An old blog post about how everyone doesn’t play the Monopoly board game according to the official rules has gone viral on the Internet. (I first read about this on the Huffington Post.) We were all taught as children from our parents and friends that when a player lands on an unoccupied square, the player has the option to buy the property from banker at the printed price on the card. If the property isn’t bought, it becomes available for purchase to the next player who lands on the square.
According to the official rules, the banker has to auction the property to the other players if the player chose not to buy it. The purpose of this rule is for the players to complete the property sets to start building houses and hotels, reducing the amount of cash that players are holding—or hoarding—to bring the game to an end sooner rather than later.
I wished I’ve known that rule as a child when my father taught me how to play Monopoly. After spending two to three hours going around the board, someone would win and someone would lose. I seldom won—and left the kitchen table crying in frustration. Not because my father was being cruel (he wasn’t). I just hated the idea of investing so much time into a game that I ultimately lose in the end.
We eventually switched to the Yahtzee dice game, where the shorter rounds made losing more bearable for my father and the probability of the dice rolls made winning more likely for me.
The crying frustration of losing after a long game wasn’t beaten out of me until I became a professional video game tester at Accolade/Infogrames/Atari (same company, different owners, multiple identity crises) for six years. My first assignment was testing a broken build of Test Drive 5 for the Sony PlayStation. Every game ended in a crash after the car cross the finish line. I played ~3,000 races for six long weeks. Race, crash, reset. The daily monotony was soul crushing.
Jonny Nexus, the author of the old blog post, has written a blog post about being part of an Internet viral sensation. A fascinating read about having the international news media bang down your door for pointing out the rules of Monopoly in an obscure corner of the Internet that someone else tweeted about.