The Evolution of “Life”

I have the privilege of spending a significant amount of time with two very brilliant children. They teach me a lot. More recently, I learned how perceptive children are to minor details and subliminal messages that often times go unrecognized by adults.

A trip to Barnes & Noble yesterday was a real eye opener. My 6 year-old friend noticed the game display in the window as we pulled into our parking space. “The Game of Life!!” she shouted, “But that box is different…” Indeed it was. It was the original box, the version from the 1960’s. Mind you, these children have the game at home, the 1970/1980 version. What she said next was nothing new to me, but disturbing nonetheless. “It’s good we have the version we do because the new one is full of lies”. Hmm. I thought back to my recent trip to visit my brother and his family and we played the newest version of the game. It was, in fact, much different from the original and even the 1990’s version I grew up playing. The new one was filled with applicable lawsuits, entitlement tiles and “Share the Wealth” spaces. It really got me thinking, so I did some investigating.

“The Game of Life” has changed entirely since it’s original release.
The 1960’s version was basic, a bit bland but straightforward. You could take a “business” route or a “college” route into the real world. Not much changed in the 1970’s version, but the money values nearly doubled to reflect inflation and the original car model of a convertible was traded in for a minivan. The 1990’s version is where we start to see some solid changes: Rewards for people recycling trash and helping the homeless, stock cards are limited and the there is no longer a “business” route, but a “career” route. College loan debt increases in 2005, and investments become more risky. Finally, the newest version. The ‘Share the Wealth’ cards, the ability to withdraw insurance policy options and the fact that no occupation has “special abilities” anymore, with the exception of the police officer, are among a few of the new aspects of the game.

So, where shall I start?? Inflation, okay, I get it. But when in real life are you rewarded for recycling or helping the homeless?? The game suggests a monetary reward, but all I’ve ever received from recycling is an extra bin to drag to the curb and a pat on the back. Further, “Life” is a game based on American values and the American Dream, which are in turn formed from democracy and capitalism. At what point did the makers of this game think socialistic tendencies and special abilities of a certain profession, A.K.A. a union, fit this criteria? And why would we instill the idea of investments being “bad” into the minds of our children who will one day have to put their own money somewhere?

A seemingly innocent game, one that’s been around forever, but has been secretly evolving. So much so that my brother has cut construction paper out to cover the “Share the Wealth” tiles on the board. So much so that children born in the 2000’s are playing a game from the 60’s, because even though the lifestyle may be dated, the values are correct.

So it seems that the overly analytical, thought-provoking 6 year old is right, once again. “The Game of Life” is full of lies…and not just when applicable to the board game.


4 thoughts on “The Evolution of “Life”

  1. Edward

    Here here. It is good to know that there are some young people thinking for themselves, and willing to question what they see,hear and are told. The blind leading the blind has disastrous consequences, as we are all becoming more aware of each day.

    How much do you get for the “skip school and mindlessly protest with unions” space? And, are the pegs still pink and blue?

  2. Susan

    AGREED! The only thing that I can truly count on is that we instill values and the “truth” at home about what “life” is really about. In fact I found that it IS working a little bit in our household.

    Last week my 11 year old came home and said that the school was collecting money to help the people in Japan. He then stopped and looked at me and said, “WHO is collecting?” I then replied, “Maybe you should ask and find out.”

    As months before his school had requested that all children go around and collect money during Halloween to help UNICEF. We, my husband and I, then had to pull articles and show what this particular organization was “about”.

    I guess the bottom line is when I attended school, it was Big Brother “asked” and my family and I “answered.” I hope and pray that my children will be aware that you can question what is requested and just because it is on a “gameboard” or requested by the “school” doesn’t necessarily mean it is “right”.

  3. Sarah Zibanejadrad

    Since I am not familiar with this new-fangled version, but I have a few questions to see if it adequately fits the new generation we live in.

    1. Can you catch your “husband” pin cheating on you or receive alimony from divorce settlements? (If divorce does apply, can you clean out your plastic SUV of all those pink and blue mini pins? I mean, really, how can you expect to re-marry with all that “baggage”?).

    2. Is there a “take your leisurely time through college, decide to drop out, and wind up living in your parents’ basement track?

    3. Can your plastic pin get plastic surgery?

  4. Pingback: All Board Games Are Bad « The Perspicacious Conservative

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