If you were a gaming hobbyist, enthusiast, and/or a hardcore gamer back in the summer of 1993, well this week you might have been on your way to the Origins Game Fair in Fort Worth, Texas. I won’t get into the details of what Origins is, because we have Wikipedia for that, but the convention was and remains one of the preeminent gaming conclaves of the North American scene, especially in the Columbus, OH area where it has been held every year since 1996.

According to So Do You Wear a Cape?: The Unofficial Story of Magic: the Gathering by Titus Chalk, Pete Adkison was preparing to travel to Origins when Carta Mundi (the first company to print Magic cards) contacted him to let him know the first Alpha cards were rolling off their presses.

Adkison requested the first batch to be sent to his hotel in Dallas for the convention. Unfortunately most of what was sent over was just rares, and without Richard Garfield on hand, the staff at Wizards of the Coast’s booth wasn’t quite sure how to build playable decks from the pile of cards that Carta Mundi sent over.

1993 was a different world from where we live now. For example, AOL had only launched for Windows a year prior in 1992, and in September of 1993 would add usenet. It would still be a year before dial-up modem speeds reached 24.4 kbps in 1994. Yes, that’s in kilobytes per second.

Road tripping was the way to get to Origins and for those of you who love to keep up with the latest musical trends you and your gaming pals (likely either into Dungeons and Dragons or war gaming simulations) may have been listening to Duran Duran’s self-titled album, Are You Gonna Go My Way by Lenny Kravitz, Pork Soda by Primus, or Ozzy Osbourne’s new live album.

Or maybe you were listening to the debut albums from a few new bands in 1993: The Cranberries, Radiohead, or Tool?

Are you into movies? 1993 was a blockbuster year for movies and you likely spent your road trip to Texas talking about the incredibly disappointing Weekend at Bernie’s II which came out the week before Origins. Or you were making plans to go out and see, uh… Free Willy, at the theater with your buddies in Fort Worth?

Okay, maybe mid-July wasn’t great for movies, but by the middle of the year, 1993 had seen the release of Groundhog Day, Army of Darkness, The Sandlot, Made in America, Jurassic Park, and Last Action Hero. After you got home from Origins, or on your way to Gencon a month later in Milwaukee, maybe you caught Coneheads, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, or The Fugitive.

So it’s the summer of 1993 and Magic: the Gathering is a bust at Origins. It’s public debut was rushed. No one knew what it was. No one knew how to play it or build decks for it. The entire genre was unfamiliar so no one even knew what was about to explode a month later at Gencon except for Pete Adkison and Richard Garfield.

Gencon opened on August 18th, 1993 and for most people that’s the true birth of Magic, but for those lucky few at Origins on July 13th 1993, Magic made its world debut with no fanfare, no pomp or circumstance, and virtually no one who knew how to build a deck or play a proper game.

25 years ago you might have been one of those people, on the road to Fort Worth, TX, with no idea what you might be seeing at the annual table top convention, or you might have been planning your trip to Milwaukee in August, definitely without a clue of the 1993 entertainment blockbuster that Wizards of the Coast was about to unleash upon the world.

Rich Stein is a retired Magic player, an amateur content creator, and a Level 2 Social Justice Sorcerer. He hopes to eventually become a professional content creator and a Level 20 dual class Social Justice Sorcerer/Bard but he’s more than content to remain a retired Magic player. You can follow his musings on Twitter @RichStein13

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