Games are supposed to be enjoyable, but Monopoly can drive players to feel bad. Even winners might feel like they are sadistic for pushing their friends to bankruptcy and sending them to jail, even if it is not real. The capitalistic nature of the game led to some countries like China and Cuba banning the game, but that has not stopped it from ranking as the top board game of all time. However, not many players know how the game was developed, so we have done some digging and found out the fascinating story behind Monopoly and its logo. Here is your chance to know all about the game's origin and logo evolution.
Monopoly Originated from The Landlord's Game
Monopoly as we know it would not exist without the creation of The Landlord's Game which in turn would be nonexistent without Elizabeth Magie. According to Arts and Culture, millions of people were poverty-stricken in the 1800s while the wealthy controlled most of the land and paid no tax. Henry George, a reformist, wanted to bridge the inequality gap, so he proposed a single land tax. His vision attracted many followers, including Magie's family and her father introduced her to George's principles. The young girl embraced what she had learned and used her love for board games to spread the teachings.
Magie's determination to teach people about inequality led her to create a board game she called "The Landlord's Game." It was a square board with each side having nine rectangular pieces. On the corners, there were four labels: Public Park, Go to Jail, Labor Wages and Coal Taxes. She visited the Single Tax Enclave regularly in 1903 and continued developing the game. In 1904, Magie patented it saying she wanted to demonstrate the system of land grabbing with its outcome and consequences. Magie, therefore, came up with two sets of rules for the monopolist and the anti-monopolist.
She did not give up on her quest, and in 1906 she was quoted by a reporter as having said that she wanted more men and women to know they were poor because Rockefeller and Carnegie had more than what they needed. She collaborated with others who believed in George's philosophies and together they established The Economic Game Company of New York. The company published The Landlord's Game, but in 1924, Magie patented a new version of the game which appeared in 1932. It contained a new set of rules, changes in appearance and a second name, "Prosperity."
The Landlord's Game Changes to Monopoly
Edward J. Dodson uploaded an article on henrygeorge.org in which he details how Magie's game evolved to become Monopoly. According to the article, Scott Nearing worked at the economics department of the University of Pennsylvania. After being introduced to The Landlord's Game, he started advocating for public revenue from those owned land to be increased. Scott's activism against child labor also led him to be fired from the university but not before his students had become passionate about the game.
Students however altered many aspects of the game, including adding the option to auction instead of buying and replacing properties that Magie had first incorporated with their own. As a result, they changed that game's name to "Auction Monopoly." Innovation also led to the spread of the game. Since buying a copy was not an option for the players who were opposed against capitalism, interested parties would copy the game into a piece of cloth. In 1920, the game had changed so much that it barely had any of Magie's concepts any more. Consequently, it became popularly known as "Monopoly."
Commercialization leads to Monopoly Logo Creation
In 1932, Charles Darrow was introduced to Monopoly by his friend Charles Todd. Darrow fell in love with the game, so Todd made him a copy and taught him some of the advanced rules. After a while, Darrow asked Todd to write down the rules and regulations, which he did. With his broke status, having lost his job during the Great Depression, Darrow decided to start selling the game.
In 1933, he got a copyright of his improved edition that entailed wood molding to represent houses, typed property cards and hand-colored boards. Darrow packaged the game in a white necktie box and started selling it locally through Wanamaker's Philadelphia department store. In 1934, he manufactured the game in two editions. He became quite a wealthy man, and the sales attracted the attention of Parker Brothers who purchased the rights in 1935. The brothers paid Magie $500 in exchange for her rights to the Landlord's Game, and to redesign and publish the original game.
The Parker Brothers now had every right to manufacture and sell without legal challenges, hence branding their product was important. According to 1000logos, the Monopoly Logo remain unchanged for 50 years. From 1935 to 1985, the logo was a red rectangle with "MONOPOLY" in black text. It was later changed to have a red rectangle with rounded edges. The text was in white and in the third "o" was the monopoly man sticking out with arms outstretched, the left hand holding cane. The rectangle also had white and red outlines.
This logo was in use until 2008 when it was tweaked a bit; while the red rectangle and white text remained, the rounded edges were removed. Also, the red and white were replaced with a thick black outline. The Monopoly man was in the logo, but outside of the text, behind the rectangle and leaning onto the rectangle with the right hand stretched out in front as if offering to shake hands. Behind the monopoly man, were buildings shaded green and white. In 2013, the buildings in the background were removed, and the shade of the red rectangle was brightened. In 2017, the Monopoly logo went back to the original plain text in the red rectangle. This time the thick black outline was removed, and the red shade darkened while the white text remained unchanged.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
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