Nerd culture is taking over America. It’s seeping into every aspect of what people consume and enjoy. From comic books to Star Trek to video games, the old stigmas are falling away, leaving in its place an acceptance of unabashedly and openly loving nerdy things.
And in the wake of this, the entertainment industry gave the people what they wanted, and the resulting numbers are staggering.
The latest season of the cult classic series Doctor Who had over 2 million tune into the premiere, and that’s not even counting British viewers.
Blizzard’s Hearthstone, a free-to-play online card game, clocks in at thirty million players, and is in the midst of releasing a fourth set of cards after only being around for a year.
And the trailer for the upcoming Star Wars film has a whooping fifty-seven million views and the movie is projected to earn two billion upon release.
Clearly, the market is well saturated, but for those of us who don’t want to spend all our time staring at a screen, I can think of no better option than Magic: the Gathering.
Created more than two decades ago by Richard Garfield, Magic is a fantasy card game you may already be familiar with if you’ve ever walked among school children. But what a lot of people don’t know is it’s not only for kids. In fact, it’s got a massive following and community. One that, whether you know it or not, surrounds you as you’re reading this. Marketed seemingly by almost just word of mouth.
In Pinellas County alone there are nine different shops that sell cards, including Firefly Games on Seminole Blvd and Shortstops Sport Cards off of U.S. Highway 19. And in places like these on any given weekend you can see how big the game is, with rows of tables populated by people both young and old laughing, chatting, and slinging cards back and forth. I called it a community before, and that’s really the best word to describe it. Friendships and rivalries are made over cardboard, and some people have been involved with the game for years.
But that’s not to say it’s hard to get into for newcomers. Far from it actually. The game’s design makes it easy for novices to learn the basic ropes, and the community is often incredibly friendly to people who want to give it a try. With the most common entry-point being a weekly casual tournament called Friday Night Magic.
So, for those of you who just had their interested piqued, why not give it a shot? A world of monsters, magic, and competition awaits you, if only you’re willing to step inside.
If you liked this article, you can read more of Brandon Scott’s work on The Hive, or at his website www.coolerbs.com.