VGHS, Yu-Gi-Oh and the Games With No Rules

Hello all who read this blog, you beautiful, beautiful people.

I probably have said this before on this blog, but I read manga and watch anime. I also watch YouTube and enjoy the variety of content that is available.

Well, I was reading Yu-Gi-Oh the other day, and aside from it being more psychotic than the anime, I also realized that Yu-Gi-Oh truly gets a bad rap for a reason that I think is a little unfair.

Yu-Gi-Oh is very impressive because it not only has an anime, a manga, multiple video games, and large amounts of merchandising, but it also has an entire card game that is still relevant and highly structured.

This is where the problem lies. The Yu-Gi-Oh Manga started in 1997 and the card game started in 1999. The anime (not counting the questionable and spooky season 0) started in 2001, and 2002 for America.

By the time young kiddos started watching reruns on Saturday mornings the trading card game had been solidified. The rules are now known by every youngster in the land.

So when the show starts introducing the card game it becomes apparent that every character in the show has no clue what the actual rules are.

And it drives people crazy. Rules of the official card game being broken left and right. Somehow the zones that people play in affect the card abilities. Some cards can now be shrouded by darkness with other cards revealing them.

This is the most nonsensical amount of blatant rule breaking that could ever be in a show.

And it makes most people angry.

But most people don’t understand that the actual plot came way before the card game.

I’ve talked about shifting my frame of reference on this blog before, and I brought up how much I love Banjo and Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts. I feel like this works the same way.

Once I realized that the manga was just trying to tell a story through a story within the story that took the form of a card game I realized that it was doing a very good job of it.

The card game doesn’t exist as a card game in the Yu-Gi-Oh universe it exists as a medium for the story to propagate through.

Another notable example of this is a web-series on YouTube called VGHS, by far one of my favorite web-series of all time.

It follows the story of a FPS gamer boy named Brian D who, by random fluke, gets his way into VGHS, the prestigious Video Game High School.

What’s great about VGHS is that they never describe the game more than what is needed for the plot to advance.

One could argue that the scenes where they are being depicted “in the game” are too lifelike when you consider that they are canonically just wielding a mouse and keyboard. You would probably win that argument.

But that’s the great part about VGHS, there isn’t an FPS like the game they are describing. They aren’t saying we play Call of Duty like this. They are saying we have a game that is similar enough to Call of Duty for all of our audience to recognize, but with enough expressiveness and flexibility to move a dramatic plot through.

Every game shown in VGHS doesn’t exist to follow rules, because it never makes strict rules that could be broken.

The same thing with Yu-Gi-Oh, they first show a card game, and then they have a couple of rules to setup the premise, which they follow! The rest of the story is exactly that, a weird fluff meant to move a plot.

Yu-Gi-Oh didn’t mean to break rules, they just wanted a card game that people could relate to and understand while still having an emotional investment in.

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