Buried in a New York Times article about new computerized versions of Monopoly is this interesting tidbit: "Hasbro is shortening and simplifying many of its popular games, changing the formats of Scrabble and Cranium so they can be played in five-minute spurts. Rivals like Mattel are doing the same with games like Apples to Apples."
As anyone who's ever played Monopoly knows, these games can last for hours/days/never actually be finished. Even the "short" version of the board game tends to drag on far longer than you'd like to be sorting through orange $500 bills. So it's not necessarily a bad thing that Hasbro is deciding to give the iconic game a much needed face-lift with it's forthcoming Monopoly Live version. It's just that the way their doing it seems, well, a bit depressing.
"Hasbro executives also say that young players do not want to bother with reading instructions and toss rules aside," reports the Times. Ok, so scratch the complicated Monopoly rules. Didn't everyone just make up house versions anyway?
What else arrives in the new version?
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.
This is starting to look less promising.
To recap: Monopoly will now feature no complicated rules, no dice, no cash, no chance and community cards, no moving your pewter retro car around the table, minimal bartering, and the gleeful grubby capitalism of the original will be replaced by a Big Brother "tower" that watches your every move.
Sounds like fun.