Magic: The Dark Alley Gathering

'Street Credit' Deserves Some Props for Crossing Boundaries

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Back in high school, while my lanky trig teacher traced lines on the board, my fellow students and I were often firebombing whore houses and scooping up cash at craps tables. "Pimp Wars," a popular text-based game around since the early 90s, had been ported to TI graphing calculators, and even the most jockish kids were eager to amass a virtual empire of prostitutes instead of calculate sine angles.
Wanna throw down? My cards are back at my mom's house, but she'll drop them off for me when she brings me my lunch.
Wanna throw down? My cards are back at my mom's house, but she'll drop them off for me when she brings me my lunch.

Somehow, the geek divide was breached by licentious text parodying some imagined idea of "street life." The Grand Theft Auto franchise has done something similar -- albeit more visceral -- but now TM Media Group is hoping to cross into an even more dangerous geek territory: turn-based card games. And who will lead the charge? Rappers, of course.

TM Media, a Hollywood-based entertainment company, has licensed the names and likenesses of Ice-T, Guerilla Black and Hot Dollar for "Street Credit," which is being billed as "the first urban-themed collectable card game." In addition to physical cards, there will also be a parallel online version of the game (with virtual cards), which will be supported by in-game ads for new players and eventually subscriptions when one can't get enough thug life.

Hard to say how authentic the game is -- the cards aren't available yet and the online version is currently in closed beta -- but nabbing the progenitor of gangsta rap was definitely a smart move. Black and Dolla, hardly heavy hitters in hip-hop, must have come at a much more reasonable rate and with considerably less clout. In a recent interview on TradersNation.com, TM Media CEO Matt Harmon promised more celebrities, which will be a good thing, because a game he also likened to "Pokemon" and "Magic: The Gathering" will probably need all the cred money can buy.