Monday, 17 March 2014

Monopoly C64

The board shown, the players ready, the boredom can begin!
It's that family gathering time, when you've got several people around, you've got full stomachs and there nothing on TV that nobody really wants to watch. Then someone, with usually the best intentions, thinks of playing the most dreaded of social activities, the board game. So now you're stuck reading the rules for the first half an hour, those too drunk to play properly will be messing about and trying to shove the playing dice up their nose and everyone else keeps looking at their watches and trying to make an excuse to go home.

And one prick always takes it far too seriously and always somehow has a dictionary on hand to spell all those 2 letter words while another person plays ONLY by their deviant rules. So to celebrate this bullshittery, I'm reviewing Monopoly on C64. You may hate me later, or now, I don't really care either way.

At least the names are accurate for the players.
There's a distinct advantage to having a board game on a computer. You never lose the Old Kent Road down the back of the couch, or find the missing hotel with your bare feet sometime later that week causing you to curse the day that someone decided that injection plastic moulding was a good idea.

You've your usual 6 player maximum in this game, you can also start the short game where several properties are divvied up and given to players while you could also go in for the long haul. Dice rolling takes place first of all to decide who goes first, then the game begins properly with the order ordained by chance itself and it's then a race to buy up stuff and make other people give you their hard(maybe) won money when they accidentally roll a random outcome that lands on your stuff.

Auctions usually are high octane, cash vs thrill, places of excitement. Nobody thought to include that in this game.

Each player starts with £1500 and can move around the board after rolling two die, upon landing on a property they can purchase it if there's enough funds in their account (if they want to) or they can witness it going up for auction with the other players (and themselves included) where the bidding can become really stupid or low level.

If money becomes a problem, they can mortgage their properties and gain cash back from that but they lose the chance to gain rent from their possessions until they pay 110% of the price again. If a player cannot pay off a debt, they go bankrupt and are out of the game.

While moving around the board, players can land on Chance and Community Chest where various events will take place that can either help or hinder the player, or do nothing at all such as the "Pay for repairs on houses" if they own no houses at that point.

Nobody likes Dave enough to give him a nickname.

That's the general gist of the game, the C64 version managed to replicate this rather well. The board is clearly visible at all times, characters and colours of all things can be changed to suit the players however they deem necessary. So if they don't want a black car, they can change it to anything at all, even the colour of the board to just REALLY confuse things. The screen also shows where they are on a zoomed in view of the game while also showing the next 3 spaces so they can see the lay of the land in a closer point. Credit and Assets are easily viewable at all times but pressing the corresponding key to view them, as is for showing who owns what. Collection of rent is optional, as long as someone presses R to collect rent otherwise it's ignored though the AI NEVER forgets to.

It's when the game gets into things like trading and such that the pace of it all slows to a crawl. The menu is slow already on the C64 and moving around and checking things can be time consuming for the human players while AI can make the same offer EVERY SINGLE TURN until they get what they want to have. Usually they'll never settle if someone's going to gain a full set unless you pay roughly double the value so there's little way to trade things or play favourites.

Whoo, people have bought things. Hooray. Why am I putting myself through this?

Likewise the game grinds to a halt when it comes down to avoid bankruptcy and the players are usually too fed up to carry on playing

The game does have snippets of sound, dice rolling makes a noise not too dissimilar to a dice rolling. Train stations sound a little like a steam engine making some noise, being sent to jail (directly to jail, do not pass go) gives you a wonderfully wailing siren noise but no due process for being told of the crime committed and so on. Which doesn't help the game at all, being that it's rather slow in the first place, when it gets bogged down with extra things and issues that aren't helping the flow or pace of the game, it's easy to get fed up with the system and decide that once one person hits the idea of bankruptcy, that it's time to switch off and play something else.

Bitchtit bought a station, I can barely contain myself.

Something fun. Because this is clearly not it. The real shame is that I cannot pick the board up and smack someone over the head with it, and the C64 keyboard combo runs the risk of me actually breaking the machine. So that's not an option.

Board games on computers are usually not a good idea unless it's developed JUST for the computer in the first place or is a play-by-post game. 

The button to switch the whole thing, will never be far from your mind.