Magic: The Gathering on “SNL” [Games]

On Saturday Night Live season 33, episode 2, originally broadcast on October 6, 2007 and again repeated on August 2, 2008, Seth Rogen‘s monologue makes reference to the card game Magic: The Gathering. Seth is reading from an SNL acceptance speech he wrote when he was 13 in anticipation of hosting 20 years later. In addition to making great retro references such as a talking Lamborghini (derived of course from KITT in Knight Rider) and becoming a member of the Wu-Tang Clan, his monologue included new ideas for new Magic: The Gathering cards.

I remember playing this turn-based collectible card game later in my childhood (I think I was 17 at the time). The concept was a simple one: each player started with a set number of “life points”, and you would try to force your opponent’s life points to zero by strategically playing and turning cards. Each card was coloured white, blue, red, green, or black, and had specific instructions. Each card could “attack” (such as “Destroy all creatures. They can’t be regenerated.”) or “defend” against an oncoming attack (“Counter target spell.”). Depending on the outcome of the cards, one of the two players would win.

One of the great aspects of playing the game was trading – the starter decks came with 60 random cards. As the game became more and more popular, the players discovered that some of the more powerful cards were rarer to find than others. A trading frenzy ensued, with players trading up to 20 cards or more for one very powerful one, and I know many players who blew a fortune on attaining the one card that would be required to make theirs the perfect deck.

Of course, the game was converted to digital format in 2002, and eventually became of the first online turn-based card playing games.

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