The first digital games of Magic: The Gathering were being played in the early 2000s, but MTG fans have turned the wheel of nostalgia back even further by reimagining the trading card game as 90s videogames. Artists Tim Gaedke and Austin Lilm both created versions of the game that look at home on retro Nintendo systems, sharing their work via Twitter on February 6 and 8 respectively.
Gaedke has turned Magic: The Gathering Arena into a mock cartridge for the GameBoy Colour. They’ve also created a pixelated gameplay screen that shows what a portable game of Magic might have looked like in 1998. Magic: The Gathering Online launched in 2002, but mobile play was still a good few decades away. Gaedke’s version of Arena could have changed the game for the trading card lovers of the 90s – though they would need to do a lot of squinting.
Lilm has chosen to turn the plane of Phyrexia into a Fire Emblem spoof. His pixel creations show MTG planeswalker Elspeth Tirel ready to face off against praetor (and poster girl for Phyrexia: All Will Be One) Elesh Norn. This isn’t the first time Lilm has turned Magic into a JRPG, either; a Twitter post from September 2022 also shows a tiny pixel Ajani.