The Game of Life Has (and Hasn't) Changed
So this weekend I was sitting around with some friends drinking beers and eating chips or whatever when someone busted out The Game of Life. Remember that Milton Bradley game with the little peg people and the cars and the spinning wheel thingee with the clickity click spinner? I probably haven't played it since I was like 13 years old so I was psyched for a whole flashbacky 'Oh yeahhh... ' situation. Getting familiar again with the pieces and cards and all that.
I actually didn't remember the details or rules of the game. I just had a vague memory of something slightly depressing about the whole game experience. Game of Life wasn't like brainless Sorry or vicious powercrazed Risk or the glorious Stratego. It had some sort of personal crap in there that was always a little weird and went under the skin. But whatever. I remember playing it alot so I was psyched to revisit it. The board pops open and I braced myself for a wave of 'OOOH!! I REMEMBER THIS!' but it didn't happen. The game was all different looking. The cartoony characters all over the board looked all modern. New fonts everywhere. The board looked bigger and more colorful. I was like, 'Oh no! Game of Life is like all... new!'
I guess I expected The Game of Life to be frozen in time like Monopoly but somebody got their hands on this and gave out jobs like 'Computer Consultant' and included expenses on the board like 'Plastic Surgery for $20,000-- or wins like You won the 'Ultimate Idol' contest collect $100,000! Another expense was like, 'Pay to design family website' $50,000! ($50,000?) Stuff like that.
All in all in terms of game play it was alot more random than I remember. Pretty much all luck. And there were these new secret 'Life Experience' cards. Little cardboard tile cards. Basically, if you land on something like, 'Volunteer at an Animal Shelter.' You get one of these cards. Or if you land on, 'Climb Mt. Everest'. You get a Life Card. But you weren't allowed to look at em until the end of the game when you 'retire'. You kept em face down. I was sort of psyched about that. Thru the whole dopey game there were these little secret cards staring at me. I kept wondering what was on the other side. I kept wanting to take a peek but resisted. I thought it was coolio that these things came along when you did some sort of memorable life experience. Like there was a 'message' coming based on experience.
Finally, at the end of the game when it was time to 'retire' I had four of these secret cards (btw I ended up a hairstylist making $30k a year and living in a double-wide RV with not alot of money because I took risky paths and gambled too much etc.). But whatever! Time to look at my secret cards! I flipped one over and frowned. I don't know what I expected of these little Life cards. Maybe some sort of words of wisdom? Fortune cookie style? Or like bonus something or other for collecting 'experience'. But I was disappointed to see that on the other side of these cards were all the same thing. Dollar amounts. Just various dollar amounts... $30k here... $50k there. $10k thar. I didn't help me win the game. Everyone else playing was a friggin millionaire and it was all too little too late. Nothing for experience other than chunks of money? Bleh.
In the end, the only flashback I really got from this revisiting The Game of Life was that same old queasy mixed feeling about what it was all about...
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