Magic: The Gathering video games
Several video games based on the Magic: The Gathering franchise exist for multiple systems. Some have attempted to translate the card game to electronic play nearly exactly; others have taken more liberties and drawn more from the setting than the actual rules of the card game. Benefits of successful video game versions of the card game include convenience, practice, and challenge. However, artificial intelligence for a game such as Magic is an extremely hard problem, and such software usually must be continuously updated to stay current with recently released card sets. Video game versions often expand on artwork, and may include unique cards that rely on randomness, effects which would be difficult or annoying to duplicate in real life.
Magic: The GatheringEdit
Named after the game itself, Magic: The Gathering was published by MicroProse in February 1997. 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. Two expansion packs were published, Spells of the Ancients and Duels of the Planeswalkers.
The game is notable as being the last game the esteemed game designer Sid Meier (Civilization, Railroad Tycoon) worked on while employed by MicroProse, though his involvement was short. Meier left before development was complete to found Firaxis Games.
Magic: The Gathering: BattleMageEdit
Magic: The Gathering: BattleMage is a real time strategy game published in 1997 by Acclaim for both PCs and PlayStation. It was also in development for the Sega Saturn, but this version was cancelled in mid-1997. In addition to the real time strategy game, BattleMage has a head-to-head mode. It is set on the continent of Corondor, where a planeswalker named Ravidel forces the most powerful mages to fight each other, so that he can eventually destroy them and conquer the land. The game had a poor critical reception due to its unfair AI, unfriendly interface, and unbalanced gameplay.
Spectrum Holobyte filed a lawsuit after Acclaim published the PC version in January 1997, claiming Acclaim had violated an agreement the two companies made in November 1996 which established a release schedule for the game, with the two companies publishing it for different platforms. In October of 2018, the game's rights were acquired by Canadian production company Liquid Media Group along with other titles originally owned by Acclaim Entertainment.
Magic: The Gathering: ArmageddonEdit
Magic: The Gathering: Armageddon is an extremely rare arcade game published by Acclaim in 1997, somewhat similar to BattleMage. It is possible that as few as four machines were made. Acclaim's Mountain View, California-based coin-op division went out of business shortly after creating the game, so it never went into full production. GamePro reported that Armageddon was shown to their editors behind the scenes at the 1997 ASI show in Las Vegas, but did not appear on the show floor. The arcade board used 3dfx components and included 600 MB of RAM.
Gameplay is a cross between real time combat and strategy, with characters representing one of the five colors. White had healing and soldiers; Blue countermagic and water creatures; Black death and undead creatures; Red fire and mountain creatures; and Green elves and forest magic. The game was controlled with a trackball, and supported up to two players.
Magic: The Gathering (Sega)Edit
Magic: The Gathering is a Dreamcast game published and released by Sega in June 2001, though in Japan only. It takes place in the town of Magic Heart, the surrounding areas of Murg, Camat Island, Lydar Forest, Yeluk, Tornell, and The Balance Tower. It includes cards from 6th edition, Alliances, and Tempest. The game included 10 cards unique to it, generally utilizing random mechanics that would be difficult to implement in real-life card play.
Magic: The Gathering Interactive EncyclopediaEdit
The Magic: The Gathering Interactive Encyclopedia is an application and database of cards released by Wizards of the Coast. At its time of release, it contained up to the Mercadian Masques expansion; its database was updatable over the Internet, and continued to be updated by Wizards until the release of Judgment and Magic Online, which Wizards considered as superseding the Interactive Encyclopedia.
The Encyclopedia included a strategy information section and deck builder with pricing. It also included a free online play mode, albeit one lacking rules enforcement.
Magic: The Gathering OnlineEdit
Magic: The Gathering Online is a 2002 game developed by Leaping Lizard Software and maintained by Wizards of the Coast itself since version 2.0 in 2004. It focuses purely on gameplay, and includes no additional storyline. Included are cards from all expansions starting with Mirage with the exception of the sets Unhinged, Unglued, and Magic: The Gathering Conspiracy which would not easily translate to computer play. Updates become available as new sets are printed. Games are held in chatroom-style sessions, and virtual cards can be won or purchased with real money. Magic Online offers a variety of both casual games in which players can use cards they own for fun, and competitive online tournaments in which players use purchased/traded tickets and booster packs to enter into events, both Limited (decks built with cards opened from boosters) and Constructed (decks built from a player's collection).
Magic: The Gathering – BattlegroundsEdit
Magic: The Gathering – Battlegrounds is an Atari game released in 2003 for both the PC and Xbox platforms. It was another attempt to do a real-time battling game, with wizards frantically running around casting spells. The Xbox version of the game offered downloadable creatures, arenas, and enchantments, though the PC version did not.
Magic: The Gathering: Duels of the PlaneswalkersEdit
Magic: The Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers is a 2009 game for Xbox Live Arcade, Microsoft Windows, and PS3 developed by Stainless Games Ltd and published by Wizards of the Coast. It was released first on XBLA June 17, 2009, with a PC version released shortly after. It was announced on February 18, 2008 by way of a press release. Three expansion packs have been released on XBLA. A PS3 version was made available on the PlayStation Network in November 2010. Players are given pre-made decks they can play against an AI or against other humans online; new cards for these decks can be unlocked through play.
Magic: The Gathering - TacticsEdit
Magic: The Gathering - Tactics was an online turn-based strategy video game for the PC based on the card game that includes elements of positioning and map control. Tactics was developed and published by Sony Online Entertainment. The game was released for PC on January 18, 2011 and shut down on March 28, 2014.
Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012Edit
Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 is a followup to the 2009 Duels of the Planeswalkers for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. It was released on June 15, 2011. It features a campaign mode with light story and a variety of pre-made decks for which additional cards can be unlocked through play. Like the original Duels of the Planeswalkers, the decks are made such that complicated timing windows are unnecessary and the choice of land tapping is generally irrelevant; this keeps the gameplay faster than Magic Online, which allows full deck customization.
Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013Edit
Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 is a followup to both previous Duels of the Planeswalkers titles, released June 20, 2012. In addition to Xbox 360, PS3, and PC, the game was also made available on iPad for the first time.
Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014Edit
Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014 is the fourth installment in the Duels of the Planeswalkers series, released June 26, 2013. It introduced a new feature, "Sealed Play", which allows players to open virtual booster packs and build their own decks.
Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers 2015Edit
Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers 2015 is the fifth installment in the Duels of the Planeswalkers series.
Magic Duels, originally titled Magic Duels: Origins, is the follow-up to Duels of the Planeswalkers. It includes a new model for monetization; unlike the earlier games, it is free to play. Unlike Magic: The Gathering Online, it is possible to earn cards via "grinding" rather than paying money. Origins was released on July 29, 2015.
Magic: The Gathering ArenaEdit
Magic: The Gathering Arena is a free to play version of MtG, streamlined for quick online play and to be easily used for live streaming. It initially supported Constructed Deck play (using cards earned from boosters by winning games or through microtransactions) and Draft play. It was developed by Wizards' in-house studio, Magic Digital Studio. Arena is aimed to stay concurrent with the physical card game, with plans to release new expansions on the same day they are released physically.
Independent and freeware adaptationsEdit
Xmage is an open source Java program that functions very similarly to Magic: The Gathering Online without the restriction of monetary requirements to use. While it does support single-person play, it is much more useful for playing games with other online users. It has fully functional rules enforcement built in, unlike many other Magic programs. Xmage and its card database are constantly updated, making it a very convenient and powerful tool for Magic players.
Cockatrice is an open-source multiplatform software for playing card games, including Magic: The Gathering, over a network. It is fully client-server based to prevent any kind of cheating, though it supports single-player games without a network interface as well. Both client and server are written in Qt. Its original creator was sent a cease and desist letter concerning copyrighted images. It is, however, currently maintained by a small group of developers hosting the source on github .
Magic Set Editor, a custom card creation program created by Twan van Laarhoven, is stable, released at version (2.0.0) on February 05, 2011. The program has grown to include various additional features, including statistical data on the set being created, random booster pack generators, translations for ten languages, and support for 28 games. MSE also supports exporting created Magic sets to both Apprentice and LackeyCCG.
Firemox (previously known as Magic-Project) is an open source Java program that matches players over the Internet and also enforces the rules. The card game rules are coded in a custom XML language. Moreover, the rules engine is independent from Magic: The Gathering, so further implementations of other card games are possible. Currently Firemox has around 6,000 Magic: The Gathering cards available.
Forge (previously known as MTG Forge) is an open source Java program with rules enforcement; it also attempts the more difficult problem of artificial intelligence for a computer player. Currently it has over 13,000 cards (as of February 7, 2013).
Lackey CCG is an engine that attempts to simulate many card games. It has a plugin which contains over 13000 Magic cards, some of which are different editions of the same card. Like older attempts, the rules of play are enforced "by hand". It offers simple networking, and has a constant server to host all games, but matching people with identical plugins is more difficult.
OCTGN is a collectible card game simulator which is designed to play Magic: The Gathering and other games. The software is modeled after the Magic: The Gathering Encyclopedia, and uses the same format for card data. Currently, OCTGN version 3 can be set up to support online play, including sealed, games and users can import over 13,000 Magic: The Gathering cards to build a deck using the deck editor component.
Daring Apprentice is a 3D Apprentice-like Magic: The Gathering tabletop. It focuses on an intuitive user interface, but does not support internet play yet.
Wagic, The Homebrew is a game with rules enforcement that includes an artificial intelligence, and focuses on solitaire game versus the computer. Although Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, and Maemo versions are available, it is primarily designed for the Sony PSP.
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- MagMa Changelog