In 1936, Parker Brothers introduced Monopoly after purchasing the rights from the person they thought had invented the game. However, despite what the flimsy pamphlet in most Monopoly sets has always maintained, the board game was not, in fact, birthed during the Depression by a down-on-his-luck, unemployed heating engineer named Charles Darrow, ideating out on his kitchen table a game that would enable him to recall happier days in Atlantic City.
Numerous variations had been in existence for years prior. For example, in 1931, a guy called Louis Thun produced an incipient version of the game. In his flimsy four-page pamphlet that came with the game, the rules were set out containing this ironic quote: "Monopoly is designed to show the evils resulting from the institution of private property." If the irony is lost on you, that's because you haven't been following the decades-long lawsuits flying around, trying to decide what person, persons or company actually has the Monopoly on Monopoly.
Meantime, Hasbro, who produces Monopoly presently, was busy some months ago rewriting the history of the game in its own way. In an attempt to spark fresh interest in an old game, the company created two polls on the Internet to help decide the future of some of the game's playing pieces. (Ah, marketing driving product... after Mustafa trotted in shirtless on a horse, every ancient brand thinks they're going to be the Old Spice of X.)
The first poll that appeared on Hasbro's Web site asked people to vote for a brand new playing piece. Of the five choices (robot, helicopter, ring, guitar and cat), it was--surprise, surprise--the feline for the win. Alex wrote about that, if you recall. Then, over on Monopoly's Facebook page, in a quasi-reality-show format, fans were asked to vote one of the classic playing pieces "off the island" via a special contest called Save Your Token. The fate of the car, the thimble, the boot, Scottie the dog, the battleship, the hat, the iron and the wheelbarrow hung on every click.
Ultimately, it wasn't the boot that got the boot, rather the iron. Daily Show writer Daniel Radosh had this to tweet upon hearing the news:
Folks who voted out the iron in favor of the cat are going to regret it when all their Monopoly clothes are wrinkled and covered in cat hair— Daniel Radosh (@danielradosh) February 7, 2013
So what do you think of this, er, move? Would you have rather they left well enough alone? Are you looking forward to buying the new set with the new piece? Let us know in the comments below...