As Tone Deaf reported this morning, this week saw the release of the first-ever official Melbourne Monopoly game. A twist on the beloved board game classic, Melbourne Monopoly replaces the famous locations of the original game with Melbourne landmarks.
Well, at least that’s what it’s supposed to do. Instead, the game has prompted many raised eyebrows, drawing criticism for essentially being a mix of tourist locations, corporate plugs, and locations that aren’t even in Melbourne.
The game’s iconic destinations, such as Old Kent Road and Mayfair, have been replaced by Melbourne tourist spots such as the Queen Victoria Market and Shrine of Remembrance, but also Bells Beach, which is located 100km removed from Melbourne.
A straw poll conducted by Fairfax gave the board game a thumbs down, saying it was too touristy, with no streets and far too much business placement, as well as including far too many locations that aren’t actually in Melbourne.
What most perturbed us, however, is the fact that the makers completely omitted any music venues. Whilst it did feature spots like Rod Laver Arena, known for hosting music, no purpose-built music venues were included.
It’s particularly troublesome considering how important music is to the fabric of Melbourne, which was this year included in an audit of the world’s best music cities conducted by the IFPI and Music Canada.
However, according to James Young, owner and booker of much-loved Melbourne venue Cherry Bar, there could be a good reason why any music venues were left off the Melbourne edition of Monopoly. Fittingly, it has to do with money.
“In June this year I was approached by a guy from Winning Moves in Sydney who was super keen to include AC/DC Lane in the Melbourne edition of Monopoly,” Young told Tone Deaf. Cherry Bar is located on AC/DC Lane in Melbourne CBD.
“I sent him some pics of the Lane and he was gushing with excitement to include AC/DC Lane, but then he dropped the fact that we [Cherry Bar in AC/DC Lane] could be included for $15,000, paid in three easy $5,000 instalments.”“Obviously, my response was ‘How does get fucked sound?'”
“Obviously, my response was ‘How does get fucked sound?’ I mean Melbourne’s Monopoly should reflect the ‘hero streets’ of Melbourne and not streets and attractions that have effectively bribed their way onto the board.”
“It was so shonky to me that I wrote to Hasbro believing it was a fraudulent scam that they should be aware of. To my surprise, Hasbro wrote back to me confirming, ‘Winning Moves are the current licensees for regional Monopoly games, part of their process is to seek sponsorship.'”
“Who knew? I mean do you think in the original Monopoly, Trafalgar Square or King’s Cross Station paid to be included? I think this really goes to the integrity or lack thereof in Hasbro’s Melbourne Monopoly. I look at the Melbourne edition and have to ask myself, ‘I wonder who paid for that spot, and how much?'”
Indeed, one of the many points of contention with the game was the inclusion of retail spots like Emporium, a very recent addition to the CBD, as well as several advertisements within the game (you can be charged tax by ITP).
This isn’t Young’s first interaction with the people behind Monopoly. “Pleasingly, AC/DC Lane was included in the plum Mayfair position on the brilliant AC/DC Monopoly game with no correspondence or payments made,” he said.
“It was included because it naturally deserved to be there, just as it should have been in the Melbourne edition, given Melbourne’s catch-cry is ‘our unique Laneway Culture’.” As far as Young is concerned, we’ve all been taken for a ride.
“The wider public has been duped,” he said. “They don’t know that for Melbourne Monopoly it’s an offensive case of ‘cash for inclusion’. In my not so humble opinion, no spots should be paid for and the ‘board’ should best represent the most important streets of Melbourne based on merit alone.”
And what spots does Young thing should’ve been included? “AC/DC Lane and Hosier Lane should have been included, but not as Mayfair and Park Lane. We should have been the cheap Old Kent Road and White Chapel Road spots; keeping it real!”
“I was told that Movida in Hosier Lane had been approached and were expressing keen interest,” Young claimed, “but in retrospect I don’t believe a word that came out of that salesman’s mouth.” Indeed, Hosier Lane is featured on the board, with Movida prominently displayed.
Melbourne Monopoly Board via Imgur