Monday, November 12, 2007

Monopoly Electronic Banking Edition - Sucking the Fun out of Childhood One Board Game at a Time

The classic board game Monopoly is known to be one of the most popular and beloved board games of all time. It has been a staple of American culture since 1935, has been enjoyed by more than 500 million people worldwide, and has been sold in 103 countries in 37 languages. With virtually hundreds of alternate game boards available, Monopoly is a game that pretty much anyone can enjoy. It's a great way to pass time on a rainy day, it brings families together, and it offers a nice alternative to television, video games, and other cancer-causing technology.

But that has all changed.

Hasbro has introduced a twist on this classic game--Monopoly Electronic Banking Edition. This version does away with the traditional paper Monopoly money and instead has players keep track of their earnings through a simulated ATM machine. While this may seem like an innovative step into the future, I am here to explain why this game is a travesty on many levels.

1. Mommy, what is a hundred plus fifty?

My first major issue with this game is the fact that it takes the math completely out of the picture. While some (hopelessly lazy) people might see this as a good thing, I think it is just another apparatus that will hold people back from being able to do basic addition. No matter who you are, it is likely that at some point in your life you will handle money. Whether you are a cashier, a prostitute, or someone having a garage sale, cash will be passed into your hands more than once in your life and it will become important for you to be able to count it. Monopoly provides both children and adults with an opportunity to gain skill in counting, adding and subtracting large numbers in their heads (and division if you have to deal with that pesky Luxury Tax). This new Monopoly completely takes away from this skill-building activity. As if mindless television shows and video games weren't enough, must we really bastardize board games by making them all electronic and taking all of the effort out of them?

2. Hello? Tech support?
Any piece of electronic equipment you buy comes with one major issue - it is easy to break and expensive to fix. Electronic Monopoly is no different. With original Monopoly, if you lost a few of those paper bills, it did not have much impact on the game because there were still plenty to go around. With the advent of the internet, even if you do lose some fake cash, you can download and print extras from the Monopoly website. Either way, it is pretty easy to get by if you have a money malfunction. With the new edition on the other hand, if the electronic calculator/ATM breaks, it is literally game over. Also, while replacing paper money is relatively cheap, replacing batteries is a bit more pricey. Franky, it seems like too much of a hassle for something that isn't that innovative or exciting to begin with.

3. Do not pass Go. Do not collect two crisp yellowish $100 bills.
I have saved my most compelling (and of course, most important) argument for last. When playing a game of regular Monopoly, there is a certain degree of satisfaction in accumulating those fake bills. What's the fun in Monopoly when you can't wave your fat wad of bills in your opponents face? How can you enjoy winning if you can't throw your cash in the air like confetti or roll around in it like you are making snow angels? What fun is there at all if you can't strategically position your huge stack of bright orange $500 bills so that they are in clear view of all those who don't even have a single blue $50 bill?

To me, Monopoly isn't about buying and trading property. It isn't about bank errors in your favor or hotels or getting out of jail free. Monopoly is a great way to show your superior gaming skills by gaining a larger stack of cash and title deeds than that of your opponents. It's about counting out your winnings loudly so the other person can hear how wonderful you are. The electronic edition completely robs people of this absolute joy. So say no to the new travesty of a game and stick to the classic. Otherwise I will track you down and punch you hard in the Community Chest.


Anonymous said...

Excellent post. The stealing and corrupt banking is something I appreciate as well as it adds another interesting psychological element to the game.

Cultural Subterfuge said...

Oh yes, I completely forgot about the joys of sneaking an extra $50 when paying yourself for winning that beauty contest or just helping yourself to $500 or so when your opponent is in the bathroom. It's just like real life!


nireus said...

Good Writing but Monopoly is evil all the time. You can check my post about monopoly banking edition as well :