The trading card game Magic: The Gathering was the first of its kind and is still very popular with around 35 million players. But after a card was withdrawn for the first time in April due to current events, there was an official statement on the website last Thursday to ban further cards.
The news has been dominated by two topics in the past few weeks. On the one hand by the coronavirus pandemic, on the other hand by the Black Lives Matter movement, which has made waves around the world from the USA. But how does this have to do with a trading card game?
Magic the Gathering: “Invoke Prejudice” sparked the discussion
To the chagrin of the Wizards of the Coast Verlag, some cards hit the nerve of the times, in a negative sense. The first card it's about is called: Spacegodzilla, Corona of Death. The set in which the card appeared is called Ikoria: Empire of the Behemoths, has already been launched. The publisher was therefore unable to withdraw the card in time. But in newer editions the Spacegodzilla will from now on be called Conqueror of the Void. The publisher cannot be blamed for the rapid and unpredictable development of the virus.
A much more discussed topic are cards that express or depict racist references. The first Magic cards were printed in 1993, and the cards at the center of the discussion date back to 1994. So these cards didn't just exist since yesterday.
The “Invoke Projudice” card sparked a debate about racism at the time. Copyright: Wizards of the Coast
After attention was drawn to the card criticized as inappropriate, the publisher reacted. The illustration showed figures in robes reminiscent of Ku Klux Klan robes. Invoke Prejudice was banned and other cards followed. These include Cleanse, Stone-Throwing Devils, Pradesh Gypsies, Jihad, Imprison and Crusade.
A start has been reached, the publisher has now drawn up a list in which all cards should be listed that convey racist views of the world. This list will continue to be edited and expanded if necessary. The editors apologize for the omission and also state: "Racism in any form is unacceptable and is not justified in our games or anywhere else."
This won't damage the gaming experience, because the publisher keeps banning cardsto create a balance in tournaments or to provide variety. That makes the game exciting and also the exchange of cards with other players. Magic: The Gathering thrives on variety and an open-minded community of players.
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