In the video game industry, we marvel at titles that are still held in high regard years after their initial release. Fans are still patching titles like Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines in an attempt to make the 2004 game more playable on modern systems (and to eliminate many of the bugs from the original version), and it’s long overdue sequel, Bloodlines 2, is one of the most anticipated titles ever. Other titles like Grand Theft Auto Online, the online component to GTA 5, are still being actively played almost ten years after its initial release, with new features like the recent Los Santos Tuners DLC being constantly added to the core game.
Video games certainly have their fair share of revered titles that defy the tests and trials of time, but the video game industry is a relatively young one. The concept of a title still being popular 50 years later is inconceivable, if not downright impossible – at the moment anyway. Looked at in that context, any game that is still actively played, or that people are still obsessed with, a century after its creation would be something akin to a miracle.
To find a game like that, we must leave video games for a moment and venture over to board games. They have been around a lot longer, with classic titles such as Chess and Checkers being played over many centuries. But in terms of so-called modern games (titles that were not created in or before medieval times) the undisputed champion title is going to hands down have to be awarded to Monopoly.
Originally created around 1902 and marketed as The Landlord’s Game, it was designed as, of all things, a sort of protest game demonstrating the negative consequences of economic privilege, high rents and land taxation. Who would have thought that Monopoly, which was eventually the name given to the game after Parker Brothers started boxing and selling it in 1933 (with heavy modifications) would be revered by so many players over the years.
Today, the world is still obsessed with Monopoly. There are versions of the game for almost every theme and taste, including those that revolve around popular shows and movies like Game of Thrones, The Godfather, The Simpsons, Lord of the Rings, Fortnite and many, many others. All of those games still follow the same core rules of the original game, just with properties like Boardwalk and Park Place being replaced with those from the related theme like Winterfell, Moe’s Tavern or the Death Star.
Those looking for a more modern take on Monopoly can enjoy the interactive PC game Monopoly Plus by Ubisoft, which is currently available on the Steam platform. And if you don’t feel like playing by yourself against the computer, there are thrilling live game shows and competitions like Monopoly Live going on 24-hours-per-day in the world’s leading online casinos. There are even lines of merchandise available based on the game, with everything from t-shirts to sunglasses and even fine art and vehicles available for the truly obsessed.
It’s no wonder over 200 million copies of Monopoly have sold so far worldwide. Author and Monopoly expert Philip Orbanes, in his definitive book about the game, cites the uniquely American perspective and the concept of economic opportunity as an anchor of the game’s popularity over the years. And that makes sense. Everyone wants to make a better life for themselves, and the concept of smartly investing in businesses and properties and having those pay off with wealth, prestige and popularity are universal.
It’s a safe bet that the popularity of Monopoly won’t be lessening any time soon. It will be just as thrilling to conquer Boardwalk (or Winterfell or the Death Star) 50 years from now as it is today. So grab yourself a thimble, battleship or that classic old shoe and get ready to pass Go, collect your $200 and have a great time today and long into the future.