After MaRo – Remember Sammy Jankins

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Editor’s Note: After MaRo used to be a column I wrote whose contents were a conversation with Magic guru Mark Rosewater. Yeah, it’s back.

(Picking up the phone) Hello, Wizards of the Coast.

Yes, Mark Rosewater please.

May I ask who’s calling?

Robby, from MTGColorPie.com; he’ll know who I am.

One moment. (Puts Robby on hold, soft jazz version of Smooth Operator plays)

Sigh.

(Mark Rosewater) I fooled you.

I know you did, sir.

I got you good. I even got one of your dumb little hashtags you use.

Well, yeah, I guess.

You see this?

No, I’m on the telephone.

I’m doing the Funky Duckman dance. (Singing) You thrust your pelvis, huh! You thrust your pelvis, huh!

Yeah, well, you shouldn’t be too happy with yourself about that.

(Beat) What? You’re on the page saying that you had read the article, and even joking that you had memorized my articles.

Yeah, yeah, I made a fool of myself and it fit perfectly into your hands. But you’re giving yourself too much credit.

Explain.

Well, I think it was a great job as a creative writing exercise…

Thank you.

…but I hardly think it was inception. After all, as you proved, you went back and changed history to fool people that it already happened. Inception is planting an idea in someone’s head, not fooling them into thinking something already happened.

Well, it deals with memory.

What you did was a plot point from the movie Wag the Dog.

Oh, good movie.

The people wanted to create an old song and have it be “rediscovered.” So they hid the song in the Library of Congress and had it leak out, eventually being found once again.

That sounds really confusing for those people who haven’t seen the movie.

I know, but basically that’s what you did.

I never said it was an original idea. In fact, I credited Mark Gottlieb for kinda doing the same time a year ago. It’s not like you haven’t done ideas that other people haven’t talked about either.

Well, yeah…

It was a writing exercise and social experiment at once.

But the issue was that you’ve written so many posts when they all sometimes blend into each other. I’m sure that you’ve written about memory somewhere.

Well, check out the archives.

How do I know you haven’t changed them yet?

You don’t, but why would I change them?

Because you have before. Players have learned that you like to play tricks, it’s ingrained in their memory, so to speak. They’re like the Borg, you can’t use the same trick twice.

Hey, I used that example before!

Yeah, because I remember that. Is it selective memory? I don’t know. Memory is a fickle thing, the more powerful memories are tied with emotions. Sadness, elation, embarrassment, those and many more emotions help increase the ability to remember certain things. Think back to your first memory; most likely it’s something tied with an emotion.

You remember yours?

Being stung in the ear by a bee.

Ouch.

Pain, a perfectly acceptable way to remember an event. It’s our primitive bodies telling us to stay away from something or not to do that series of events again.

Yeah, it’s a instinct to help you survive.

And it also works with jubilation as well. Remember that joke that comic told on stage? Yeah, you remember it better because you had the emotion of feeling good.

But what does that have to do with my article?

Because you’ve written so many articles, and you’ve got a certain style in your writing, it’s easy to see how they all run together. If you read enough of them, it’s tough to remember all of them in a row because it’s just a common activity you do. It’s like when I leave my house in the morning, sometimes I forget if I’ve locked the door. Since it’s built into my muscle memory, my consciousness doesn’t remember anything particular about the action I preformed.

Ah, no short term memory. Much like another Christopher Nolan film, Memento.

Yeah, only I don’t have tattoos over my body. But it’s not that I don’t form short term memories, it’s just that my actions are so part of my routine whenever I leave my house, I don’t think about it. It’s the same principal that sports players use when they swing a baseball bat or kick a soccer ball. They train so much that they don’t have to think about their actions and just let it naturally take over.

So you’re saying that reading my columns have become so ingrained in your that unless there’s something that sticks out, you’re really not going to notice anything different from one to the next?

Yeah, kinda.

Gee, thanks. I’m glad I’m so bland.

No, that’s not it at all. I’m just saying you did such a good job pretending that you wrote that piece years before, there was nothing to really raise a flag about it being out of place.

What about the fact that I said the date was during one of those repeat weeks.

Simple error. It’s not like everyone on the site is perfect. But I’m a little surprised that you didn’t tie memory more with Magic design and less on how you conned us.

Inceptioned.

(Beat) That’s not really a word.

I’ll make it a word.

Anyway, memory is a pretty common theme when it comes to the graveyard, especially non-permanent spells. Call to Mind, Reminisce. Of course, discard also deals with memories as well. It’s a weird flavorful standpoint of how you draw your spells by researching them and then forgot about them at all.

Well, how would you have it done?

I’m just saying it’s one of those weird oddities. But you didn’t even mention about how it’s our own faulty memories that cause Wizards not to design cards that you have to remember a whole lot of stuff. It’s only in real rare cases and if those card choices have a large enough impact on the game.

Like Meddling Mage and Pithing Needle.

Exactly. You don’t print lands that cause you to remember which color of mana it produces when there could be multiple options. Memory is fickle.

Which was my whole point.

But you never got to it.

Meh. (Beat) You forgot how these conversations basically turned into your soapbox while I just sit here and listen to you, didn’t you?

It’s been almost a year now since I’ve written one of these.

Which makes this hugely ironic that your memory has deceived you, making my entire post even more poignant.

Yeah, but there’s something you should’ve address but didn’t, and had the perfect opportunity to.

Which was?

Memoricide, the Buy a Box promo from Scars of Mirrodin.

No comment.

But you can talk about it since the Online people spoiled it a few weeks ago.

Don’t care, no comment.

Bet you forgot about that, didn’t you?

(Dial Tone)

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