Twenty-four hours ago, I was normal. At least in the sense that I had never heard of something called “digital collecting,” and upon learning of it, I immediately and rightfully and condescendingly scoffed. THAT is not collecting. Collecting is stuff. Real stuff that fills the very real spaces in our house and the holes in our hearts. Collecting is not some stupid phone app that shows you pictures. That was twenty-four hours ago.
Then I learned about Star Wars Card Trader, an app by card-maker Topps, where you “collect” digital versions of trading cards. Still in scoff mode.
Then I read this article. How the Hell Is This JPG of Han Solo Worth $225?
Yes, like the link title says, someone paid $225 on eBay to have a particularly rare digital card show up in their app.
People actually pay real life money for these cards. Like in the cartoons, my eyeballs changed over to dollar signs. A fantastic get-rich-quick scheme revealed itself to me. I’d collect up these digital cards and sell them to losers on ebay.
I downloaded the app. That was twenty-four hours ago.
At first, my plan was going swimmingly. Each day the app gives you credits with which to exchange for card packs. You can also pay real money to get more credits. You collect base sets and chase inserts. My heart leapt when I got my first insert, and later again when I got a dupe insert. You can trade with others to get cards you don’t have.
By the end of the day, I had wheeled and dealed and traded, and I had two inserts worth a buck each on eBay. I learned it wasn’t going to be a get rich quick plan, but more of a long con.
Only problem is, I no longer wanted to sell them to losers. I had myself become a loser. I wanted them. No, I mean, like I WANTED THEM. And I want more.
I think of it more of a game than “collecting” — a game that involves aspects of collecting. It also has aspects of gamimg in that your collection gets a score, you have to strategically plan how to spend your credits if you want inserts, and you also have to be thoughtful in trades. Throw in the fact that these digital cards have real life monetary value, and you can see how this thing is like crack.
Download this game. I need friends on it. My username is SurfingPizza. And tell me your username so I can add you back! Don’t try explaining it to your significant other. Except that you will have to, because you’ll be begging them to open an account just so they can trade their allotted card packs each day to you. Or just go ahead and make an account for them on a spare phone if you aleady have their Facebook password. (Thanks, honey. Love you.)