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The Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Disk, sometimes referred to as the Duel Disk Launcher, as marketed in the United States, is a card-holding device attached to the left forearm by way of Velcro straps and plastic plate. It consists of two movable "wings" into which one can slip Yu-Gi-Oh! cards in either attack or defense mode, as well as Spell and Trap cards. A Chaos Duel Disk has also been released, based on the design of the Duel Disks used by Doma in the Waking the Dragons story arc of the second series anime, as well as an Academy Duel Disk, based on the Duel Disks used in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX.
- Life Point calculation - The Life Point counter cannot exceed 9990 Life points (the button for the ones place is actually a button to activate the counter's back light). This is restrictive, as this amount can be surpassed in the card game.
- Dueling Deck - Most "professional" decks consist of the minimum 40 cards, and Duel Disks are built with that in mind. Larger decks cannot be fitted properly into the space. However, the Academy Duel Disk has larger space for card sleeves, so if the player chooses not to use card sleeves, they can fit more than 40 cards in the Deck space.
- Card sleeves - The majority of expert duelists use card sleeves to protect their cards from damage. The Duel Disk card slots in the past were not wide enough to accommodate sleeved cards. The latest versions of the Duel Disk have resolved this issue (though they seem to be less effective with un sleeved cards).
- Graveyard space - As with the Deck slot, the Graveyard slot is designed for a small amount of cards. The maximum number of cards that it can hold is 16.
There also exists a difficult-to-find Asian release of the Duel Disk, referred to as the "Fight Disc for Card Games." While lacking the LED powered Life Point display and spring-loaded wings, the Fight Disc has some features that the first two American versions lacked:
- Life Point calculation - The Life Point readout can be adjusted between 0000 and 9999 since the numeral dials can be moved manually, unlike the American release. Although it cannot exceed 9999, this makes Life Point changes much easier to accomplish.
- Deck space - The Deck slot has a spring-loaded catch, allowing a deck exceeding 100 cards to be inserted safely and securely into the Disc. The spring-loaded platform raises the Deck as each card is drawn.
- Card sleeves - The slots of the Disc can accept sleeved cards (provided the sleeves are sized for Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, and are not larger than gaming cards). The securing clips are a lot less harsh on the cards than the American release.
- Cemetery (Graveyard) space - The central hub of the Disc, aside from having a removed-from-play zone, has space for over 100 sleeved cards. This section can also accommodate an extra Deck, unlike the American release.
The Fight Disc also possesses additional features lacking in the American Duel Disk, such as extra slots for Monster, Spell, and Trap cards. The color details are in the form of stickers, meaning the entire Disc can be painted, if the owner so desires. The Fight Disc lacks a horizontal defense position slot, but makes up for this by use of a color indicator slider switch (red for attack position, green for defense Position). However, features such as the velcro arm strap, overall weight, lack of wide scale availability, and cost for international shipping still pose problems for most players wishing to attain this rare item.
Original Yu-Gi-Oh! series
- Duel Box/Duel Ring
Prior to the creation of the Duel Disk, Seto Kaiba created Duel Boxes, which creates interactive hard-light holograms (known as "Solid Vision") of monster and other card images by reading hidden microchips within the cards themselves. Kaiba was inspired to create the technology after experiencing a Shadow Game with Yugi Mutou, in which he used his powers to bring the card's monsters to life. In the manga and the first anime series, players duelled on a table inside a holographic cube which projected the holograms inside of it, generally on a small scale. In Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters, players instead used large stadium-esque play areas called Duel Rings, where a large holographic field separates the two players. Players play their card on a digital table, complete with hit point counters. There are also trapdoor-like mechanics used for instances where players need to exchange cards. The Duel Boxes and Duel Rings appear for the remainder of the Duelist Kingdom arc of the story, before they are replaced with the Duel Disk. The Duel Ring appears on rare occasions later on in the anime, also making appearances in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: The Pyramid of Light and an episode of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's.
- Duel Disk
A system developed by Seto Kaiba. The original Duel Disk acted much like a spinning top on a yo-yo, using five card slots and an alternative version of gaming rules. Players stood a distance of several metres (yards) apart, and threw the circular "Card Stage." The Stage piece would hover and spin at high speeds, activating the Solid Vision system. Face-down cards would appear as images of card backings, visible to the opponent, the card faces visible to the player. To replace cards, the Stage would be retracted via an arm-mounted tether. Kaiba planned to use these in a duel against game designer Maximillion Pegasus (Pegasus J. Crawford) to negate the mind-reading effects of the Millennium Eye. It was his hope that the monster images and distance between the players would obscure him from Pegasus' sight, thereby cancelling out the Eye's powers. Only two of these units existed and they were only used twice in the series, both times in duels involving Seto Kaiba, who won on both occasions. Kaiba apparently stopped using these prototypes in favor of the second model, Duel Disk 2. This is a variation on the Virtual Duel System first seen in Toei's Yu-Gi-Oh! Movie.
- Duel Disk 2 (or Battle City Duel Disk)
An improved version of original Duel Disk, this is the Duel Disk fans associate with the most. An arm-worn palette, it uses the same hard-light hologram technology as its predecessor, utilizing orbiting satellites to generate holograms no matter where in the world a duelist was situated. Kaiba created these devices prior to his Battle City tournament, and they remained in use after the competition ended. They were sold by KaibaCorp and other gaming industries, available worldwide. The activation of the Duel Disk is accompanied with the launch of two small hologram units that sit to the side of each duelist. The two halves of the card platform then join and swivel to the active position. As of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, this model is obsolete, as seen that it is being used by residents of Satellite.
- Chaos Duel Disk (or Doma Duel Disk)
Identical to the second Duel Disk in function, these ornate devices were used by Doma, a business group headed by Dartz. It is arguable that these Disks, which differed only in their elaborate appearance and slide-out card stage, were modeled after the ancient weapons wielded by Dartz's soldiers during the fall of Atlantis.
The ancient Duel Disks used by people of Ancient Egypt. Duelists wearing DiaDhanks possess the ability to summon up to three real monsters. The ancient Shadow Games used life force instead of life points, so the defeated duelist dies.
Yu-Gi-Oh! GX features many variations of duel disks. Some more notable examples are listed here.
- Academy Duel Disk
A streamlined version of the second Duel Disk. Unlike the previous models, the holographic technology used for Solid Vision is built into the Duel Disk, not requiring the satellite projectors. This is the standard Duel Disk issued to students of the various Duel Academies established by Seto Kaiba. Aside from the obligatory alternate folding feature, and a cosmetic refit, this Disk functions identically to the second Duel Disk. The shift from standby to active mode of this version of the Duel Disk is much less pronounced than the Battle City variant, only requiring the top section of the card platform to extend.
- Second Generation Academy Duel Disk
Beginning in the fourth season, all students attending Duel Academy received new Duel Disks with color highlights. Slifer Red students (such as Jaden) have red highlights, Ra Yellow students have yellow, and Obelisk Blue students have blue. Many characters who no longer attend Duel Academy (such as Aster Phoenix) continue to use the silver style Academy Duel Disk. The change is cosmetic only and the Disks still retain the exact functionality of the original Academy Duel Disks.
- Duel Coats
A different version of the Duel Disk used primarily by Professor Crowler and Vice-Chancellor Bonaparte. Altered versions are used by Titan and Professor Viper. Unlike many other Duel Disks the card platform is completely separate from the deck and graveyard section. In its standby position the card platform is slung across the back and carried by a strap, leaving both arms free. When active the card platform is held in front of the body, much like a guitar. The Deck and Graveyard are contained in a hub on the support strap, usually resting in the center of the duelist's chest. The Duel Coat also does not require the user to manually draw a card, the disk will automatically eject a card into the duelist's hand during each draw phase.
As well as using modified versions of the Academy duel disk and slightly modified versions of the original Battle City Disks (used by Yusei and Jack, possibly due to growing up in a poor city), 5D's also introduces the Turbo Duel. A common trait in all disks and runners is a shuffling device on the deck slot. Other differences include set cards becoming invisible whilst set and defensive monsters turning blue.
- D-Wheel (in the English anime Duel Runner)
D-Wheels are basically motorcycles with Duel equipment used in Riding Duels. The Riding Duel contain several special rules. First, the duel is entirely played using the field spell "Speed World". Second, only spell cards designed to work into this field are allowed in the duel. Each spell needs a number of "Speed Counters" to be activated. Each duelist starts with zero speed counters and its number increase by one in each standby phase, up to a maximum of twelve. A player can reduce the number of opponent's counters by dealing direct damage to their Life Points. When a winner is decided, the D-Wheel of the defeated duelist shuts down automatically.
The D-Wheel features the card platform, sitting in front of the duelist, a stand for the cards in hand, which allows the duelist to ride with one hand while using the cards with the other, and a compartment for the deck located in the player's wrist. Cards sent to graveyard are inserted in a slot also located in front of the duelist. In some D-Wheel models (called hybrid models), the card platform can be detached from the bike and function as a standard Duel Disk.
There has also been a security lorry during a tag duel, that uses a special UAV form device to project the duel and connect all players together. While the other team uses duel disk though the system to the UAV from another location. Also featured are Duel Boards, skateboards that connect to a standard Duel Disk to enable Riding Duels.
In the English language dub produced by 4Kids Entertainment, D-Wheels are known as "Duel Runners" or simply "Runners" for short. The term "Riding Duel" is replaced by "Turbo Duel".
- Dark Signer Duel Disk
A dark Duel Disk used by the Dark Signers. They are formed from the dark power granted to the Dark Signers upon their resurrection.
- Revolver Duel Disk
A duel disk used by duelists in Crash Town. Its initial appearance is that of a revolver, but it soon becomes a duel disk when attached to the wrist. In duels in Crash Town, the player who sets up their duel disk when the sun touches the horizon before their opponent goes first.
A new type of Duel Disk which is worn on the wrist. Features include a touch screen and individual card slots which appear when dueling.
A custom-made digital eyepiece which replaces the holographic projectors of previous Duel Disks and instead uses augmented reality to augment monsters, video screens and heads up displays. When these are worn, players or spectators can view the digital world in which duels take place, making it more involving than standard duels, and can also digitally remove uninvolved bystanders from the field of vision.