Let's be honest. Monopoly is like a rite of passage for young Americans. Our bright little eyes light up at the sight of the fake money. We scramble to choose the best game token (the boot, obviously, and I don't care what you car-lovers say) and are eager to buy up properties and start raking in the dough.
The problem is, Monopoly is actually a truly terrible game. While I applaud Hasbro's efforts to teach children basic math, I shudder to think what children may glean about how economics works from this game. It's titled "Monopoly," for God's sake. There are laws in place to prevent monopolies, and for good reason. Yet the goal of this game is to own absolutely everything, and charge everyone an arm and a leg for the privilege of residing in your city-state. I find that appalling.
Further, there is the concept that simply purchasing some real estate will provide you with income, which (as anyone who has rented or bought real estate knows) is simply not the case.
On top of which, there's the whole money system that lets you buy entire hotel chains for a few thousand dollars. Huh? It takes thousands of dollars a day to keep a good hotel running!
Then there's the fact that everyone is apparently just roaming around Monopolyville with stacks of cash and no place to live. They just keep crashing at people's houses or paying for a hotel. Do they not have anything better to do with their lives than walking (or driving, if you're into the car) around, buying and selling deeds and rarely if ever staying at the properties they own?
And then there are the cheap franchise Monopoly games, like Star Wars Monopoly and The Office Monopoly. As if giving an awful game a fresh coat of paint will fix anything. Sure, the die-hard Simpsons or Frasier fans will impulsively pick copies of their respective franchise Monopoly games, but what do they really get out of them? Cheap pewter figures that barely resemble their namesakes, and a game board that may be pretty, but makes even less sense than the streets of the original Monopoly game.
Kudos to whoever thought to make A Nightmare Before Christmas Monopoly, though. I'd totally buy that.
The worst part about the game though: It never ends! I have met perhaps two people in my entire life that have actually played a Monopoly game all the way through to the end. SANE people just play for an hour or two and predict who is going to win. (Hint: It's the one with all the money and most of the properties.) Which is just another way of saying that normal people play until they get bored. A good game ought to hold players' interests all the way to the end of the game. Monopoly just doesn't do that.
If you already own a copy of Monopoly, I can't fault you for that. It's such a prevalent game that it's hard to avoid. It's like the Bible--people just expect you to own it. However, if you have yet to acquire a copy of your own, I say don't bother. Spend your money on a game worth playing. Or on cupcakes. Cupcakes are good, too.