Yu-Gi-Oh! Dark Duel Stories (2002)

Yu-Gi-Oh! Dark Duel Stories (2002)

Dark Duel Stories came to us late. Very late. Japan got their Duel Monsters III in June 2000; North America received a localised version only in March 2002, and Europe not until March 2003 (!). And because of this time-lag, Dark Duel Stories (DDS) was a loveable yet goofy has-been game as soon as it hit the shelves.

Just released and already a thing of the past? How is that exactly? You see, every so often, the Yu-Gi-Oh Trading Card Game ruleset is rather comprehensively revised. Konami will do something like throwing out a rock-paper-scissors system of elemental weaknesses, or introduce a much expanded trap and magic zone, or completely rewrite the rules of monster effects, that sort of thing. (Or in recent years, develop summoning mechanics and interactions so complex that they require walls of fine print on each card.) Dark Duel Stories (DDS) – alongside four other GBC Yu-Gi-Oh that were never translated – was conceived prior to the codification of Yu-Gi-Oh 2.0.

In 2003, wanting to play the latest rules with the freshest cards, I was equal parts annoyed and bemused about the quirky package that was DDS. So many years on, I’m grateful that DDS made it to the West at all, for it survives as a pleasant historical oddity, a snapshot of an alpha stage in the cardgame’s evolution. Today, Dark Duel Stories is a time capsule to a primeval form of Yu-Gi-Oh, a tried, tested and ultimately abandoned set of ideas. It’s Yu-Gi-Oh, but it absolutely isn’t, and I love it.

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Posted by PokemonHistorian in Retrospectives