We saw a great deal of innovation and impressive technology, used to make games more fun at Toy Fair 2011 and then there was Monopoly Live. As this NY Times piece describes, Monopoly Live has eliminated the money, dice and rule book for Monopoly. A large computer tower, complete with infrared eyes to watch everything, sits in the middle of the board and tells players what to do.
How do you move without dice? Just put your hand over your piece and the computer tells you where to go? How do you pay and collect money without money? You have a debit card and the computer keeps track of it all. No need to blow on the dice and hope for a lucky rule. No need to scream “Ha, You Owe Me $200 Now Sucker!” when your brother lands on your property. The computer knows your brother landed on your space due to its infrared eyes and automatically deducts $200 from his account – no talking necessary by anyone. Oh and learning math by having to count your money, make change and determine what 5 plus 3 on the dice equals – all of that is gone too.
Monopoly Live Barely Requires a Pulse
I am going to say it, and I know I will sound like an angry old Dad when I do, but Monopoly Live sounds like a horrible idea. I love Monopoly and my kids love it too. I love how my kids learn math, some concept of money and how to negotiate and make deals. In addition, the simple act of rolling dice and getting lucky or unlucky is just plain fun.
Sure the money in Monopoly is not real, but when my 6 year old has a stack of $500 bills in front of him while his Mom and Dad are stuck with a few $10 bills – he loves it! In Monopoly Live the computer will just announce how much money you have. Holy crap – what could be less fun than virtual fake money?
Monopoly Live Fixes The Wrong Problem
You know why Hasbro is making Monopoly Live? Here are some quotes from the NYT article –
“How do we give them the video game and the board game with the social experience? That’s where Monopoly Live came in,” said Jane Ritson-Parsons, global brand leader for Monopoly.
Hasbro executives also say that young players do not want to bother with reading instructions and toss rules aside.
“For games, but really for anything you buy today, you need to be able to take it out of the box and play it,” said John Frascotti, Hasbro’s chief marketing officer. “You’re not ensconced in the rulebook.”
The issues are simply that our kids don’t like to read, only like video games, don’t follow rules and have the attention span of a goldfish with ADD. If this is the case, we have a lot more problems than Monopoly Live can solve!
Seriously, as a parent it does seem crazy to dumb everything down to a video game that requires very little skill or patience. My kids might not want to eat healthy food for dinner every night, but the solution is not to serve ice cream for dinner, it is to be a parent and explain why healthy food is necessary. If our kids don’t have the patience to read a rule book and do some math as they play a game, we need to change our kids – not the game.
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