When the Parker Brothers published the board game Monopoly in 1935, it became a sensation. No one would have guessed a game about buying, renting, banking, real estate, and business would become a worldwide success. In fact, since 1935, Monopoly has been played by 750 million people across the globe. The Guinness Book of Records even cited Monopoly for the number of people who have played the game. Games Magazine also inducted Monopoly into its Hall of Fame.
The origin of Monopoly however, was way before 1935. Its roots can even be traced in 1904. A Quaker woman by the name Elizabeth J. Magie Phillips created an educational board game hiring it would be a better tool to teach people about the single tax theory of Henry George. The game was allegedly called The Landlord's Game, and it was published a few years later.
Thereafter, many games patterned on it came out in the market. Elizabeth Phillips, in fact, also patented a fresher version of her game in 1924. A little over ten years later, the Parker Brothers came out with Monopoly. Since then, several people across America have been contributing to its design and development. This made what Monopoly is today. But despite the alterations in look and style, the fundamental and rudimentary rules of the game have severely changed.
In the 1970s, however, Monopoly's history was very much hurt when it was believed that a man named Charles Darrow was the sole creator of the board game. The distortion of Monopoly's history caused several court cases through the years. Various historians and company owners of Monopoly have switched loyalty from the Parker Brothers and Charles Darrow. Luckily, some people have seen the importance of Monopoly in society. They have spent their time researching the true history of the world's most played board game.
Monopoly and the Nazis
Across the 20th century, Monopoly has given people different ways of entertainment, comfort, and even escape. In 1941, the British Secret Service had a special kind of Monopoly created for prisoners of war held by the Nazis. Their Monopoly contained real money, maps, compasses, and other materials useful for escaping. These were actually distributed by the International Red Cross.
Rich Uncle Pennybags
It has also been said that the trademark of Monopoly, Rich Uncle Pennybags, was patterned on JP Morgan-a name still familiar to American financing and philanthropy.
Monopoly also adjusted to the environment and popular culture. For example, a London based Monopoly is quite different from an Atlantic City version, and it all falls to certain rules-like how a player can spend time in jail-to-the-name changes in streets and avenues. There is even a McDonalds Monopoly for promotional purposes. There is a Monopoly game that caters to the adult upper class, which can range from the gilded to silver plated versions that can cost up to 100,000 dollars. Also, there is a version for kids called Monopoly Junior.
Monopoly has also crossed over to virtual reality with the game Monopoly Tycoon, Monopoly Casino, and even Monopoly Star Wars. Throughout the years there had been add-ons to the board game itself. Even a short-lived TV show came out in the 1990s. Now, Oscar-nominated director Ridley Scott plans to make a movie based on Monopoly.
These different versions are testaments that Monopoly is an extremely popular game. It can be a wonder at times why a game that never ends can be the most widely played contemporary board game. It is simply that fun. Examining the age bracket it caters to, it seems to never lose its freshness. Not to mention that the game incorporates business sensitivities among players.