I loved board games as a child.
We had a small selection at home – Cluedo, Monopoly, something with a Haunted House that I can’t remember the name of, Trivial Pursuit, the normal lot.
There was another Game. The Game of Life. It was an exciting board game, full of little cards and spinning bits and complex yet miniscule plastic pieces that you could fit three of in any one nostril at any one time. Most importantly, it was a game that family friends had – more monied, more careful, more unlikely to put things up their nose friends – but we didn’t. Thus it was the most exciting game ON THE PLANET.
For those unfortunate not to have played it, the game can be summed up to have been one of those that did exactly, quite literally, what they said on the box. It was a game that mapped out, for the curious seven-year-old, exactly what their lives were going to be like.
You played a little plastic character who sat in a little plastic car, and you chose whether you went to college or just started a career, and then you got married because you had to and then you bought a house because you had to and then you advanced in whatever career you ended up in and sometimes paid mortgage repayments and sometimes popped out a child and sometimes paid bills and sometimes GOT paid, which was very exciting.
And then you carried on and carried on, and it was all very much much of the same, and then when you got to the end, you died. And the winner was the person who had made the most money overall. And let’s not talk about how depressing I find all of this, shall we?
So I’m thinking about this because last week, while cleaning out under their desk, someone presented me with a board game based on this very classic.
It’s called Game of Life: BECOME A TOP AD EXEC!.
And the basic theory is the same, but instead of deciding between lots of varied and interesting career fields, you get to work in advertising. You only get to work in advertising.
And on the back, next to where all the fun descriptions are:
“Rise to the top of the fast-paced world of advertising with your witty slogans and clever branding techniques!!!
Astound your friends with your ability to produce contemporaneous huge industry kudos and shocking public condemnation!!!”
they have placed a handy glossary:
“What is branding?
What is pitching?
What is the point of advertising in a world so constantly bombarded with marketing messages that even the most audience directed campaigns bounce off the intended consumer like tic-tacs off a ducks donk?”
So as far as I can tell this is a game remarkably similar to the original, classic version, except you don’t get a choice whether you want to go to college, or start in one particular field or another, because you have to work in advertising. You HAVE to.
And it’s funny, because this educational game has been in our living room for almost a week now, and we haven’t actually got around to playing it yet.
Yet it’s sitting there, staring at me – “Game of Life: BE AN AD EXEC!” it’s telling me in half formed words and pirimary coloured capitals – and I have the feeling I’m going to open it up and be very disappointed.
It’s probably not going to start wih a square that reads
Careers advice indicates you have a talent for misleading the general populace and enthusing about consumer produce! Congratulations! You’re going to work in advertising!
I think I’m going to be disappointed for a start because the squares aren’t going to be anywhere near big enough, to be honest. Let alone as brutal.
I mean, I want a square that says
You share some cocaine with the boss in the toilets at the christmas party – move forward three spaces and do a dance – maybe some voguing
and one that says
You decide that blatently redubbing a european advert into English order to save money is an actual, usable, non-laughable proposition – move back 4 squares and beat yourself around the head..
And one that says:
You have disappeared up your own bottom, move back to the bottom-feeder square. Do not pass go, do not collect your ridiculous monthly bonus
I think there are possibilities for this game. I think we could create an entirely new version, a realistic version, and then I should send it to someone as some kind of prize. But I don’t think I’ll be able to do it all myself. I think I will need help.
“Disaster! Someone sues your agency, claiming that there is no such thing as ‘hairsperts’! Move back two squares and hang your shiny head in shame”
I think more than anything in the world, I want the last square to say:
“Congratulations! You spontaneously decide not to work in advertising anymore!”
And then you would have finished, and the winner would be the person who’d managed to retain the most self-respect.