There’s an old greedy knickerbocker for you.
PLAYERS: 1-10 alternating
GENRE: Board game
RELEASE DATE: 09/1988 – (US), 1988 – (EU)
America’s favorite board game of wealth, greed, and political imprisonment comes to the Master System. Want to build stacks of houses on Baltic Avenue? Only your limited bank account is stopping you. Aching to pass ‘Go’ and collect two hundred dollars? Only if your ass hasn’t been ordered to jail for tax fraud. Monopoly in its entirety has been represented here. If you don’t own the board game and are fiendin’ to manage the hell out of some properties, the game might be for you. As for the rest of us, well, it’s a way to pass the time.
“What’s that, boy? You want to be controlled by the computer?”
“It goes like this: bankruptcy.” This is an actual quote from the Monopoly manual. What the manual writers were trying to say: buy property, build houses/hotels, charge people a mint if they land on your property, don’t go broke, outlast the rest of your fellow real estate investors. Then hey, you win! If you’ve ever played the board game, you know what Master System Monopoly is about. You pick a weird token to represent you – a floppy detective hat, a child’s toy train, a Scottish Terrier – then roll the dice. Most of the areas on the board are properties you can invest in. Land there and you have the opportunity to buy the property and expand with additional houses and hotels. Or you can do nothing and pass the dice to the next player, you cheapskate. Other spaces on the board include Jail, Luxury Tax, Community Chests, and ‘Go!’ If you don’t know what these spaces mean and you’re actually interested, feel free to peruse “Monopoly”‘s Wikipedia page.
Oh, the places you’ll go.
The more players join in the virtual soirée, the more entertaining Monopoly is. This particular version of Monopoly supports up to ten players, which is stunning because only select versions of the regular board game even support eight players. If you’re going to play Monopoly, find nine additional people. The game might go on forever and you’ll have to pass the two controllers around ad infinitum, but at least you can say you successfully made nine people play Master System Monopoly with you. Be careful, though: if you make one mistake while setting up a large game, you’ll be sent back to the main menu and forced to start the process all over again.
Why pay off your mortgage? You’re a hat!
A couple additional points of interest: if you find the game is taking too long, you can save and come back to it later. Yes, Monopoly has battery backup, which goes to show how deeply committed Nexa was to its creation. After you roll the dice, the game switches to a brief cinematic that shows the game token traveling to its final destination. Watching the tokens flit about the board seems like it would grow wearisome after awhile, but it’s surprisingly entertaining, even after you’ve seen the stupid iron hover around for the fiftieth time. Where will they land? Only the invisible hand of the computer knows!
All aboard Reading Railroad, where shirts are never wrinkled and everyone gets a book.
According to Segaretro.org, Monopoly was the first Master System game developed in the US “in an attempt to capture the mood of the American public.” There are no citations for this explanation, but if Sega was thinking Monopoly would turn the hearts of American children away from the NES, they were sorely mistaken. Worse still (and again, according to Segaretro), Monopoly took six months to develop. Nexa, the uncredited developers, were sent in to help “save” the project around the three month mark. All this for a board game video game! The 80s truly were a different era.