I appreciate and trust all your views on subjects like Harry Potter and Pokemon, now I'm wondering if you've done any research into this Yu-Gi-Oh thing. Can you help me? Thanks in advance.
Numbers: Konami sold 7 million card-based games for PlayStation and GB players, generating $300 million. Card sales produced $1 Billion. The comic book version has sold 15 million copies worth $70 million. Along with licensed goods (board games, ect.) the TV show and videos, and the total pushes $2 billion! All in the year 2000, by the way.
As mentioned in a letter above, Yu-Gi-Oh! is many things - it is a comic book, cartoon series, toys, model kits, and games (card and video). Parents and children have written Even A Child asking if Yu-Gi-Oh! is good entertainment or bad. Of course the answer isn't ours to give... any view of right and wrong must be based on God's Word.
Who and/or What is Yu-Gi-Oh?
Background story: Yugi Mutou is the main character of Yu-Gi-Oh! He completed the Millennium Puzzle, which unlocked a personality hidden deep within the puzzle. This personality comes out whenever Yugi needs to play a game. This "other" Yugi is called the "Dark Yugi". The Duel Monsters card game was invented by the character, Pegasus J. Crawford, who also stole the soul of Yugi's grandfather. Yugi travels to the Duelist Kingdom to retrieve his grandfather's soul.
"Dark Yugi" personality taking over Yugi could pretty much be called demon possession - given the all the occult references surrounding it. The notion that a child or anyone needs to be taken over by a dark force to complete a task - let alone play a game, is bad no matter how you try to defend it.
Millenium Puzzle: Supposedly an Egyptian artifact discovered by Yugi's grandfather. It was said of the puzzle, that "the one that solves that puzzle will inherit the ability to play "Games of Darkness" for justice, and to judge evil. And the 'tale of the one who died" long ago will be written again.'" I'd have to do some more research to figure that last part out, but it sure sounds weird.
Also, we find in today's entertainment world a mixing of darkness with light; Harry Potter is a Wizard - but uses it for good, Yugi is taken over by Dark Yugi, but plays for justice... etc. The trouble is that good and evil are like oil and water.. they don't mix (except in fiction).
And this lure of using evil powers to do good, brings another story and a warning to mind:
Obviously, the serpent was misleading Eve by her desire to KNOW something... and to be familiar with Good AND Evil. I hear teenagers straying toward this edge all the time. God sent Christ to die for our sins so we would be free from their consequences... not to go back and play with them!
I apologize for that visual image... but that's what it's there for! That's the truth about people playing with evil.
Yo-Gi-Oh! picks up on the common theme of strongly tying into Egyptian mythology and "gods". Remember the Egyptians? They were visited by plaques when Pharaoh refused to listen to God's man, Moses. You should ALSO recall they came out very badly in the battle between Egypt's false god's and Israel's God, Jehovah.
What does Yu-Gi-Oh! mean? It's kind of a play on the main character's name. Yugi means "game" or "play". The ending, "ou" or "Oh", indicates royalty, its tense meaning "king." Thus, the name is "The Game King" or "King of Games".
The origins of the tale are told in popular Japanese comic books. The first Japanese comic book (of which I read an English translation) was quite full of bad language, violence and inappropriate visuals, comments and attitudes towards girls (pretty typical of Japanese comics and animation).
One scene that comes later in the comic, has Yugi setting up a "game" with one of his enemies. The game included a large stack of money, the back of your hand, and a good sharp knife. I won't describe it in any more detail, but it should be clearly noted that this "game" would be frowned on by any supervising adult.
The Cartoon IS the Game!
A few years ago, child advocate groups fought to have network cartoons regulated to limit the ability of toy companies to basically run 30 minute cartoon advertisements for toys they wanted kids to run to the stores to buy. These rules do not apply to cable networks, and the toy market has grown - along with children's materialistic view of life.
Remember Pokemon? That cartoon spawned a collector card game to roughly follow the semi-violent, magical fighting of the cartoon characters. Yu-Gi-Oh! takes this to the next logical conclusion. The cartoon is ABOUT the card game! No longer do children pretend to be fighting like on their favorite TV show - now they are playing the exact SAME game, with the exact SAME cards as ON the show! The marketing logic is admirable - yet questionable.
Collector Card Game
As said above, the collector card game IS the cartoon, and the cartoon IS the game. I refer to it as the "collector" card game, to stress the difference between card games of this generation, and those of most parents. This is not a game you buy in a box and invite your neighbors over to play - no further purchase necessary...
ALL players must purchase their own decks, and a serious player will continually make his deck better by
Danger of Materialism: In fact, good sets will run a collector anywhere from $20 to over $100. I've spoken to those who play these games and the temptation is to spend hundreds of dollars just to play a "serious" game - and compete. It can be an addiction. Whether addictive or not, in a day when missionaries struggle financially in the ministry, how are we teaching children to give sacrificially, when we encourage spending so much money on fad games?
Good or Bad?
Below is a short list of the names of some Yu-Gi-Oh cards. This is NOT a complete list, by any means. Also, there are a group of cards known as "god cards". The names of many of the cards (not to mention the images on the cards, and the strategy used in playing the game) bring some not-so-pleasant images to mind. There seem to be names related to demonism, witchcraft, drugs, etc.
One MIGHT argue that passively watching a children's cartoon with any of these elements will not effect a child (an empty argument). However, what Yu-Gi-Oh does, is to bring the child INTO the game and make him/her the one to summon dark magic, germ infections, paralyzing potions, pain, and more - all in the name of "innocent fun".
Interesting Side Note
The game itself is nicely complicated and requires cunning, strategy and memorization of procedures, rules and techniques, I find it funny that some parents feel GUILTY when they encourage a child to memorize a Bible verse (or study for a school test), when a child can digest and memorize pages and pages of this type of tedious information:
Is Yu-Gi-Oh the destroyer of America?
Hardly! However, damage IS done when God's children (and parents) fail to follow God's truth in every area of our lives - including amusements. Demonism is demonism. False gods are false gods. Materialism is... you get the picture. It is foolish to disregard God's instructions.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
The word "amusement" is interesting. "Muse" has the meaning of "thinking", while "A" as a prefix means "NOT". Amusement is a time of not thinking! We like to turn off our brains at the end of a hard day and just be entertained. This is not a problem as long as we don't also turn off obedience to God's wisdom and instruction.
At best, games/comic books/cartoons like Yu-Gi-Oh!, encourage materialism and greed. At worst, they allow a child to fantasize about having power that is violent and demonic.