Article Overview:    How does a child manage and contain his or her "monsters?"  A new game sweeping the nation's youth is helping kids become Sentinels of Vigilance.  The name of the game is "Yugioh," and it is all about Vigilance.    Find out how you can battle the Beast of Terror with your deck.


Tuesday, March 2, 2004—Ground Zero Plus 902
Monsters Of The Imagination

Cliff McKenzie

         GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Mar. 2, 2004 -- It's tough to be seven years old again, but that's what I did yesterday afternoon.   I forced my mind and body back five decades to an age of innocence, an age when I created monsters to play with and conquer, instead of, as we do when we get older, create them to torture and conquer me.

I forced my self to return to an era when I created imaginary play monsters as playmates

            Being seven again brought up the questions:  "Why do we turn our imaginary play monsters into real ones as we mature?   Why do they become our worst enemies rather than just playmates?"
             These and many more questions stirred in me as I joined my wife and daughter for a late afternoon trip to Tompkins Square Park in the East Village where the neighborhood children gather around slides and monkey bars and swings to learn interaction and run off excess calories.
            My grandson, Matt, brought his deck of Yu-Gi-Oh (Yugioh) cards to challenge me a duel--his monsters against mine.


My grandson wanted me to play Yugioh with him

      At first, I wasn't really interested because I don't know how to play the game.  When I ask about the rules I get bombarded with information and feel like my brain is being stapled to the side of bus roaring down 5th Avenue at rush hour.
               It's not easy being Intimidated by a seven-year-old, but then I remembered the idea of being a Sentinel of Vigilance.  It's about listening to children, not avoiding their thoughts, dreams, their wonder walls.   I agreed to his challenge, to be his "dueling" partner.

Matt wanted me to join him in the playground "tree house"

              Matt wanted me to join him in the "tree house" to play Yugioh.  The tree house is part of iron and wood fortress at one end of the playground.  It has a slide attached, various ladders for kids to climb, a kind of suspension bridge that the children can jump up and down on as others pass over it, and, a soft foamy matting surrounding it so if someone falls they land without much harm.
             I elected not to climb up and place my six-foot-four-inch 270-pound body on the structure, thus blocking its use to any and all children.  Instead, I stood, eye level with Matt as he sat cross-legged and divided his deck of Yugioh cards in half, giving me a fair equal chance to have as "good" a selection of "monsters" as he had.
             I wish I could tell you how the game works, or what its end-goal is.   The best I can share with you is that each monster has a combination of "attack" and "defense" points, and if your "monster" has more "attack" points than your opponent's monster's "defense" points, you send that monster to its "graveyard."
            Then, there are an array of "magic" and "spell" cards that add to the power of existing cards.   In this arena, I am completely lost.
             While we were playing, a herd of young boys crowded around.  The look on their faces was similar to my grandson and me eating a delicious ice cream cone on a hot day as the boys looked on, licking their lips.  
              "I have Yugioh cards too," one said.   "At home."
              I recognized a giant gap between my attitude toward the game and the kids' attitudes.   Later, when I got home, I looked up the history of the game.

Comic book artist Kazuki Takahashi created Yugioh

           It didn't get started until 1996 by Japanese comic book artist, Kazuki Takahashi.   The game is based on Takahashi's main character, Yugi, who  is a weak and childish boy but becomes a hero when he plays games.   He's essentially Clark Kent until you put a deck of Yugioh cards into his hands.
               Takahashi, born in 1961, says "all boys love monsters.   What I had to do is fit the creature to the characteristics of the character playing the card.  For instant, Kaiba, Yugi's archenemy, is mean and vicious, so his cards tend to be that way."    

The game is based on the main character Yugi

          The trick to the game is it has to be played face-to-face with an opponent, like a "real duel."  Each child collects his or her own cards.  Some are more coveted than others; currently there are more than 1,000 different monsters.  The one most desired is the first monster created by Takahashi, Blue Eyes White Dragon.
              After playing the game a couple of times, I found myself slipping out of my "old-man-don't-bother-me-with-kid's-stuff" skin and traveling slowly back in time when I was Golden Arrow, riding my golden Palomino to fight off the "bad guys" who threatened the damsels in distress.
                Then, there was my secret desire to be Superboy, and how I often ripped open my shirt in absolute belief that under it was Superboy uniform, and so disappointed I often cried because there wasn't one.   I too, wanted to slay the "monsters" of my time.      

Each child collects his or her own cards

           I realized that my grandson, along with thousands of other young boys, and young girls, was learning how to "fight" monsters and "win."   They were learning that battle with "monsters" isn't always what it seems, for there are "spell" cards and other "magic" cards that can shift and change, keeping the game fluid, in a state of flux that requires one to be on his or her toes at all times.
               From a Vigilance point of view, the game teaches that Complacency can be "deadly."   And, like chess, one has to think ahead to have the advantage, for what is today may not be the same in a blink of the eye.
               Monsters--the Beast of Terror--thrive on Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.   But Yugioh is challenging that.   It makes the child a "Sentinel of Monster Vigilance," able to arm himself or herself against a wide range of assaults.
                 And, it creates teamwork.  The game cannot be played without another.   And, there is communion among players whether they be in America, Japan or Africa.   Each is fighting monsters, with "his or her own deck."  
                 If one wants to win, one collects a strong deck.  The responsibility for defending one's self rests upon each player's shoulders.    It doesn't belong to society.   We all must wrestle our own monsters.
                 The Principles of Vigilance--Courage, Conviction and Right Actions for future generations--seem to play well as the kids fight the monsters.   The ultimate goal is to protect the world from "evil."   Each player is the "good" guy fighting the "bad" guy.   No one can really lose.

I am going to learn to play and be a better Sentinel of Vigilance

                When I got through examining the essentials of the game, I thought about my grandson.   He was teaching me how to be a better Sentinel of Vigilance.  I could have discounted the game and really not inquired about it, and just pretended to play it.    Now, I'm going to develop my own deck.
                  After all, we never grow out of our monsters.    But, if we're not careful, our monsters grow out of us.   
                   My deck of Yugioh cards will keep them in check.
                   Maybe you should get a deck too!

Mar 1--Suffering On The Cross Of Vigilance

Some Highlighted Stories From Last Year

Dec 31 Bush's New Year's Message:  Era Of Vigilance
Dec. 30
Walking The Path Of Terror: The 839th Day

Dec 29 Terrorism's New Year's Ball
Dec 27-28
Indiscriminate Terrorism:  Mother Nature's WMD
Dec. 26
The Beast Attacks Like The Mad Cow Disease
Dec 25
Learn The Secrets Of Vigilance On Christmas Day
Dec 24
Eve Of The Youngest Sentinels Of Vigilance Part V of V
Dec 23
Parable Of The Ant & The Leaf: The Third Secret Of Vigilance
Part IV of V from the Legends Of Christmas Vigilance
Dec 22
 Part III of V:  How Rock Candy Banished Darkness From The Land Of Vigilance
Dec 21
Part II of V:  The First Secret Of Vigilance
Dec. 20
Part I of V--The Legend Of Christmas Vigilance.
Dec. 19
What Do Michael Jackson & Saddam Hussein Have In Common?
Dec. 18
Torturing Saddam In The Zoo Of Vigilance
Dec 17
Interview With Saddam In His Iraqi Rat Hole
Dec 16
New Drug Fights Teenage Beast Of Terror
Dec 15 Capturing Weapons Of Mass Destruction:  Saddam Hussein

Go To Main Directory: Includes stories back to September 11, 2001

©2001 - 2004,, All rights reserved -  a ((HYYPE)) design