A British version of the classic Monopoly board game released this week substitutes a debit card for the stacks of yellow, blue and purple play money long hoarded by children worldwide."We started looking at what Monopoly would look like if we designed it today," said Chris Weatherhead, a Britain-based spokesman for Hasbro Inc., which makes the bestselling board game. "We noticed consumers are using debit cards, carrying around cash a lot less."
British players might not be the only ones switching to plastic. Officials at Pawtucket-based Hasbro say they're considering a similar change for American versions.
First offered in 1935, Monopoly offered players a form of financial escapism during the Great Depression. Players become pretend real estate magnates who compete for fictitious property named after real places in Atlantic City, N.J. A British version released that same year featured London neighbourhoods.
In the new British version of Monopoly Here & Now, players type amounts into a palm-sized scanner and swipe their debit cards to seal the deal.
While the change may startle some Monopoly fans, the game has been revised several times before. Consumers can now buy Monopoly editions inspired by the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings movies, or even a version featuring SpongeBob SquarePants, an animated TV character.