play it with? The excellent design and enjoyability of the game is a satisfactory enough answer, but I believe there is something more. Truth. That which mens’ minds and hearts are naturally drawn to with an inexorable force. To borrow a phrase from Tolkien, I believe Magic, like all great works with enduring appeal, contains in it a splinter of the Light, whose shining beckons to something deep in the hearts of all men, even if they do not realize it. Yet this Light is indeed splintered, refracted, “to many hues, and endlessly combined
in living shapes that move from mind to mind”. The full Light would be too powerful, too blinding. Few, if any, could approach. Many might flee it. So the Light goes out in the guise of a fairy-story wizard, gathering a crowd with fantastical displays of fireballs and fairies, conjurings of goblins and great beasts; and with the crowd so enthralled, imparts a bit of itself to them. In a word, I believe Magic: The Gathering is superversive.

Check out the rest of Magic: The Superverting, or, Superversion isn’t just for literature anymore because I can’t do all the art work justice here!