The Game: Does anyone not know this game? You and quite a few other players make a mad dash around the Monopoly board, snatching up properties, railroads, and utilities, hazarding the fickle fortunes of the Chance and Community Chest spaces, and trying to avoid taxes and jail – not to mention bankruptcy – while building an empire that will make you rich. (Majesco Sales, 1999)
Memories: This is sort of like the Game Boy editions of Pac-Man and Space Invaders – it’s an excellent reason to own one of Nintendo‘s portable powerhouses o’ fun. The Parker Brothers board game classic is faithfully reproduced despite the small screen, and the game play is engaging. In many ways, I prefer the Game Boy version of Monopoly to the PC or Playstation versions for the same reason I’d take the Game Boy version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? over the Playstation version of that game: no cutscenes, no animations you can’t bail out of (or shut down from the options menu), no bull – the Game Boy has just enough room for the game. And I like it that way.
The options menu from the Playstation version, however, is something I miss here. The Game Boy edition of Monopoly doesn’t allow you to select any rules variations – such as “all taxes go into a pot which can be won by the next person to visit Free Parking,” a popular amendment which is a favorite with myself and the lovely Mrs. Green – at all. That is something you can do with the Playstation version. Oh well.
The computerized opponents you’ll be up against on the Game Boy are, in alternating turns, brilliantly crafty and stunningly stupid. Just the other night, a computerized player tried to open negotiations with me for a trade – the computer already had Water Works, and wanted to entice me to part with the Electric Company. Feeling a little silly, I told the computer – through the wonderfully easy to use menu interface – that I would gladly accept Water Works in trade. And the digital dolt accepted! I realized a moment later that this would actually leave me at a disadvantage, and again, the computer had no qualms about accepting the Water Works in trade for the Electric Company again. Occasionally little bugs like that slip through, but I suppose instinct and avarice are a little too much to expect from a Z80 chip with an LCD screen.
Monopoly gets full marks from me – and it’s right up there with Namco Arcade Classics 3 and Pac-Man in the category of “games I always reach for.”