Monopoly for Millennials
I remember playing Monopoly with my brother as a child, and I don’t think our relationship ever recovered.
Nothing says “fun childhood activity” like quickly going bankrupt and watching your dreams shatter before your eyes, while the game drags on and on. One person emerges as champion; the rest need years of therapy.
The game we know as Monopoly is based on The Landlord’s Game, created by Elizabeth Magie. That makes it sound like we should be spending our turn hiring plumbers and screwing in light bulbs, but Magie’s focus was political.
The game was a protest of economic disempowerment, designed so that one person gains the upper hand and everyone else’s money dwindles, turn by turn, as the losing players mortgage properties and wait for the inevitable coup de grâce.
Magie knew full well the game could make your family hate you, and embraced it. It was part of the appeal. (Her holiday gatherings must’ve been interesting.)
Enter the newest version, Monopoly for Millennials. Tagline: “Forget real estate. You can’t afford it anyway.”
Move over, thimble. One of the game pieces is a hashtag. #byebyesewing
The iconic Monopoly mascot is now taking a selfie, boasting a participation ribbon, and holding a coffee. He’s clearly in on the joke.
But not everyone is happy with the game, it seems. Here are some reviews:
“Do Not Collect $200. Go to hell.” — The New York Post
“Insulting.” - Yahoo
“Condescending.” - one of my friends
I think it’s hilarious, if completely tone-deaf. In this game, you don’t collect property, but experience. Rather than in-game bankruptcy, players are left with FOMO: fear of missing out.
But the problem isn’t just the use of tired, irritating “millennials can’t adult” clichés.
The game of Monopoly has always been a lesson. Nowadays, we don’t need a tool to teach people that the economy is unfair, leading some to wealth and everyone else to crushing debt.
We’re living it every day.
As usual, any publicity is good publicity. The game originally retailed for about $20, but sold out. Walmart lists the game for $62 from third party sellers, but I think I’ll skip this one. I can get my family to hate me for free.