Happy Birthday, Richard Garfield! A Magic: The Gathering Playlist

Today I'd like to say happy 50th birthday to the man that made my teenage years so thoroughly enjoyable. Richard Garfield is the man behind the combat collectible card game Magic: The Gathering, and it would not be remiss to say I was completely obsessed with it.

The direct descendant of President James A. Garfield got into Dungeons & Dragons at a young age. He'd already designed his first game himself by the age of 13. While still a mathematical grad student at University of Pennsylvania, he tried shopping around a game called RoboRally. What he ended up doing was crafting a fast-paced, minimal equipment card game aimed at tournament convention play at the personal bequest of Wizard of the Coast's Peter Adkison.

The rest is history. Magic: The Gathering remains an incredibly popular game, not to mention a really excellent set of spin-off books that brings their expansive stories to life. I haven't played much since the Ravnica set due to a combination of low funds and no time, but I check in on the happenings every now and again just to see what's there when I eventually head back. Thanks for the good time, Mr. Garfield. This playlist is for you.

Torches of Fury, "Three Black Mana": Back in before James Love got drafted to Dillinger's Escape Plan and later formed Golden Axe, he and Warren Hatfield, along with drummer Beau Beasley, formed the short-lived but excellent Torches of Fury right here in Houston. Their six song EP was one of the highlights of 2006, and contained "Three Black Mana." Love was an avid player of the game, and titled the song after the yield from the card Dark Ritual, which as a long time black deck player I can tell you is an essential card.

Zombie Cat Productions, "Magic: The Gathering the Musical": Last year the people at Zombie Cat Productions managed to raise almost $7,000 on Kickstarter to make a musical fan film of the game. Oh, and it has puppets, too, because why the hell not. This trailer hit the web last September, and the film debuted at the Atlanta Film Festival in March.

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner