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Posted at 4:53 PM ET, 02/17/2011

Monopoly Live? Are we really this lazy?

By Alexandra Petri

Everything about this is wrong.

Watch this video, and you will see why.

"Monopoly Live" is a new Monopoly edition that Hasbro says is coming out this fall.

Compared to what is going on in the streets, I understand that this is relatively minor. But it's necessary. First they came for Guitar Hero, and nobody said anything. Now they're coming for Monopoly - someone has to speak up!

After all, it's only from Monopoly that I understand how foreclosures work or what spawned the financial crisis. "Watch the banker!" I insist. "Because if the banker takes your money and spends it on houses nobody can afford, then no one has any money and the game is over! Also, do not let Bernie Madoff be the banker."

But this is no Monopoly. "Monopoly Live" is to Monopoly as listening to baseball on the radio is to playing baseball. This game is perfect for people who don't want to play Monopoly, but would like a robot to tell them about it in detail. It's the books-on-tape edition of life. "Don't have a childhood?" it asks. "Here's a bored, yet patient robot voice describing what it would be like if you had one!"

It prescribes the interactions that can occur. It draws Community Chest cards for you. When it senses you're bored, it yells, "HORSE RACE!" It even says whose turn it is. When it's yours, you place your hand over the game board to "roll the dice." It's all the fun of rolling dice combined with none of the fun of rolling dice!

I can picture the testimonial on the side of the box: "If I had actual dice, I would be constantly paralyzed by the fear of losing them, because of an incident that occurred in my childhood. So I'm glad that this tower will tell me about what rolling dice is like without me ever having to touch them. I just wish there were a tool that did the same thing for my marriage."

A small part of me wonders: Is this all a conspiracy by bad parents?

Next they'll come up with a device that lets you play catch without playing actual catch. "You're throwing the ball," it will say. "Your father catches it! Now he's throwing it back! You caught it again! Your father is telling you he is proud. You two have a good relationship." It's almost an SNL sketch.

This needs to cease.

To whom are they catering here? Did people hear about Monopoly and say, "Man, I'd love to play that, but it requires just a little too much, well, effort"? "Don't get me wrong," these people added, "I would really, really be interested in moving a piece around the board, but rolling the dice or reading the instructions - that's where I draw the line."

If there are actually people out there with these objections, then Michelle Obama has more work cut out for her than I thought. I knew we were lazy, but this is ridiculous! In 2008, 34 percent of Americans were obese. But if we don't even want to roll the monopoly dice - well, I'm concerned. This doesn't even require any effort! What about the things that do? What's next? A Virtual Stairmaster? Sit Sit Revolution?

And it's not just the physical laziness this implies - it's the mental sloth. You don't have to know how much money you have. The Robot Tower will tell you. The only justification for hours spent playing Monopoly used to be that you learned math and teamwork. Now, you learn, uh, listening, and dependency on machines. True, these are the essential skills of our era, but that doesn't make it fun.

By Alexandra Petri  | February 17, 2011; 4:53 PM ET
Categories:  Epic Failures, Petri, Worst Things Ever  | Tags:  America, Michelle Obama, Monopoly, argh, technology  
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Comments

I don't like this version of the game either, but for different reasons. Who wants to be in the same room with other humans where you have to smell their farts? And why waste the trees and plastic to make a physical game when you can play a better version online.

That paper Monopoly money was fun in its day, but the kids play with it, and it gets covered in snot. With online Monopoly, I can get beaten by a 12-year-old kid in China without getting any of his diseases. Then, I can get back at him by sending him this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZa5W-CnOak

Come on Petri, get out of the last century! What will you suggest next... going back to printing books on paper?

Posted by: divtune | February 17, 2011 8:49 PM | Report abuse

What's the big deal with being obese? It's better than being malnourished.

Posted by: jimward21 | February 18, 2011 11:41 AM | Report abuse

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