My family recently started to play Monopoly. It is a game that has been delighting families for generations. But I should add in other descriptive words that can be used to explain Monopoly, such as “devastating,” “depressing,” and “a game that drags on and on and on.” The new Monopoly Empire edition is trying to remedy those dreaded “d” words with their speedy game play, as this new version only takes about 30 minutes from start to finish.
A recent game of ours using the old-school edition of Monopoly took about four or five hours to play. We had to take breaks. I think a nap may have been involved. There were highs and there were lows, and the whole shebang ended in tears. After that many hours playing, it’s hard not to become emotionally invested. But although we may not actually find much joy playing Monopoly, it’s the life lessons and the marathon-like challenge that keep us coming back. In a standard game of Monopoly you need determination, patience, and planning. And I have to say, I’m not sure if I agree with the idea of a “quick” version. Yes, we are all really busy. But we should all be able to have enough time for a game that takes longer than half an hour.
But that’s not the only depressing thing about Monopoly Empire. The really depressing thing is the branding. Instead of Marvin Gardens and Park Place, the properties have been replaced with corporations, including Nestle, McDonald’s, and Intel. Monopoly is no stranger to brands: there have been a whole bunch of Monopoly games licensed to sports teams and commercial brands like Hello Kitty. But those have been available for fans of the brands (full disclosure: we do own the Disney Parks version, but we love Disnyeland so that choice for us makes sense). But something about the crass commercialization of Monopoly Empire is troublesome – like our kids need more brand marketing in their lives. Playtime should be sponsor-free.
So what is this game telling us? That we don’t have enough time to play a full game and if we do, we shouldn’t waste that time, we should marketed to instead.
Photo Source: via The Consumerist