I thought Yu-Gi-Oh was dead, like ancient Egyptian dead, but God-Cards-damn it I was wrong. It’s totally a thing now, and when I say it’s a thing, I don’t just mean a couple of acne covered Star War nerds play it in their basement in between masturbation sessions and arguing over whether Solo shot Greedo first (he totally did). Cool people play it. When I pitched this story at the AQ’s story meeting two editors immediately confessed their deep love of the game. Awesome.
You see, I’m a bit of a dork. And not that phony “I look dork in style but don’t know who Captain Kirk is.” I’m a loser. I still play Pokémon and my idea of a good time is getting drunk and playing Magic the Gathering against my 10-year-old friends. I often lose. I’ve embraced it. And that’s why I think Yu-Gi-Oh coming back to the spotlight is the best thing ever. We all need to embrace our inner loser.
I interviewed STUSU president, Santiago Chavez and his fellow duellists Sebastian Bustamante and Rene Doucette about their closeted Yu-Gu-Oh love and convinced them it was time to come out.
“It’s like the Illuminati. We’re not like official and we’re secretive. But people know it exists,” Doucette said. “We’re trying to get Jay-Z into this but he hasn’t gotten back to us.”
Chavez and Bustamante duelled against each other last school year but it wasn’t until the beginning of this year when Doucette started summoning monsters to the field. I asked who out of them was the Yugi Muto (the main character of the original Yu-Gi-Oh show) of the group. They all pointed to Chavez. Everybody likes Chavez. It’s true, but then I noticed something: the sheer ferocity Doucette had towards the game.
“Some people don’t believe in the heart of their cards. I believe in my cards so I only have one deck,” Doucette yelled above the other two. “When it comes to my strategy, I have this [card], Ventura, who is basically the motherfucking boss of Yu-Gi-Oh. He attacks for 2000 life points at a time at my opponent, directly. That guy is a fucking thug.”
Chavez and Bustamante confide in me that Doucette’s deck doesn’t have any real strategy because it sucks.
Despite this betrayal, Doucette and Chavez do agree on one thing, they’re both unsure if they can trust Bustamante’s rulings.
“He has these cards that are like, ‘OK listen, all your spell cards don’t work, all your monster cards don’t work, your trap cards don’t work and you cannot summon anything. Nice try. Try to win,’” Doucette said.
I promised them they we wouldn’t be the only ones coming out about the love that dare not speak its game. And I honour my promises. I also talked to Ryan VanBuskirk, another cool dude. He played Yu-Gi-Oh as a child but started back up in Grade 10 or 11. He’s real into it. He was going to name his apartment the Shadow Realm.
“Yu-Gi-Oh knows no gender, race, age or creed,” VanBuskirk told me. “Except that it’s Egyptian… or Japanese. It’s busy.”
He told me about the time he came out to his parents.
“In university everybody experiments. You do things you thought you’d never do in high school. I went back home, and I said ‘Mom and dad, *sigh*, I’ve been playing Yu-Gi-Oh again.’ And they said, ‘Oh honey…’
“No they didn’t. They said… ‘Okay.’ They thought I was talking about Pokémon at first.”
He and his brother like playing with the cards everybody calls shitty but then try to make them good. To him, Yu-Gi-Oh is serious business.
VanBuskirk doesn’t appreciate it when people call it a kid’s game.
“Is Crazy Eights a kid’s game? Is poker a kid’s game? Is Russian Roulette a kids game?”
You know what? He’s right. People underestimate the power of Yu-Gi-Oh. They don’t understand that if we all just accepted our love of duelling, the world would be a better place. I’d like to close on a nugget of wisdom Doucette dropped on me. He convinced me it’s time to convert to a Yu-Gi-Oh-based society.
“Here’s the thing, it could actually solve a lot of things,” he told me. “Can you protect your family? Yes you can. Go to Toys R Us and buy new cards.”
Remember, it’s not the size of your deck that matters, it’s how much you believe in it.
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