Monoply: Socialism Twitter thread

edited in General
Here's the start of a twitter thread deploring the game Monopoly: Socialism by Hasbro (thanks @mattbenic for sharing) which I think is worth a read to see how misunderstood (or subverted) topics can be implemented in games.
Thanked by 1mattbenic


  • edited
    My feeling is that games (as art) have even less obligation to avoid offense than the example you gave (that of displaying an apartheid flag). Games are consumed voluntarily, whereas displaying a flag is likely going to be seen by folks involuntarily.

    Though I think there's an argument that virtual spaces are public spaces, and awareness of the existence of the Monopoly: Socialism game is just as unavoidable as awareness that one's neighbor is waving an apartheid flag.

    I also think that while waving an apartheid flag does prove you're an arsehole, the reason why it's illegal isn't that it causes offense. The reason why it's illegal is we don't want an abhorrent philosophy that caused so much damage to be able to advertise itself.

    In terms of censorship it's obviously a free speech issue. Hasbro is allowed to peddle its (in my opinion bizarrely inaccurate) satire on Socialism. Just as the original creator of Monopoly was allowed to peddle her (in my opinion much better) satire of Capitalism.

    Obviously as soon as we say that Hasbro is obligated in some way to not release a satire on Socialism where the satire offends us then we're also obliged not to make satirical art about the rise of Neo Nazis or the lack of action on solving Climate Change, because those messages may offend someone else.

    We can say that the game is pretty bad, and we could argue it goes a bit beyond poor taste and into the territory of deliberately misinforming. If Socialism was a person then maybe it could sue for libel (but it would probably lose the case).

    But even if we claim the game contains cynically motivated misinformation, and even if we argued that people are forced to engage with it, isn't cynically motivated misinformation simply what a joke is most of the time? This time the joke is directed at people with progressive views, so we don't find it funny. If the game was an over-the-top takedown of Capitalism the author of that twitter thread might be championing the game despite whatever exaggerations and inaccuracies.

    I tell jokes all the time that distort the truth and make the ideas and people who I think harm the world look bad. Most of the time all the people who hear my jokes find the jokes funny, but sometimes not. Genital Jousting upset some people because it had a positive portrayal of gay sex in it, for instance.

    All of that said, pointing out how a piece of art seems disagreeable and bad to you is the correct response when a piece of art seems disagreeable and bad to you.
  • What a great response. I wish I hadn't deleted my question now but it was stressing me out that it might cause a shit-show.
Sign In or Register to comment.