Joseph Gordon-Levitt, world-famous actor from iconic films such as Inception and 500 Days of Summer, geeks out about Magic: The Gathering in this video. Never heard of Magic: the Gathering? Via the Guardian:
The game originated in the early 1990s in the mind of Richard Garfield, at the time a graduate student working towards a PhD in combinatorial mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania. A life-long tabletop gamer, he had approached a publisher to pitch an idea for a game about programming robots, only to be told that the company needed something more portable and cheaper to produce.
Magic was Garfield’s response, and it involved one major innovation that set it apart from any game previously released.
Where other card games were sold as a single packaged product, Magic cards would come in randomised packs, a model similar to collectible baseball cards. Particularly powerful cards would be rarer than others, making collecting and trading them as much a part of the experience as actually playing matches. Players would assemble their own decks, with a near-limitless ability to personalise their game and develop their own tactics.
The formula proved to be a lucrative hit for the game’s publisher, Seattle-based Wizards of the Coast. From its release in 1993, Magic grew by word of mouth. Players obsessed over the process of building decks, endlessly hunting for the most effective card combinations and devising a huge range of winning strategies.