Trading Card Game Evolution


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Starter packs for the “big 3” trading card games: Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokémon, and Magic the Gathering.

Ford Daniels, Writer

In recent times, trading card games have taken the world by storm. One such game leading the charge is the nostalgic childhood card game Pokémon. Beginning in 1996, creator, Satoshi Tajiri and illustrator, Ken Sugimori launched “Pocket Monsters” in both red and green versions for the Gameboy. Japan’s reception of the game was overwhelmingly positive, selling millions of copies, and going on to hit markets in the United States under the shortened name, “Pokémon”. Riding the wave of the Gameboy game’s popularity, the first Pokémon trading cards were released on October 20, 1996. This first set was comprised of 102 iconic cards, and with that, Pokémon exploded onto the scene, becoming arguably one of the greatest trading card games of all time. 

Pokémon isn’t the only popular trading card game to receive a drastic increase in popularity in recent years. Other games such as Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic the Gathering have won over the hearts of many trading card enthusiasts as well. Yu-Gi-Oh! is another trading card game of Japanese origin and much like its rival Pokémon, the card game was first introduced in Japan by the company Konami in 1999 and eventually made its way to the West in 2002. Magic the Gathering, however, is the only American made trading card game on this list and serves as one of the most popular trading card games in history. Created by Peter Adkinson, Magic the Gathering was first introduced in Dallas, Texas in 1993 at an event known as the Origins Game Fair. The response to the card game was so positive that it exploded onto the scene establishing itself as one of the most popular trading card games in the world. 

Spencer Waugh (10) describes the aspects of this legendary game that he enjoys. 

“I’d say my favorite game is probably Magic the gathering as it is the only one, I really know.  What I like about it though is how strange it is. It’s something different that most people don’t really do.” Waugh said. 

Trading card games are most often portrayed as products marketed specifically to children, however, many well-known YouTubers such as Logan Paul collect trading cards for large sums of money. Paul is most well-known for collecting Pokémon cards with exorbitant prices, and he has had multiple live streams in which he has unboxed rare cards that he has purchased. Paul’s involvement with the card game has also drastically increased the rarity and pricing of certain cards. His influence has greatly bolstered the popularity of the card game.  

Ian Semivan, a content creator at StockX elaborated on the absurdity of Paul’s impact. 

In the weeks immediately following Logan Paul’s first public box break, StockX saw an incredible 300% increase in Pokémon card trades” Semivan said. 

Trading card games possess many complicated facets and have a particular draw to them based upon the individual. 

Brady Johnson (10) shares what draws him to trading card games. 

“Trading card games are enjoyable as they are a good way to interact and connect with my friends, seeing as they are involved. They are also enjoyable as you are in control of every aspect of the way that you play, unlike in the real world.” Johnson said. 

Trading Card games continue to take the world by storm and show no signs of slowing down. Household names like Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic the Gathering continue to rise in popularity, and it seems like trading cards and the culture surrounding them are here to stay.