How Monopoly has moved with the times

gold ring on white paper

It’s easy to get all misty-eyed when discussing games played in our younger years. You don’t have to be in your dotage to come over all nostalgic when you think about days spent around the kitchen or dining room table in the typical US home with a board game out and the whole family participating.

We might muse that younger generations don’t know what it’s like – except that’s not true, at least as far as one game is concerned. Everyone’s played Monopoly, regardless of age. And cleverly, Monopoly has managed to consistently reinvent itself, not just so that it remains relevant to Generation Z but also to find new ways to appeal to older generations who might be less inclined in their 40s and 50s to setting up a board game on the kitchen table than they were 20 or 30 years earlier. Let’s find out more.

Early days – lessons for landlords

Most people are vaguely aware that Monopoly has been around since the 1930s. However, it is based on something much older. The Landlord Game looked similar, but its creator, Lizzie Magee, invented it as a way of demonstrating how tenants can be exploited by US landlords and to campaign for legal remedies. Magee patented her game, and in subsequent years, many tried to imitate it and patent their versions, without success.

In the 1930s, an out-of-work engineer named Charles Darrow devised the Monopoly we know today. He had no shortage of buyers – in fact, he could not keep up with demand. However, he also had to fight off legal challenges for copyright infringement.

The solution was to sell the idea to games maker Parker Brothers. They liked Darrow’s backstory as much as they liked the game and were able to mass-produce to meet demand and to settle the legal disputes. They also bought the rights to Magee’s original patent.

Around the world, in 100 Monopoly boards

The original Monopoly game was based on famous streets in Atlantic City. Versions soon followed for other US cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago, and Parkers soon started licensing the game for manufacture in other countries. For example, in the UK, it was created by Waddington’s and featured streets and features of London, as it still does today. Other versions were made for Paris, Amsterdam and other European cities.

In the decades since, scores of versions have been created for different cities worldwide. It is just one way Monopoly has managed to stay fresh and appeal to new markets. Versions have even been created to reflect fictional settings, for example the Game of Thrones Monopoly, which prompted a 21st century Monopoly revival among millennials.

Monopoly Live Casino Game

Taking inspiration from popular culture for its board games is not the only way Monopoly has moved with the times. In 2019, Evolution Gaming launched its Monopoly Online Live Casino game. As well as taking the classic brand online, it gave it a chance to re-engage with older players whose gaming tastes might have moved on from board games to the casino setting.

Evolution has redefined the nature of online casino games over the past decade, with new interpretations of classic titles. Monopoly has proved to be one of the most popular and is available at most online casinos in the US and elsewhere – see onlinecasinolist for a selection of recommended US online casino sites.

The basic game looks more like Wheel of Fortune at first glance. Bet where you think the wheel will stop, and win a prize if you are right. If you successfully bet on the “2 spin” or “4 spin” sections, you will be transported onto the classic Monopoly bonus board, and things look more familiar. The longer you stay on the board, the more prizes you can accumulate.

Classic Monopoly moves to cyberspace

Six months after Evolution launched their Monopoly casino game, Marmalade Game Studio released Monopoly Online for smartphones and tablets. It is easy to set up an account and then invite friends to a game, where you can enjoy video chat while you play – it’s a little like playing Monopoly on a Zoom call!

The online game follows traditional Monopoly rules and gameplay, or there is a shortened version you can choose if you only have time for a quick game. Before you start, you must choose both a playing board and a theme. There are dozens of choices with each. The original 1938 Atlantic City board is fun from a historical perspective, or there’s a fabulous one set in present day New York. There are dozens of other venues, too. Themes include Cherry Blossom, Enchanted Forest, Atlantis and several alternative other-worldly environments.

Monopoly has been a family favorite for almost 100 years, and the way it is going, future generations will continue to play it into the 2100s and beyond.