It's weird, but I've had a hankering lately to get back into Magic: The Gathering. I got out of it in the mid-90s (somewhere around the release of 'Tempest', when I realized that my completist urges, my retail job, and WotC's release schedule made for a very bad combination) but the closure of 'City of Heroes' has made me long for tabletop gaming once again, and so I decided that I could get back into it on a limited basis. So I bought ten bucks worth of commons, a stack of basic lands...and I was surprised to discover that something I thought would be timeless was anything but.
There are no Llanowar Elves in the latest edition. No Fireballs, no Lightning Bolts, no Counterspells or Prodigal Sorcerers. No Terror or Pestilence, no Disenchant or Circle of Protection...somewhere in the intervening decade or so, the decision that there were certain "indispensable" cards that would carry over from one edition to the next (of course, they're not called "editions" anymore, they're "core sets") went by the wayside. Even the rules changed--no more Interrupts, no more burying creatures, and many mechanics I'm already familiar with like "Walls" and "Can block creature with flying" and "remove from the game" got codewords like "Defender" and "Reach" and "Exile".
It's a little bit weird to me. I'd always known Magic was putting out new sets while I was away, but somehow I always assumed that getting back into the game would just be a case of shaking off the rust and refamiliarizing myself with the cards. Now I find out that it's like learning a whole new game all over again. This isn't a bad thing, don't get me wrong--I learn new games all the time. But an experience I thought would be like coming back home has turned out to be a visit to a whole new place, and I'm not quite sure how I feel about that. Maybe this is just what getting old feels like. Any day now I'll start talking about how back in my day, when you tapped too many lands in one turn, it actually hurt you! And we liked it! Then I'll start longing for Shivan Dragons and they'll put me in a home.
Or not. Maybe I'll embrace this strange new world where you can have planeswalker buddies and there are sometimes two spells to a card. Who knows? Either way, I'm determined not to let completism get the better of me this time. Magic might be a new game, it might be a familiar game...but it's a game. Not a collection. Not for me, at least.