Pastimes, or “Respect Is Everything”

Original playmat for Magic Grand Prix Indianapolis 2012

Original playmat for Magic Grand Prix Indianapolis 2012 (source: @LifeOnAuto)

Pastimes is a large hobby store in Illinois, and they are also a large Magic tournament organizer in the American Midwest. It has run MTG events for years and it has made the types of mistakes that long-running organizations make. It happens.

However, this past Friday, an image was revealed for the playmat that entrants of the upcoming Illinois Grand Prix would receive. That playmat was either created by Pastimes or commissioned by them, as they are running that event. This image was grabbed from the @LifeOnAuto yfrog/twitter account, and I am a bit late to the party in my response as I was away this past weekend. Here goes:

Pastimes, what in the hell are you thinking? You are in a very honored spot in all of hobby gaming. You have screwed things up, again and again, both inside and outside the business. You have a special requirement to treat the brand of Magic and its players — male and female — with respect.

  • When you do not give enough prize support, you fail to respect the skill of the top players.
  • When you overcharge for limited and especially for constructed, you fail to respect the wallets of all players.
  • And when you dress up one of the iconic characters in Magic’s modern history in what can best be described as “basically nothing at all,” you fail to respect the brand, and everyone involved in the creation, distribution, sales and ultimately playing of the game.

No matter how sexy Wizards gets with their art, you have a special requirement to not be as sexy. You have a special requirement to follow. You are not just a major hobby store and not just a tournament organizer, you are an important link in the chain that is this living, breathing game we play. You are an important part of something much larger than yourself. But no matter how important Pastimes is, it can be replaced.

There is no valid excuse for what has happened here. Whatever process led to that playmat existing must be removed. If this is people being suspended or fired, fine. If this is changing art direction, fine. As I do not know the specifics of the internals of your business, I can’t tell you what to change. But I can say this: Pastimes, you have polluted our game. Clean up your unnecessary toxic damage to our gaming environment, or please go find another trading card game to sell.