What made going to trading card stores special

At the height of the 90s Pokemon craze, kids wanted trading cards to out-trade their playground friends. The trading card was a form of early childhood communication. They were able to share memories with neighborhood kids without much difficulty. Every kid wanted shiny cards with amazing holographic patterns. We’d do anything to become evil little salesmen. Having classmates trade their best cards away for the crappy ones we didn’t want. It’s what started that whole No Take backsies shenanigans.

This old school Pokemon card tin from 1998 has been in my possession for over 20 years now. It was given to me from a neighbor kid’s parents that lived up the street, starting my whole TCG addiction. At the time I didn’t know why I got it, but it was really exciting to have a bunch of new trading cards from the same franchise as the Nintendo 64 games I owned. Another core memory I remember was begging my parents to see the first Yugioh movie, I must have seen an advertisement about the promotional card.

There was another time that my sister and I got Yugioh starter decks. One spring morning we went to a water park, in which my sister brought her cards with her. She learned the hard way with all her cards soaked with water damage. I think my mom even tried to fix them! Buying and collecting cards became a normal occurrence.

After my parents divorced my dad moved to a new city. He did the stereotypical single dad thing. Buy us stuff. It felt like every weekend we’d be dropping in at this exact location in Woodstock Portland, Oregon. I scoured the internet to try and find images of the inside of this building before 2008 without much luck.

I was able to find this image thanks to Google Maps. You can read HERE on how you can find old places too!

Like most card stores, it had a big glass case with cards priced out for individual sale. Rarely did my sister and I get those $10 – $20 cards. Usually it was the custom packs the store would make that gave you 10 common cards for a dollar. I can’t complain as getting a 100 cards for $10 felt like the lottery as a kid. We’d get occasional new booster packs and theme decks for the various trading card games.

Loki’s Games went out of business roughly around the beginning 2010s. The photos from above are from the newest location that looked to have lasted for a short time. This new location roughly gives the same charming feeling of buying trading cards as a kid. Same owner, and same awesome card cabinets. I was able to find an old YouTube video of people playing inside the new building. I used the YouTube Before: tag to find videos from years ago.

Doing this nostalgia dive led me to learn that the 2015 Pokemon TCG world champion, Jacob Van Wagner played locals at Loki’s Games. -Willamette Week

Wagner had an iconic championship game, making it the fastest game set to be played during a grand finals matchup. Even if you’re not a big TCG fan, its worth a watch. His Blastoise based deck named: HonorStoise, swept away the TCG Masters Division. The deck comprised a ton of discard affect cards to get the Pokemon Blastoise onto the Bench. Then, thanks to its Deluge Ability, you can pile tons of Water Energy onto another Pokemon, Keldeo-EX for a humongous Secret Sword Attack. Wagner was able to pull off this deck trick in multiple sets, securing the 2015 champion title. No other deck could accelerate like his Honortoise. -Bulbapedia

Pokemon cards like this beat up one from above are what made my childhood. I personally dislike the new age collectors who have to have perfect cards. Many treat the trading card collecting hobby as if its a sell-able asset. When I see beat up card collections online, it makes me happy. Happy knowing that those cards made some kids childhood, but it also saddens me to see them part away from them. I’m still upset my mom junked most my Yugioh cards. Thankfully I have all my Pokemon cards.

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