Monopoly – Changing the Face of Crime Games
Monopoly has been changed by Hasbro to reflect the times: Even in some ways that they may not have planned that are quite ironic.
To start with, the concept of a “monopoly” is a business concept that is illegal in the United States so although most of us have not spent much time thinking about it, the game is fundamentally based on the idea of going around the legal system and building so much money and power that you impoverish the other players thereby gaining more and more wealth and taking over the whole board.
There are the struggles of the traditional version of the game such as paying other players, paying taxes, and getting sent to jail for several rounds (in some cases you have some power to “get out of jail free”, to get lucky and get out early or possibly buy your way out of jail).
I never thought about it before, but what a training ground for exactly the kind of business practices that got us into a global financial crisis. Do whatever you can to make so much money and power that you can dominate some section of the world (even if that means impoverishing everyone else involved) by seeking to do things that are illegal or at least legally questionable. During all of this you try to avoid the evils of paying others, paying taxes or getting sent to jail. If you get sent to jail, you try to use your saved up influence to get out of jail free, get out early or to buy your way out of it.
The change they should probably make for this game is to call it “The Wall Street and Mortgage Lenders Game of Life”.
The new changes made to the game are even more ironic in light of the past few years. The big change that has been made to the game is removal of the “Jail” and the concept of going to jail. Much like the concept of punishment for the people responsible for financial collapse in recent years. You do not have to worry about going to jail and you can still collect your two-hundred dollars much like the financial folks who avoided any consequences and still received huge bonuses in the wake of destroying the worldwide economy and millions of lives.
I was thinking of writing this all off as a silly observation I can ramble about with someone over coffee, but I was struck by the idea in our culture of being above the law or not having consequences (even if you knowingly are bending the rules or breaking the law).
The reason for this change is apparently to speed up the game to only take twenty-five to thirty minutes. The modern child has a shorter attention span and apparently a busier schedule so the game has to be faster and shorter.
So why not take out any semblance of consequences for undertaking an illegal activity in a game that promotes this illegal activity as the focus? Let’s take the game “Cops and Robbers” and tell all the kids that it’s more fun to be the robber and make all the kids robbers and have no cops.
I may be over-thinking all of this and the truth is: I LOVE PLAYING MONOPOLY (even though the game does take forever), but I think that this may unwittingly reflect one of the worst aspects of our culture and put it into practice with our children who are the key target audience.
Maybe my once youthful and different views of the world have given way to becoming the mainstream, “old fashioned” values of the mid twenty-one teens, but I do think that if I am going to play a game where my focus is to be the best there is at undertaking illegal activity I have to negotiate my way through the maze of avoiding the consequences of my actions. After all, what fun is it to play a game of doing something illegal if there are no actual consequences to avoid.
Maybe, if my morals were truly in the right place, I would not want to play a game like Monopoly on principle, simply because it is a game promoting such bad parts of our culture and what destroys us, but I must be honest and admit that I love the game. I suppose it makes me feel like it is okay because there is a jail that I can be sent to for these actions and it makes it a little harder to justify if that possibility is not there.
I am not sure how I am supposed to feel about this new version and it’s absence of the “Jail” but on several levels, it does make me uncomfortable