Monday, September 1, 2008

Updating Clue

He would make a lovely corpse. ~ Charles Dickens

Is nothing sacred? Hasbro, which purchased Parker Brothers a while back, has decided that the venerable old board game, Clue, needs updating. Mr. Boddy still gets offed at the mansion, but now it's during a posh affair rather than a sedate dinner party. The mansion now has a spa, a theater and a guest house. Presumably, "modern" players wouldn't know what a conservatory and, heaven forbid, a library are.

What's worse is what's been done to the characters. Colonel Mustard is now Jack Mustard, a former football player. Professor Plum is now a video-game designer. No library, no professor: What does that tell us about the opinion "modern" players have about intellectual pursuits? Even the cook has been replaced by a child movie star.

Apparently, "modern" players don't understand that someone who lives in a mansion might have to have hired help.

Even the weapons have changed. Evidently, the lead pipe wasn't eco-friendly, so it's been replaced by a trophy, an ax, and a baseball bat. The "modern audience" likes more variety in its mayhem. Perhaps these new "hip" players are expecting to actually see the murder acted out? I mean, dead is dead. How many different ways do you need to have available to kill the poor guy.

Also, the revolver is now a "pistol", for reasons that are completely unclear to me. I guess the vocabulary of "modern" players has gotten so narrow that "revolver" is too archaic. I'm surprised they didn't just use "gun." Or "9 mm Glock", which everybody who watches CSI would understand.

However, it could have been even worse. Our cracked--er--crack reporting staff here at Gog's Blog (pat. pending) have uncovered a top secret internal Hasbro memo that listed some other ideas that the marketing brains considered but mercifully decided to leave out.

  • If you make an incorrect accusation, the person you accuse could sue you for defamation. On the other hand, you could file a civil suit against the person you falsely accused for "negligent responsibility" in the murder. Discarded because the game would go on for ten years.
  • Set the game in Los Angeles. Discarded because to set the game in the last time period the LA DA actually convicted anyone in a high-profile murder, the weapons would have had to have been a musket, a tomahawk, a rock, a bowie knife, and a bow and arrow.
  • You could take DNA samples of someone you suspected. Discarded because everyone would have to put a blood smear on their character card
  • Give Mr. Boddy a background as a lawyer or a an oil company exec. Discarded nobody would have cared who did it.
  • Discarded alternative weapons: AK-47 (clashes with formal wear), bazooka (won't fit into the female characters' purses), various pharmaceutical products that have "causes occasional death" as a side effect (Hasbro didn't want to get sued).
  • Characters would all have "Facebook" pages. Discarded because idiot murderer would post that they did it with the trophy in the spa on their own page.
  • A new character was going to be added to make up for the loss of the cook: A butler. Discarded because everyone knows the butler did it (sorry).
Personally, I'd have gone with the bazooka thing.

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