A little while ago, we wrote a scathing (scathing!) indictment of Monopoly For Millennials, the premier satirical board game for folks who correct people's use of the term "concentration camp" online. We called it the worst version of Monopoly ever made. But since late capitalism is a never-ending race to the bottom, we've been forced to reevaluate that position, because if there's one thing worse than being boringly offensive, it's being offensively boring. Case in point: Monopoly Voice Banking.
On July 1, Hasbro will launch a version of the game in which all your transactions will be handled by an AI top hat. Press the button and a Siri-like Mr. Monopoly "banking unit" will take your voice commands and do all the transactions for you. Unlike other AI assistants, this one doesn't connect to WiFi to do its job -- which is good news for people who'd rather have a wiretap than an Alexa in their home. And while that means Mr. Monopoly isn't actually all that smart (hey, just like real-life hotel tycoons!), the game does promise that the AI will deliver "faster gameplay." And nothing screams fun family game night like the promise that it'll be over quicker.
And you'll want this to be over as quickly as possible, because this might be the most boring and condescending edition of Monopoly ever made. Building on previous cashless versions, it boasts having the first billionaire boomer banker to not be able to cheat you, except that in the process, it cheats you out of the only novelty (let's not go so far as to call it "fun") that Monopoly provides: gathering piles of money and screwing people over.
You see, the game's slogan is "Control It All," but all the control goes to Mr. Monopoly, who won't allow you to cheat, bribe or make even slightly complicated business deals. He also controls all of the information, so you don't even know how much money you have unless you politely ask the top hat like you're a character in a Dickens novel. So while the robot billionaire absorbs all the joy, you mindlessly drone on, letting a piece of software determine your worth while losing all sense of human connection and ending with the nagging feeling that it was an empty experience.
Actually, we've changed our mind again. This is the best satire of capitalism that Monopoly has given us in a century.
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