The good news is that you’ll still collect $200 every time you pass go. The bad news is your token won’t be an iron. By now everyone knows Hasbro, the makers of the 80-year-old board game Monopoly, replaced the iron with a cat after a month-long vote by fans. The iron is one of the original tokens players could use to navigate their way around Marvin Gardens, Reading Railroad, and other properties players tried to obtain and build their real estate empires.
Monopoly isn’t the only cultural icon to change in our lifetimes, however. games, foods, and television shows come and go throughout our lives. There are some that were so awful we hope to never think of them again, while other simply require a subtle reminder.
Heinz EZ Squirt Purple, Blue and Green Ketchup
Some people like to dip their french fries in mayonnaise, but most prefer the tomato-and-sugar compound known as ketchup (or catsup). Heinz came up with the “brilliant” idea of adding a little color to the condiment in October of 2000, when they unveiled green, purple and orange varieties of ketchup. Blue was added to the lineup in 2003. It’s unclear as to exactly why Heinz decided to discontinue the colorful cousins of catsup in 2006, but the fact they looked repulsive may have been an issue.
The Cassette Tape
There is a great photograph out there in web world that shows a cassette tape and a pencil with the caption, “only Generation X understands this.” Phillips, a Dutch electronics company, is commonly credited with the creation of magnetic tape cartridges (cassettes) in 1962, which helped make the Sony Walkman iconic 20 years later. The Buggles once sang “Video Killed The Radio Star.” The compact disc basically killed the cassette by 2001, when music companies stopped using them altogether.
The Magic Hour
Magic Johnson won five NBA Championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, an Olympic Gold Metal with Team USA in 1992, and is now a very successful businessman in his post-basketball life. The part of Magic’s life many of us forget (which Magic probably appreciates) is his failed nationally-syndicated talk show. The Magic Hour, which lasted only eight weeks through the summer of 1998, was best known for the Howard Stern episode when the shock jock made several uncouth remarks about Johnson’s sex life with his wife. Of course, Johnson retired from the NBA in November of 1991 when he was diagnosed with the HIV virus.
While we’re on the subject of property-trading board games, who can forget the “hood version” of Monopoly. Ghettopoly, created by Taiwanese game designer David Chang, was released in 2003 and pulled from the shelves of Urban Outfitters soon after. The box featured a “thug” carrying a 40-ounce bottle of beer and sporting gold teeth that would make US Money Reserve proud. The game allowed players to buy stolen property, pimp hoes, and build crack houses. Ghettopoly was widely condemned by clergy and the NAACP. Hasbro sued Chang a few months after the game was released for copyright infringements. Chang ended up being charged with contempt of court and ordered to surrender half of all profits he made from the game to Hasbro.
Author George Schmidt
A retired movie critic, now George can just sit back and enjoy the movie, without worrying if it’ll be worth his readers’ money.