Wow... it turns out that Parker Brothers has guts.
But let me back up.
I like Monopoly
. I know that some people regard it as a torture device designed to waste precious hours, turn friends into enemies, and tease out familial dysfunctions, but I
like it. I rarely win when I play, true; I always feel bad when I end up bankrupting somebody, so I tend to accept IOUs until I myself go bankrupt. Whatever. I still like the game. Sometimes I win second prize in that beauty contest, too, and that always picks me up.
When I heard that Parker Brothers was allowing people to vote online for which cities would appear in Monopoly Here and Now: The World Edition
, therefore, I was intrigued. I checked out the site in February 2008, perused the various available cities, and even did some voting. As the days went on, however, I began to suspect that people were stuffing the ballot boxes. For various reasons I figured that Paris, London, and New York would rise to the top of the chart, for example, not Belgrade, Cape Town, and Riga. Sometimes a city would enter the list and climb several places in a day. Maybe I'm just being cynical -- and trust me, I try hard not to be cynical -- but it did seem suspicious to me.
Examining the fine print, I found nothing that officially stated that the number of votes cast for the cities would indicate where the cities themselves would appear on the board. For example, I didn't see anything in the fine print that even suggested that the city with the most votes would adopt the location of what is in the original game Boardwalk. Indeed, the rules could be summed up something like, "Hey, buddy, vote your heart out, but remember that WE decide what happens in this contest." At that moment I wondered whether the voting was more or less a publicity stunt. Parker Brothers was saying, "Sure, come and vote! Tell your friends! We're releasing Monopoly Here and Now: The World Edition
!" Parker Brothers was not
necessarily saying, "And your votes will count!" Maybe they'd reorder the cities based on population or wealth. Maybe they'd pick and choose which cities they really
Then, during the last few days of the contest, the individuals running the vote suddenly hid the results to "make it more interesting" or something like that. I thought to myself, "Ah, so that's
how they'll get out of it. They'll just pretend that near the end of the voting Paris, London, and New York shot to the top while Belgrade, Cape Town, and Riga dropped down to the bottom. Or they'll quietly state that some people were stuffing the ballot boxes and that as a result their votes are void. What, is some guy from Belgrade going to register a formal complaint? They'll have created another pasteurized, homogenized game suitable for just about everyone."
I waited for the end of the contest. My heart was PUMPING, ladies and gentlemen. I then visited the site.
"Now we're tallying the votes!" says them. "Check back in August!" says them.August
"I'm glad that YOU can be chipper, YOU BASTARDS!" says I. "And I WILL check back in August!" says I.
"MAY? I mean, how long does it TAKE to tally votes online?"
"Wait -- AUGUST? Can it BE?"
I raced to the site to check. Again my heart was PUMPING. The final results:
Parker Brothers, I salute you. I'm not actually going to play Monopoly Here and Now: The World Edition
, granted, but I admire your honest moxie. Best of luck with it!