Yesterday I was stranded for an hour in the Hollywood Fred Meyer's waiting to get a prescription filled for old man medicine. Or that's what I should have been waiting for because apparently being in a Fred Meyer's for extended periods of time turns me into a grumpy, old misanthrope who sees every product as a personal insult lodged at him from a culture he feels increasingly out of touch with ("There's high fructose corn syrup in Campbell's soup?!" "You're selling animal-shaped pillows at every check stand for $20?!" "Grumble grumble kids these days -" *has unnecessary aneurysm*).
My wandering animosity tour led me to the board game aisle where I was greeted by a host of games I didn't recognize. This is, in part, because many of the games were just ugly revamps of classics that have been tarted up for the next generation of consumers. But beside these were new games that I feel I have to rant about here. If I don't speak out against stupid board games who will?
First I noticed Gassy Gus. The premise of this game is nightmarish even leaving aside all the icky things it makes me feel about modern America. I don't know why but these children are force-feeding this man (their father?) high-cholesterol foods and hoping he'll fart. Look at the evil expressions on these kid's faces! What the fuck is wrong with them? Judging by his rapidly expanding gut Gus clearly has a dangerous relationship with food already. Is it really worth risking his health just to hear him fart? Maybe this TV commercial will clear up my confusion and disgust.
Look at this shit: Monopoly: Electronic Banking Edition. I admit I've never played this game so maybe I'm being alarmist. Maybe Monopoly: Electronic Banking Edition teaches children about debit card responsibility but I'm going to take a guess that by removing physical money from the game this iteration of Monopoly just makes commerce seem more abstract. We already have millions of adults that think of the cards in their wallets as magical money generators; do we really need kids being taught that paying with a debit card is somehow more awesome? I dunno, maybe expecting any lessons in fiscal responsibility from a board game where the object is to bankrupt everyone else is a wrong-headed exercise. Can I at least get pissed off that they replaced two of the metal playing pieces with a branded Segway scooter and a tin of fucking Altoids? OK good, thanks.
Sticking with my "Won't somebody think of the children?!" tack, here's the sequel to a game called Battle of the Sexes. Battle of the Sexes confirms what every first-grader suspects: males and females are NOT equal. No, they're in a competition and if you're a REAL man/woman you will join the battle by flaunting your superior knowledge of trivia that falls within wildly reductionistic gender roles. "An outrageous & hormonally charged battle," trumpets the box, "Where the name of the game is to ultimately decide which is the superior sex, male or female?" The box cover alone speaks volumes with our man being backed by a sports car, power drill, pint of beer, football helmet and poker chips while our lady stands before a VW Bug, martini, cupcake and huge-ass diamond. But let's have a sampling of what trivia you should know if you're a man anyway...
In boxing what is a TKO?
What do you cut with a hacksaw?
In a gambling casino, what's a whale?
What's the average bra size?
What does a pink ribbon stand for?
What fruit removes under-eye puffiness?
Turning away from Battle of the Sexes in disgust I found myself face-to-box with this:
Alright world, you win! TKO! (That means "total knockout", ladies). I will never go into the board game aisle again. When I have children they will only be allowed to play with my Chutes & Ladders and creased deck of Guess Who? cards. Grumble grumble grumble - *has heart attack, is buried in unmarked grave by fun-deprived offspring*