Did you ever find yourself looking for something in particular, but as you were looking you found something else that sent you down memory lane and completely threw you off of your search? Well, that’s what happened to me last weekend when I went looking for a bicycle tire pump that we keep in the shed. Of course, the shed is an organized mess filled with landscaping equipment, tools, holiday decorations, and boxes unevenly stacked on top of other boxes.
In one of those boxes, a pile of old books caught my eye. These were books I hadn’t seen in years. As I nonchalantly just flipped through the pages of this old Lemony Snicket book (don't ask) out fell five Yu-Gi-Oh! cards that I've had since the late 90s and hadn't seen since around 2004-ish. Immediately, the cards became more important and I forgot what I was looking for in the first place. In fact, my bicycle tire is still flat.
I remember that I used to keep some of my cards stashed in the pages of books because I wanted to keep them flat and because I wanted my backpack to look like it only had school supplies in it at first glance. Again, don’t ask.
For a while, these particular cards were my most prized possessions. For me, much like most kids, I’m sure, Yu-Gi-Oh cards were like a jr. version of an American Express Card...I never left home without them. So you can imagine my surprise when I was suddenly re-introduced to them after so many years. And with these cards came a wealth of memories that spans almost 20 years and 3,000 miles.
These are the five cards that I found.
1. Dark Magician
This was by far my most favorite card, but of course, I never let my other cards know that. I remember that this particular card was in the first pack that I ever opened and it just happened to be a card that the title character, Yugi Mutou, used quite often in the cartoon series, which I watched religiously. Back in the day, I had a friend named Johnny Franco, who was a couple of years older than me, and he’s the one who got me hooked on Yu-Gi-Oh when I was around 7 or 8 years old.
Together, we would go to the gas station/convenience store up the street, which at the time sold trading cards at the front counter. We bought two packs, one for me and one for him, and opened them up. Our packs were pretty similar, but there was one HUGE difference, my pack came with a Dark Magician card and his came with a Skull Knight (which I’ll mention in a little bit).
Now, Johnny had been looking for the Dark Magician for quite a while and the fact that I found it on my first try didn’t sit well with him. Despite all the things he tried, I would never give up the card. And to this day, I’m glad that I didn’t.
2. Skull Knight
Image from TCGplayer.com
This was a common card from the Metal Raiders Singles Yu-Gi-Oh! set. I mentioned the Skull Knight earlier in that this was the card that was in Johnny’s pack. So, you’re probably wondering how I came to possess it. Well, back in summer 2002, my family was moving from NY to AZ where I live now, and on one of the last days before the big move, Johnny made one last attempt to make the Dark Magician disappear from my deck.
He challenged me to a duel. A sort of winners keepers type of duel. If he won I would give him the magician, but if I won he would give me the Skull Knight. I always liked and wanted the Skull Knight, but not at the cost of my magician. Since he was my friend and this was going to be one of the last times I was going to see him, I accepted. Plus, I figured that if I was going to lose it, I’d rather lose it to him, instead of some random kid. You can guess who came out on top, given the fact that I have the Knight today.
After I won, I didn’t want to take the Skull Knight from him, even though I REALLY wanted it in my deck. So, I said, “forget it John...keep it”. That’s when he said, “No! You won it. Think of it as something to remember me by.” And that was the last time I ever saw or spoke to him.
3. Blue-Eyes White Dragon
Image from ygoprodeck.com
Ah, the ever so popular Blue-Eyes White Dragon. I actually had two of these, one of which I traded for another Dragon card that I also found in the shed that day, just with different colored eyes. Blue Eyes was a popular card, mostly because it was used in the cartoon series by Yugi’s arch-rival, Seto Kaiba. I don’t remember exactly how I came to possess two of these, but I do remember that the first one I ever received was in a pack that my dad had bought for me shortly after we moved into the house in AZ. This would have been in the winter of 2002.
By now, I was a huge fan of the game and series, so when I was finally able to add a Blue-Eyes to my arsenal, I was beyond ecstatic. I mean, here was a card that was more powerful than both my Dark Magician and Skull Knight and looked absolutely amazing as well. I was glad to see that it was still in pretty good shape/condition, with only a little bit of wear around one of the edges. But for the most part, this card kept its striking appearance, even after 15 or so years in that shed. I think keeping it in the pages of that book really helped.
4. Red-Eyes Black Dragon
Image from trollandtoad.com
I did a lot more trading than dueling after I moved to AZ, and this is one of the cards that I traded my second Blue-Eyes for. I know, most players probably would’ve never given up a Blue-Eyes for a Red-Eyes, but at the time I wanted to add some variety to my deck. I was always impressed by Red-Eyes and the only way this kid (named Tyler) would give me the dragon is if I traded him one of my Blue-Eyes. Plus, he was always nice to me and we were in the same class for three straight years.
Aside from its capabilities, this card always looked awesome to me. Even today, it still has that nice, slick sheen to it, especially around the eyes in the background when the light hits it just right. Believe it or not, I actually didn’t expect to see this card again. In fact, I can’t recall really using it all that much. Even though it wasn’t exactly one of my favorites, I was happy to know that I still had it and that it was in good condition given where it's been for the last decade and a half.
5. Monster Reborn
Image from trollandtoad.com
To say that this card came in handy during most of my duels would be an understatement. This card got a TON of use back in the day, and when I found it hiding in the back pages of that book, I was immediately sent back to those good old days off battling it out with my new group of friends in the school cafeteria. Although this isn’t some ultra-rare monster card that would devour whatever it was faced with, the Monster Reborn card was one of my favorites because of what it could do and the fact that it played a part in me being victorious on more than one occasion.
The Monster Reborn card, as the name suggests, is used for summoning/resurrecting monsters from either player’s graveyard and placing them in your field of play. Unfortunately, I only ever had one of these cards and the fact that there were a few rivals of mine that had two or three of these absolutely killed me. But, it served its purpose and certainly got me out of a few jams over the years. So, I couldn’t complain, especially since there were friends of mine who didn’t have this spell card in their deck. And the fact that I still have it (in clean condition) certainly says a lot about what it meant to me and what it still means to me all these years later.
Thanks for taking this trip down Yu-Gi-Oh! memory lane with me. It’s amazing how suddenly the past can just come knocking around again because of something so simple or unintended. And just like that, it offers to take you back to a place and a time you once knew, which is fine, but sometimes you just have to hope it's a place you want to go back to. In this case, I really did.
These five cards played a role in my early years and my growing up. They were my outlet I guess for when times got rough or difficult. So, to see them again was both surprising and welcomed, as they not only represent a game, but tell a story that I haven’t thought about in a long time.
So, do/did you have any of these cards? If so, are they still in your possession or do you have to go digging for them? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you have any cards that take you back in time and tell a story like mine did, I’d love to hear it!
Until we meet again,
Vince the Prince