Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

The cat takes over from the Monopoly iron.

They have done some truly awful things to Monopoly over the last few decades. None of the outrages was, mind you, quite so ghastly as the decision to allow commercial entities to sponsor the properties. Am I remembering this wrong …

Wed, Feb 6, 2013, 21:23

   

They have done some truly awful things to Monopoly over the last few decades. None of the outrages was, mind you, quite so ghastly as the decision to allow commercial entities to sponsor the properties. Am I remembering this wrong or was there an Irish edition where you could buy some ghastly industrial estate in South Dublin? What about dumping Kimmage from the Dublin set? Sod you!

Then there was this business of bringing credit cards into the mix. Aside from eliminating a large part of the game’s ritual — laying out the money in the box lid and so on — this move prohibited players from making shady deals that added colour to an otherwise regimented game. Monopoly is, after all, supposed to mirror capitalism. Coming to certain “arrangements” with friendly players was a vital part of that simulacrum.

On balance, however, neither the cat nor I can find it in ourselves to object too forcefully to this decision to ditch the smoothing-iron playing piece. Nobody liked the blasted thing. When I was playing absurdly aggressive games of Monopoly at the University — in between staging abrasive Marxist plays — we would fight furiously over who got to be the racing car. The battleship was okay, too. The dog was cute. But the iron was a dead loss. If you were a man you felt it a little emasculating. If you were a woman then ending up with that piece seemed to be acknowledging acceptance of the patriarchal something-or-other.

Anyway, over the last few months Hasbro has been running a project aimed at replacing one of the old pieces with one from a selection of new ones: a cat, a toy robot, a guitar, a helicopter and a diamond ring. The robot was cool. But the cat seemed by far the best option. Why? Because it’s a cat and — as the cat would acknowledge — cats absolutely rule. It also makes sense. You wouldn’t really expect to see a robot wandering up the Pentonville Road. But a moggie you can believe. That’s my sad story.

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