As much as the classic game Monopoly was a perennial favorite at family gatherings when I was a kid (and I look forward to the day when my son is old enough to start learning to play) I have to admit that I never gave even a moment’s thought to the properties arranged around the board. They were just abstract things that you needed to own plenty of if you wanted a chance at winning the game.
I suppose that way down deep, I might’ve had some vague notion that the Monopoly squares were named after actual locations but I never had any notion of where that was or what those locations might really look like. Well sure enough, the properties up for grabs in the game are indeed named after real locales in and around Atlantic City, New Jersey and Nick Carr at Scouting NY recently paid a visit to those sites represented on the Monopoly board and showcased the images from his trip.
Now that I’ve seen some of the real locations that correspond with the places on the board, it gives the game a little different perspective on those deeds you buy and leverage in the game. Knowing about the Absecon Light lighthouse makes Vermont Avenue that much more appealing. And here’s a glimpse of the real version of the highly-coveted Park Place:
Does seeing the real locations that the Monopoly properties are based on give the game a different feel for you? Does this make you wanna dust off the old classic and play it again?
A few days ago I asked the Monopoly trivia question: What’s the formal name of the game’s mustached mascot. Bob made a good guess, but no cigar.
“Rich Uncle Milburn Pennybags” first appeared in 1936. It’s believed that the character is at least partially based on legendary capitalist & financier J.P. Morgan. He was officially rechristened “Mr. Monopoly” by Hasbro in 1999.
By the way, the sad fellow behind bars is “Jake the Jailbird” and “Officer Edgar Mallory” is the cop who patrols the “Go To Jail” square.
It seems that the drive for immediate gratification has corrupted yet another element of my childhood. Maybe I’m just a nostalgic atavist, but when I learned (from Dede) that the newest versions of Monopoly use plastic instead of paper money, I was crushed.
Yup, rather than shipping with traditional compliment of $15,140 in cash, Monopoly’s colorful paper currency has now been replaced with 5 shiny debit cards that you swipe in a digital reader when purchasing properties, paying rent, or making other transactions. That’s just disturbing.
Ok sure, it’s just a board game, but it always had an educational aspect as well. Monopoly was the first exposure most of us had to handling cash, investing in property, saving for improvements, negotiating power deals, entering into financial partnerships, and planning for future expenses—like making sure you’ve got enough money to weather the fiscal devastation should you fail to successfully hopscotch through your brother’s “Hotel Row” via Community Chest, Luxury Tax, or one of those blasted railroads.
So, do you feel that debit cards ruin the classic game or does the electronic angle give a tired old game a compelling new twist? Post a comment and let us know what your take is on this!
Related Trivia: Extra bonus points to whoever can correctly give the formal name of Monopoly’s mustached mascot. (No fair Googling the answer!)
Update: Discover the answer to the Monopoly trivia question!