Fight-Free Foray North With Mr Monopoly
I was never a great lover of Monopoly growing up. What with the faff of getting the money counted out, not to mention the tussles about who was to have what metal icon to move around the board – I liked the boot but was often forced into being the iron by my older, un-PC brothers – it all took too much time to get going and to get exciting.
Growing up in Newcastle, the names of the streets I was buying had no currency. Who knew why the Old Kent Road was such a shameful brown colour or why Bond Street or Whitehall merited more prestige? I have yet to understand the Community Chest reference, or why so terse the list of imperatives of the Go to Jail card. What had I done that merited that?
But I’ve had a Road to Damascus…if you’ll pardon the topographical mixed metaphor. I’ve found online Monopoly.
For one thing, I don’t have to centre my game round a London board and all its paraphernalia. It is a game which allows you to play anywhere, is quick (and therefore infinitely more exciting) yet has the nostalgic link to childhood in the person of Mr Monopoly. Paddy Power has obtained the rights to the affable figure from Hasbro. In Monopoly Dream Life, Mr Monopoly is jauntily living the dream in sports car and motorboat, and he even has the dog with him who gives the occasional bark of encouragement as you spin the wheel in an arcade style game. The stake is a few pence and the level of pay-out varies but is always clearly shown alongside your balance. It is easy to play, but what is even better is it never results in the sort of exasperation that the board game did.
But Paddy Power has found other ways to reinvent Monopoly. It’s called Monopoly Here and Now. It retains links to the original with the player’s ability to acquire properties. Like Dream Life, it is played like a slot but gives you a range of options about which paylines you use.
There are even new icons to match the updated look: a mobile phone, cheeseburger or online skate are nods in the direction of modern city life as the online property moguls of all ages build their empires.
No more iron for me! On my train journey North later in the week, I’ll give the mobile phone version of Monopoly Plus Extra a go before I visit my very PC brothers.