Monopoly Live

Friday, March 11th, 2011

The ironically named Monopoly Live takes some of the human element out of the (in)famous board game, by having a computer adjudicate all the rules — something Dark Tower did in 1981, when computers were novel.

So, it takes away the dice and play money, but it adds some things, too:

It sprinkles in random events, like a horse race where players must bet on winners.

The computer also tracks how fast or slow play is going, and may intervene to make it lively. If, say, very little property is getting bought, it will announce an auction in the middle of turns.

Monopoly was intended as an anti-monopoly propaganda piece — specifically an anti-land-monopoly piece — but the interviewed expert doesn’t seem to know that:

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.

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