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Monopoly Here & Now - No More Boardwalk?

Outrage over the nationalizing of a national treasure

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Monopoly Here & Now - Times Square

Times Square as pictured on the board of Monopoly Here & Now.

Photo coutesy of Hasbro
When Parker Brothers / Hasbro first announced plans to publish a new version of the venerable board game Monopoly, to be christened the "Here & Now Edition," some people responded as though the company had announced an employee reduction program that involved actual executions.

One blogger described the new edition as "a crime against humanity."

And lest we think that the ranting blogger was alone in his over-reaction, consider the word used by the executive director of the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority: "un-American."

Not "wrong-headed," "stupid" or even "flat-out moronic." No, the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority believed so strongly about this version of Monopoly that they played the patriotic card: un-American.

What is it about Monopoly Here & Now that has some people so upset?

A May 2006 headline in USA Today put it this way: "Boardwalk gets the boot."

This edition of Monopoly replaces everything from Mediterranean Avenue (now Jacobs Field in Cleveland) and Baltic Avenue (Texas Stadium in Dallas) to Park Place (Fenway Park in Boston) and Boardwalk (New York City’s Times Square).

Nothing was safe. The railroads have been replaced with airports. The cool race car and that oh-so-cute Scottish terrier? Gone. Now players are offered a hybrid Toyota Prius and a mutant designer dog, the labradoodle.

The Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority was so worked up about Monopoly: Here & Now that it collected more than 4,000 signatures in a petition to "keep Boardwalk in the game," according to a May 2006 article in the Asbury Park Press.

Wait. Hasn't this been done before? Hundreds of times?

Yes.

Boardwalk has already been replaced with Lambeau Field, Graceland, Yellowstone National Park, Kermit the Frog's Swamp, and many other locations both real and fictional. Many special editions of Monopoly are published every year.

So why was this time different? Only because of the marketing muscle that Parker Brothers / Hasbro is putting behind the game. Star Wars Monopoly wasn't described as "the modern day Monopoly makeover." There was no multimillion dollar ad campaign to tell people about Spongebob Squarepants Monopoly.

With Monopoly Here & Now, Parker Brothers / Hasbro didn't hold back. A grand launch event in Times Square was followed by a public relations blitz and slick television commercials all designed to let people know that this major new edition of Monopoly was available.

But the ranting blogger, the USA Today headline writer and even the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority can all relax.

Because although a Hasbro executive told The New York Times that the company expects Monopoly Here & Now to sell millions of copies, the classic version will still be on store shelves.

And they expect it to sell millions of copies, too.

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