As a lover of boardgames as a child and far too infrequent player as an adult, Monopoly has always been a favorite of mine. Reportedly, the game I knew so well as a youngster is getting another update and will now feature a new token (a “game piece”) in form of a cat.
Since Parker Brothers’ purchased the game in 1935 from the original designer, the actual game has changed very little despite the development of commemorative, deluxe, and digital versions.
So, why is the cat now going to be featured in the game? Jonathan Berkowitz, vice president for Hasbro gaming marketing indicated that the update is intended to keep the game relevant with today’s consumer. Berkowitz states, "Tokens are always a key part of the Monopoly game ... and our fans are very passionate about their tokens, about which token they use while they play." "Additionally, we put five new tokens out for our fans to vote on and there were a lot of fans of the many different tokens, but I think there were a lot of cat lovers in the world that reached out and voted for the cat to be the new token for Monopoly."
In keeping up with the times, Hasbro engaged their over 10 million Facebook page followers, who posted their preference as part of the Save Your Token Campaign.
The race was hotly contested between the cat, diamond ring, guitar, helicopter, iron, robot shoe, and wheelbarrow. Ultimately, voters voicing their opinion from 120 countries wanted out with the iron and in with the cat.
Up until the introduction of the cat, the previous pieces included the battleship, iron, racecar, Scottish terrier (Scottie), shoe, thimble, top hat, and wheelbarrow. Most of the pieces have been around since 1935, but the Scottie and wheelbarrow were added in the early 1950s.
I can understand why the cat was chosen over the iron, as according to American Pet Products Association 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey:
There are approximately 86.4 million owned cats in the United States.
Thirty-three percent of U.S. households own at least one cat.
Fifty-two percent of owners own more than one cat.
On average, owners have two cats
Do I feel badly that the iron will no longer be part of the game? No. I loathe ironing. As a middle school student, my mother made me iron my vast collection of short sleeve, button-down, Hawaiian-print shirts seemingly appealing to my high-fashion sense. Fortunately, that personal trend is in my past and I'm now a fan of a sharp-looking, solid-colored polo shirts.
Additionally, perhaps the iron is too reminiscent of years gone by when women’s role in society were more based on being homemakers and had not yet evolved to the current capacity of being an integral presence in the workforce.
These days, there may even be some communities that don't visually recognize the iron. Especially in urban areas, space for washing and drying machines is scarce, so dry cleaning is highly utilized and negates the need for an iron.
Regardless of what tokens are used for Monopoly and people’s preferences for the pieces' likeness, I speculate that the game’s popularity will continue for generations to come.
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Copyright of this article (2013) is owned by Dr Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr Patrick Mahaney and received in written format.