Monopoly Live – This is Progress?

How do you take one of the greatest games for both kids and adults and absolutely destroy it?  I give you: Monopoly Live.  From the NY Times:

“In the new version of Monopoly, the game’s classic pastel-colored bills and the designated Banker have been banished, along with other old-fashioned elements, in favor of a computer that runs the game.

Hasbro showed a preview of the new version, called Monopoly Live, at this week’s Toy Fair in New York. It is the classic Monopoly board on the outside, with the familiar railroads like the B.& O. and the development of property. But in the center, instead of dice and Chance and Community Chest cards, an infrared tower with a speaker issues instructions, keeps track of money and makes sure players adhere to the rules. The all-knowing tower even watches over advancing the proper number of spaces.”

Right – because I guess the little mathematical thought left in our lives these days was just too much for us to handle – we need a miniature Monopoly-Traffic-Control-Tower to run the game for us (sarcasm alert).  We definitely don’t want the next generation to have to waste their time with trivial skills like making change and doing simple math in their heads.

At my in-laws’ house during the Holidays last year we got into an old fashioned Monopoly battle royal that ended with several people in tears, on the wrong side of ruthless side deals and under the table bargaining.  It was awesome.  You can’t negotiate with an infrared tower!  You can’t sell off 20% of the future rents from Boardwalk and Park Place (to 5 different people – and then mortgage them! Kudos, Mrs. Dynamite) with the Tower running the game.

“There is a recognition that people’s attention spans maybe aren’t as big as they used to be, or they don’t have the time to dedicate to this activity,” said Sean McGowan, a toy analyst with Needham & Company

And so the attention deficit disordering of America continues…Oh – but there’s one more doozy of a quote:

Mary Flanagan, a game designer and distinguished professor of digital humanities at Dartmouth, said that games tended to reflect the societies that they were played in. For instance, the original Monopoly, issued in 1935 by Parker Brothers, now a subsidiary of Hasbro, reflected “American ingenuity, the sense of needing to have hope, and reinforcing capitalism in the face of real economic despair,” she said.

This version, she said, seemed to be “less and less about financial awareness” — children do not need math skills in this iteration — and more about social interaction.

Oy vey – indeed – because American ingenuity, financial awareness and reinforcing capitalism would be terrible things to teach our children these days. (Sarcasm alert again!)  Monopoly Live is indeed perfect for our times – press a button and watch as things are done for you.  You don’t even need to strain yourself rolling the dice.  What will the kids do when they Mighty Tower runs out of batteries or malfunctions?  Complain about it on Facebook I guess…

-KD (Angry Old Man – all of 34 years old)

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