The nostalgia of Yugioh

A YouTube channel that I watch made a video talking about the first season of Yugioh.

It got me thinking. I grew up in the 90s and when Yugioh came out I definitely was really into it. I was 9/10. I got cards and loved the show.

In retrospect Yugioh had fared much better than other franchises that have competed with Pokémon. It has done better than digimon, Harry Potter and maybe even dragonball. It’s rightfully had it’s place among the big three card games (MTG, Pokémon & Yugioh).

But for whatever reason the feeling of nostalgia I have for Pokémon is much bigger than Yugioh. I think most my age maybe feel the same way.

Why do you think Yugioh has kinda fallen behind? It has all the makings to be as big as Pokémon. Card game, anime and merchandise. But over the years it has fallen steps behind.

Just a thought. I’ll link the video below if anyone wants to watch. It was really well made.


I used to play the card game for HOURS with my friends. So much nostalgia. I’m actually going to submit my played condition Dark Magician, Blue Eyes White Dragon, and Red Eyes Black Dragon to PSA just so I can savor them forever.

Not sure why it didn’t stick but my gut says Pokemon has so many more layers to the hobby, anime, game, and characters. This is a small example but in pokemon the trainers have an extremely close bond with their Pokémon when they’re fighting. When they’re beaten in battle, the Pokémon returns to the trainer to be consoled and healed later. In Yugioh it’s a game, the characters are monsters and when the monster dies, there is no emotional toll on Yughioh, Joey Kiaba etc. the connection between the characters and the Pokémon/monsters is completely different. Perhaps that translates to us downstream?


Pokemon as a franchise is much more collector friendly than yugioh or mtg. Every pokemon has a collector, but the same cant be said for yugioh, which has thousands of unique character like cards. The cards are only a part of Pokemon’s overall appeal to people. You can enjoy Pokemon and not touch or care about the cards, while the same isnt as prevalent or even possible for yugioh.

By this I mean that Pokemon has many ways of growing general interest in its brand, while Yugioh does not.


Best protag duel theme imo


if yugioh would have been playable when i was younger it would be different.
Today see a fantastic Series vs Childhood Games and that fight is won by Pokemon.
envy for everyone having these starter decks of yugi/joey/kaiba/pegasus^^

I love me some Yugioh. I have more nostalgia for it than I do Pokemon, but I realize this is the super duper minority on here. Lol

Yugioh had an anime that was fairly popular and has very iconic characters, but it never pushed itself in the video game department to branch out of the card game territory in my opinion. Sure, there was Capsule Monster Coliseum, The Falsebound Kingdom, and Dungeon Dice Monsters, but it feels like Konami sort of gave up with the non-TCG appeal after these. I’m probably forgetting a couple.

It’s just a game that always has been and always will be played more than collected. The anime was all about competing and dueling, which had a huge impact on the attitude of the average Yugioh-er. Even the most casual of kids in my schools played at recess, lunch, or on the gym bleachers. Absolutely no one was talking about collecting sets or wanting all the holos solely for the sake of having them. Contrast that with Pokémon where hardly anyone I knew back then actually played the game. We all just collected and added random holos to our binders or rubber-banded stacks.

Yugioh fans never really got out of this mentality. Hardly anyone today collects the vintage cards. If there’s interest in higher rarities, it’s almost always for the sake of playing with a blinged out deck to stunt on the table. I’m one of the few hardcore collectors that will seek out unplayable holos from sets in mint 1st edition to complete sets. It just is what it is at this point.

At one time Yugioh was over both TCGs in terms of sales I think. I strongly believe power creep, rarity creep, and the overall lack of some form of rotation is what has caused the game to reach its current state. The modern day game is basically another TCG entirely than it’s first several years. Pokémon has multi-prizers, but its core mechanics have remained largely the same. Yugioh has gotten too complicated and the need for continued heights of complexity and power in order to sell sets in a game of no rotation is a recipe for disaster. This has really hindered its growth. You can tell this is true due to Konami attempting “resets” of the game with things like Rush Duels and Duel Links.

Despite all of this, tournament attendance is still quite high and the game obviously continues to do very well. However it won’t ever hold a candle to Pokémon’s popularity and reach. I’m really not sure which will die first between it and Magic.


I prefer YGOTAS, personally. :smirk:

The YGO TCG was a big part of my youth too. And still have 3 decks today, tho they’re not competitive anymore.


Yugioh is the better card game, pokemon better for collecting.


Ygo has had some truly shit formats, but yeah I do generally think it’s a better game. Worse for collecting.

I love yugioh, I still buy cards to both play and “collect”. However what other said, it’s true, this is not a collector focused TCG.
It seems to me that the vast majority never understood the rarity levels or the difference between reprints, 1ed and so on: concept very well known and valued in Pokemon.

It feels even behind Mtg in this sense, where the maturity of the art, fanbase and pop-colture influence are now well recognized.

The feeling that I have, It’s that almost every grown boy has a ton of old yugioh bulk in his closet, lgs are full of new bulks, websites plenty of both.
The only cards that could sparkle some interest are anime monsters, early vintage cards, iconic and powerful cards that were very useful in play. So maybe 5% of yugioh production? The others will remain noise unfortunately, with many many not even good for casual play, and a collector interest inferior to pokemon energies.

It’s sad, but it’s just the always stuck in between TCG: not so popular like pokemon, not so anime like force of will/weiss, not so intellectual like mtg.

I also grew up in the 90s with both Pokemon and Yugioh and definitely feel a stronger attachment to Pokemon. I started with Pokemon then transitioned later into Yugioh, but I’ve never got back into collecting those cards as an adult.

What is weird is that I recall playing more Yugioh card games a lot more than Pokemon. I like what @Rattlesnake mentioned with the attachment and maybe that had a factor with everything.

On a side note, I saw some instagram/tik tok videos of how the Yugioh card game is totally different from how it was originally. I would hate it if I actually wanted to get back into playing that.

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Like others here, I got really into Yu-Gi-Oh after Pokemon and I actually played the card game way more. Due to the rotation of formats, there was definitely a push toward less attachment to the cards I had, especially because I needed to move on from most in order to get new ones for new decks (that was the deal I had with my mom). I think the set identity and characters just feel like they had a lot less depth looking back, especially because the show didn’t really give the characters any personality. This may have lowered my nostalgia when looking back at my cards.

Yugioh nostalgia to me is all about the fake cards


I’m inclined to agree, but don’t forget that on Yu Gi Oh in particular, tournament/prize cards have just as much or more of a historical aspect than Pokemon cards, and also very often a lower population/distribution.

As far as I’m concerned, Yu Gi Oh high end cards deserve more visibility due to their rarity/history.

I definitely have a similar feeling in that I’m not as nostalgic for Yu-Gi-Oh as I am Pokemon, but I still really like the early sets. I also enjoyed watching the anime as a kid. Honestly I only played/collected Yu-Gi-Oh for less than a year of my life back then. It was pretty big on the school yard at the time and almost everyone had a starter deck it seems. I still remember having the Yugi and Kaiba starter decks and I get a huge nostalgia hit when I see certain cards from these decks.

Sadly I misplaced all the cards at some point and so I’ve actually been slowly collecting them back just to have a binder set for nostalgia mainly. I definitely remember playing the decks without sleeves or anything so they would have been in rough shape if I kept them.

Anyway, I’ll share my only Yu-Gi-Oh slab. I just love the Mystical Elf artwork, easily one of my favourite trading cards of all time so I bought a LOB 1st Ed copy some years back. So nostalgic for me :grinning::


I <3 kuriboh


Yu-Gi-Oh was the absolute king of the school playground. Everybody had Yu-Gi-Oh cards. Nobody knew how to actually play with them, but Yu-Gi-Oh was the ‘cool’ show on TV and everybody wanted the cards. Yet I am not at all surprised that it did not have the lasting impact and broad nostalgia appeal that Pokémon did.

Yu-Gi-Oh’s Western popularity came primarily from the 4Kids adaptation of the anime, which differed in some key respects from the Pokémon anime: first of all, Yu-Gi-Oh was much more directly a show about a product. Yu-Gi-Oh was about the card game. Look at these cool kids playing this cool card game! Cards were iconic because they played prominent roles in the show. Dark Magician. Blue Eyes White Dragon. Red Eyes Black Dragon. Exodia. Slifer the Sky Dragon. Obelisk the Tormentor. The Winged Dragon of Ra. Kuriboh. Summoned Skull. Far fewer would have cared for Dark Magician had it not been Yugi’s signature card. The same goes for Kaiba and Blue Eyes. And for Pegasus and his Toon cards. The relationships in the show were between characters, and the cards were mostly just the tools they used. When I opened a pack of Yu-Gi-Oh cards, all a lot of kids cared about was finding a card they recognized from the show, because it featured in a cool episode or was used by a cool character. The decision to move on from the original cast of characters did the staying power of the TCG no favors.

The Pokémon anime was never that explicitly tied to the TCG. The creatures themselves were part of the emotional core of the show. They were characters in their own right, with their own behaviors and emotions, and they were as much part of the cast as Ash, Misty, and Brock. One of the core messages of the anime is that Pokémon aren’t just tools, and that treating them as such makes one a bad trainer. Yes, the Pokémon used by the main characters were (and are) certainly immensely popular - but this narrative of forming a personal bond with the Pokémon you catch encouraged kids to care about more than just the mascots. This aspect is also a key part of the popularity of the videogames and the continued success of the card game. The show, games, and cards all shared that common theme, yet could be enjoyed entirely independently because one was not explicitly about the other. And for however much people mocked the show for sticking with Ash for so long, that did create an ever-present shared element between generations that Yu-Gi-Oh critically lacked.

Pokémon can make me sob like a child by having Ash part ways with one of his beloved Pokémon, but Yu-Gi-Oh could cut in half all of Yugi’s Dark Magician cards in front of his face and I wouldn’t feel a single thing. Yu-Gi-Oh was just ‘cool’. Pokémon was so much more than that. That is the core difference at play here.

Beyond that, the Yu-Gi-Oh card game itself has become incredibly complex and wordy in a way Pokémon has been able to avoid. Pokémon is still as approachable as it ever was. Yu-Gi-Oh decidedly is not. The odd dissonance between cutesy anime girls, dark fantasy & sci-fi elements, and silly joke cards that was once a fun curiosity now just feels like whiplash - yet the overall art direction somehow feels bland and uniform. Pokémon manages to still inspire wonder with new creature designs, new illustrators (side note: Yu-Gi-Oh not crediting their artists is inexcusable and in itself enough reason to turn me away), and stunning full-art cards. When I look at a new Yu-Gi-Oh card, I just see another Yu-Gi-Oh card.

I am absolutely still nostalgic for that original era of Yu-Gi-Oh, back when it was undoubtedly the king of the playground; I just don’t have any interest in getting back into collecting it.


In my case, Yugioh didn’t grab me. Whenever it was on Cartoon Network I swapped automatically, seeing Yugo Muto’s face on the cover of magazines was only interesting as far as it could indicate any Pokemon content, and I was even less interested in the manga. When I visited the few shops that carried the cards I never considered buying a booster. I remember my impression of the boxes were a mix between “ooh nice and shiny” and “this is all over the place.”

I think the human element was a big deterrent to me, whenever I saw any promotional stuff the focus was always on anime people instead of dragons and monsters.

As an adult though I have watched my fair share of box openings and whenever someone posts a rare, sparkly card here I’m almost always impressed!

Love that thread, especially since I watched the same video two days ago.
When Yu-Gi-Oh first came out, I completely fell in love with it. I played a lot with the cards and still have a massive collection of them. I even have a 1st Edition Starter Deck Kaiba and Starter Deck Yugi. Unfortunately, a lot of my childhood cards, especially from SDK/SDY/LOB/MRD are in really bad shape, as I took them to school every single day without any sleeves or protection. Here you see my Blue Eyes:

However, I would never sell these cards, as they have a huge sentimental value to me. As most of the classic cards from the original Anime and sets got dozens of reprints, I bought a huge lot of reprinted cards 2 or 3 years ago. I think most of them were 0,20-0,50€. I also bought some of the Game Boy (Advance) games as they were dirt cheap and kind of liked them. I also rewatched the original Anime during the pandemic and although it has some major flaws, I still really like it.

My feelings of nostalgia are probably a little bit higher for Pokemon, but Yu-Gi-Oh comes right after it.


Yu-Gi-Oh came out at a perfect time when many children who grew up with Pokemon were looking for something “cooler” to differentiate themselves from their (not-so-distant) childhood. As @Llyrwenne said, the anime had a major impact on the cool factor of Yu-Gi-Oh and it was overt in its goal (i.e., to drum up attention in the card game). It’s always been a playable game.

Yu-Gi-Oh’s practices are also player-focused rather than collector-focused, such as heavy reprints of iconic cards and those important to the competitive meta. There is no “Reserved List” like there is for MTG that protects the vintage collectors, and as a result, the collector base is pretty small. Most general consumers would not be able to point out the “original” Blue Eyes White Dragon if you showed them the LOB print alongside all of the reprints in one picture.

I’m not really into Yu-Gi-Oh and I haven’t been for some time, but I recently rewatched some seasons of the original anime and it holds up pretty well. I can absolutely see why I was so into it as a kid. Here are some of my favorite Yu-Gi-Oh YouTubers if you’re interested in learning more.

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