One of the most popular and best selling games in America and around the world, Monopoly is sold in 80 different countries and comes in 26 different languages. Adults as well as kids play the game of monopoly in their spare time for excitement and pleasure. But where did this epic board game from and why did it become so popular?
During the time-frame of the Great Depression an instructional game called “The Landlord’s Game”, was first published by the political activist and Quaker Elizabeth Magie. The purpose of that game was to teach people how monopolies end up taking advantage of the poor and giving incredible wealth to one or few individuals. Unfortunately the game was not popular with others and very few of them sold. The game board itself held promise however and in 1934 a gentleman by the name of Charles Darrow re-designed it creating a simple game of chance and sacrifices with a glimmer of hope for fame and fortune which depicted a state much like the world was currently experiencing.
Images of the First Monopoly Game Board
There were a number of comparative aspects of the game in relationship to real life hardships during the era. Darrow himself was unemployed and worked overtime in hopes that his game would become a hit. He made the first board game in his garage and presented it to the executives at Parker Brothers only to be rejected due to design errors. He persisted fortunately, and decided to produce the game himself with a little help from his friends.
Mr. Darrow proceeded to create and sell over 5,000 handmade sets of the game to a Philadelphia department store. People could not get enough of the game and the demand quickly outgrew the supply, thus sending Mr. Darrow back to Parker Brothers in which they happily purchased the rights to the game.
Charles Darrow’s patent submission for Monopoly to Parker Brothers
In 1935, Monopoly became the best-selling board game in America and has continued to keep up with the times. Over its 65-year history, an estimated 500 million people have played the game in one form or another. The term monopoly is the domination of a market by a single entity and ironically that is exactly what Darrow did with game, literally going from rags to riches and dominating the board game genre.
1936 Monopoly Board Game
Originally, the game was designed for adults, because it required critical thinking, difficult decision-making, and banking skills. Nowadays the game is played with no emphasis on what it really means or meant as it did back during the times of such hardship, devastation, and hope. Monopoly is a game of struggle and risk in addition to conveying and uncovering greed and selfishness, not usually what most people think of while playing such an entertaining family board game but true nonetheless.
2010 Monopoly Board Game
Overall, the game helps a person understand how challenging life can really be if you were confronted with such decisions represented in common life. Currently it does resembles the real time existence of both eras in part as many can related to having insufficient money to pay mortgage, or city fines, etc. but is usually played with light heartedness and amusement as we have all come to accept it as… just a game.
A Few Fun Monopoly Facts
* Over 200 million games have been sold worldwide.
* More than five billion little green houses have been “built” since 1935.
* A set made by my friends at Alfred Dunhill, with gold houses and silver hotels, sold for $25,000.
* The longest game in history lasted 70 straight days.
* The longest game in a bathtub lasted 99 hours!
* Mr. Monopoly is the name of the MONOPOLY® man.
*Hundreds, possibly thousands of officially sanctioned Monopoly editions have been published including: Astronomy, Coca-Cola, Elvis, Las Vegas, NHL, Peanuts, Simpsons, and Wizard of Oz.
* The total amount of money in a standard MONOPOLY® game is $15,140.
* In 1978, the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog offered a chocolate version of the game priced at $600.
* The three most-landed-on properties are Illinois Avenue. “GO” and the B&O Railroad.
* The character locked behind the bars is called Jake the Jailbird. Officer Edgar Mallory sent him to jail.
* When a player lands on an unowned property and decides not to buy it, the property goes to auction.
* There are 22 properties that can be built upon.