Hasbro thinks women aren’t worth the Risk

The game company is subtly discouraging women from buying Risk with an ad campaign featuring images like

risk1

God, I hope not.

Now I have no doubt that the overwhelming majority of people who play one of my all-time least-favorite board games are — biologically speaking — guys. However up until this point the marketing to guys was more implied than overt. That was a good thing for a couple of reasons. 1) It allowed boys some chance of getting their sisters to play. 2) It didn’t discourage 50% of the population from buying the damn thing.

Anyone who thinks I am reading to much into the “Man Up” campaign should attempt to play the online version “Risk Factor.” It features things like

risk3

Oh, no. You are NOT talking about MY mama, are you?

Furthermore, if you sign up to play and do not give a nickname one is assigned to you. But not all nicknames are acceptable as was pointed out in the splendid blog Sociological Images:

I tried a series of names: “Fred”, “Thomas” and “Patrick” went through fine, but if I tried “Melissa” “Jessica” or “Natasha”, the system wouldn’t accept them, and I was told to “Keep it clean, please.”

If you don’t choose a nickname yourself, the system will assign you one. I suppose they are meant to be humiliating names: I got “Bubbles”, “Cupcake”, “Jelly belly”, “Violet” and “Daisy”.

The game platform is a floating island, full of clickable objects. Among them: a facial hair selector, a chainsaw, a TV which exclusively plays footage of girls dancing in a club, a giant finger to pull (which emits gas), etc.

Doubtless Hasbro would defend this all as being meant in “good fun” and bring out the “humorless political correctness” defense. To which I would point out that A) humor is supposed to be funny and; B) The campaign doesn’t work because it’s nothing but tired cliches (which is itself a tired cliche). Hasbro could easily played both sides of the gender fence (and gotten a laugh or two) by using the idea of a tough guy named Bubbles. (And the truly tough frequently do have names like that. When you are tough enough your name is always the same: Respect.)

How about “Are you going to let someone named Sunflower Rainbow kick your ass all the way to Irktusk?” That was you appeal to both the Sunflower Rainbows and Richard Steels of the world.

I think it only fair to note that not playing Risk has been seen as a cause of military blunders. As Prof. Eddie Izzard notes: “In the ’30s, Hitler: Czechoslovakia, Poland, France, Second World War… Russian front not a good idea… Hitler never played Risk when he was a kid. Cause, you know, playing Risk, you could never hold on to Asia. That Asian-Eastern European area, you could never hold it, could you? Seven extra men at the beginning of every go, but you couldn’t fucking hold it.

Sadly, Prof. Izzard’s theory was discredited when it was discovered that George W. Bush had played Risk.

A big thanks to Mrs. CollateralDamage for pointing this out.!

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Headline of the day: SpongeBob Squarepants Digital Camera Is Neither Square-Shaped Nor Made Of Sponges

What more do you need to know?

spongebob

UPDATE: This camera neither says Hello nor is it a Kitty, however it does take pictures with 5 megapixels worth of data:

HKCamera

Not very pretty in pink: Monopoly for girls

There are about a trillion different editions of Monopoly out there all of which appeal to different segments of the population. For ironists there is the Dot Com edition (yeah, I got it). CollateralDamage Jr. owns something like three different Star Wars editions (one of which is a really cool design with place on the board to hold the deeds until you buy them). Apparently the one segment not yet targeted is actually 51% of the population. Thus Monopoly in pink. Ugliest edition ever? You decide. I just hope they gave Mr. Moneybags some gender re-assignment surgery. Hey Hasbro, how about just releasing the Hello Kitty edition here in the US?

pinkmonopoly

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And the worst commercial real estate in the US is…

Texas Stadium in Dallas and Jacobs Field in Cleveland. That’s according to Hasbro, which placed those two properties where the ultra-low rent Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues used to be, on its just-released Monopoly: Here & Now Edition. The company said the new edition “was designed to answer the question: “What would the most popular board game of all time look like if it were invented today instead of in 1935?” (Well, actually, it was designed to answer the ever-popular question: How do we move more units? But never mind that.) Top spots on the board go to New York’s Times Square, which takes the place of Boardwalk. Coming in second to New York yet again: Boston’s Fenway Park, which is Park Place. And not only have the properties been revamped but so have the tokens: the race car is a Toyota Prius, the old shoe is New Balance running shoe, and “the hip labradoodle takes the place of the Scottish terrier,” they tell us. The game tokens also include McDonald’s French Fries, a Motorola RAZR cell phone, and a generic airplane and laptop computer—which means none of the airlines or computer-makers would cough up a fee for naming rights. Cheap, cheap, cheap.

(FYI: This was originally written for a Brandweek newsletter. You should really check out Brandweek.com, I DO!)

Proof of the triumph of electronic currency & other game news

Friday’s Etc.

Hasbro learns why you should always pay your copy editors well

Hasbro is releasing a new edition of Monopoly, this one featuring game boards based on 22 different U.S. cities. (Why 22?) One problem: the Minneapolis edition includes two properties which are how do you say … not in Minneapolis. Those would be the Mall of America and Summit Avenue. In addition to that, the company's website which is supposed to show the "famous" (by Minnesota standards, anyway) Stone Arch Bridge actually shows a picture of the 10th Ave. bridge, which apparently is far less well known. At the website people can vote on which attractions they would like included in their city's set. Leading the vote for the Big M? The Mall of America. What exactly does this tell us about Minneapolins?