It is a truth universally acknowledged that Nintendo is evil. It is even worse when Nintendo joins forces with Hasbro. Recently, their demon lovechild hit the shelves at Gamestop, and I was powerless to resist.
That's right, I bought a copy of Monopoly this week. And I am not the only one. The BGG Facebook group has been blowing up with images of and posts about Monopoly Gamer, an updated version of Monopoly that features Super Mario characters, plastic coins, and boss battles.
Needless to say, the online board gaming community is collectively losing its mind over this. Supporters are out there defending their choice to purchase Monopoly Gamer because it's "not like regular Monopoly." Haters are unable to get past the fact that "real" gamers went out and bought any version of Monopoly.
I will tell you right now that I unabashedly bought Monopoly Gamer and also the ridiculous character packs. The game is good fun, and I'm not too proud to play any game as long as I'm having a good time. A "real gamer" is someone who plays games, period.
What I do dislike about Monopoly Gamer is that it represents everything I hate about video game culture, but in board game form. The game itself was hard to find, and Gamestop totally sold out of character packs almost immediately. (My local store only has Luigi left.) There are scalpers on eBay hawking "rare" Wario and Tanooki Mario pieces at a 400% markup. Even worse, when you open the base game box, there are empty spaces for those extra characters, as if to constantly remind you that you missed out on an exclusive item.
Nintendo is the worst offender when it comes to creating scarcity in order to boost demand for their products. I'm not even going to bother going for a Super NES Classic, because I already know it would be a herculean task to acquire one. The Amiibo craze left a very sour taste in my mouth. And while I am one of the lucky few who have a Nintendo Switch, I am painfully aware that it's still tough to buy one.
Selling a board game that doesn't come with all of its pieces, then producing those missing pieces in limited amounts, is not a business model I like to see. (As any gamer knows, it's rude to sell DLC on launch day.) I don't like Kickstarter exclusives, either, because it pains me to think about owning a game I can never fully experience. Monopoly Gamer is good fun, especially for a Nintendo-loving family like mine. But true to the spirit of Monopoly, it's also a cash grab—one that I hope against hope is a one-time thing.