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Monopoly Through the Years

August 22nd, 2012 Games

If you like family games, chances are you've played your fair share of Monopoly. The exciting board game has been captivating players for generations, and today there are even online versions to play that offer fun graphics and new twists. Unlike many other games out there, Monopoly has a rich history that goes all the way back to 1934. Here are a few facts and interesting tidbits about the iconic game, from Hasbro itself and IdeaFinder.com.

The start of Monopoly

The best-selling board game was first introduced to the public in 1935 by Parker Brothers. In 1934, during the Great Depression, a man named Charles B. Darrow came up with the idea for the game, playing on an oil cloth on his kitchen table. Believe it or not, when he went to Parker Brothers to see if they would make the game, they rejected it, claiming that it had a whopping 52 design errors. Darrow was undeterred, so he went back to work on the game. Because he was unemployed (like many Americans at the time), he devoted himself to selling the game on his own, recruiting a painter friend to help him.

Darrow was able to sell thousands of handmade board games to a department store in Philadelphia, but pretty soon the game became so popular that he couldn't keep up with the orders. He went back to Parker Brothers and they finally decided to make the game on a larger scale.

Rising prices

Many of the key principles of Monopoly are still found in the American economy, such as buying and renting properties and paying utilities. What has changed are the rising prices and inflation that has occurred since 1934. Since Monopoly was first invented, the game has never taken inflation into account. Every player starts out with two $500 bills, two $100 bills, two $50 bills, five $20 bills, five $10 bills, 10 $5 bills and 10 $1 bills - equaling $1510. According to USInflationCalculator.com, that would be $25,859.09 today.

Other things to take into consideration are the taxes that the game incorporates. For example, in Monopoly the income tax is 10 percent of your total income, but according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a family of four with a middle income would only pay 5.6 percent. When playing Monopoly, you can opt to pay $200 rather than the 10 percent income tax, but today you'd pay much more due to inflation.

Other changes

Monopoly has created a formula for success and the game has remained unaltered since its original inception. The only influences that modern America has had on the game are slight variations that have to do with pop culture. For example, there's now a Boston Red Sox edition, an Elvis edition, an NHL edition and even a SpongeBob edition.

Each variation of the game has the same rules and format, just different names for things. For example, in the SpongeBob Monopoly game, you get Treasure Chest cards and Life Preserver cards rather than Chance and Community Chest cards. Instead of playing as a metal figurine of a thimble, warship or dog, you can be the characters SpongeBob, Patrick, Sandy or Mr. Krabs.

Fun facts

• According to Hasbro, 500 million people are estimated to have played Monopoly.
• The longest game of Monopoly ever played lasted for 70 days straight.
• Rich Uncle Pennybags was the name of the original mascot. He was renamed Mr. Monopoly in 1998.• The yellow property called Marvin Gardens is actually spelled wrong. It should be Marven Gardens, and Parker Brothers apologized for the error in 1995.
• The three most-landed-on squares are Illinois Avenue, "GO" and the B&O Railroad.
• St. Charles Place is the only property that doesn't exist in modern times.