Magic: The Gathering

released on Dec 31, 1997

Magic: The Gathering is a computer game published by MicroProse in April 1997 based on the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering.
The game takes place in the plane of Shandalar, where the player must travel the land and fight random enemies to gain cards, and defeat five wizards representing the five colors. The player must prevent one color from gaining too much power, and defeat the planeswalker Arzakon, who has a deck of all five colors. Adventure game and role-playing game elements are present, including inventory, gold, towns, dungeons, random battles, and character progression in the form of new abilities and a higher life point total. An oversized version of Aswan Jaguar was included in the game box.

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Forget the regular mode, Shandalar was the brilliant part of this game. A singleplayer open-world deckbuilder game before it's time. It feels janky by modern standards, but there is a really fun formula here that no one has quite been able to replicate since (MTG PC games have gone the complete other direction into multiplayer-focused titles).
Shandalar wrapped the core fun of Magic (getting new cards!) into a singleplayer RPG of sorts, where you wander around and map, finding locations with cards, towns to buy cards in, monsters to win cards from, etc. You defeat the high wizards of each of the Magic colors and that's it. Almost a rougelike too in the sense that you can replay and have a totally different game. Again, far ahead of it's time.

Very fun! Hard to get working on modern systems, however. If you want to play the card game in an RPG environment this is the absolute best you're going to get. Depending on your perspective the shallow, very early stages card pool either aged like milk or like wine.

By far the best digital MTG game. Offering a rare slice of MTG history, you can play with lots of old sets in a randomly generated world, acquiring new cards to keep evolving your deck as you do quests for villagers to get a chance at more cards! It's very addictive and highly replayable, and doesn't try to empty your wallet. The AI in this game can be a bit schizo sometimes and some of the old rules might throw some people off, like not being able to mulligan unless you meet certain requirements, mana burn, damage going on the stack, etc. Still absolutely hilarious that you can build actual stax decks and horrendously broken stuff in this though, even if it is not always advisable considering you probably don't wanna spend 30 minutes on every single encounter.
The only caveat is that it is kind of tricky to find a version of the game that runs well on modern PCs nowadays, I remember having quite a bit of trouble with it. I much prefer this over modern day MTG offerings and would like them to make more stuff like this that isn't a games-as-a-service money milking machine.

This is the only perfect Magic game. Sid Meier is a national hero