Fancy a Game of Life?

One of the things that is definite about modern life is that if you create something that captures the public’s imagination, the remakes, spin offs and franchises will fund you well into your retirement. For some reason, unbeknown to me, the American audiences are unable to watch the original British version of something; they need it to be remade especially for them. Do they not know how much we lived off American sitcoms as teenagers? Watching the new series of Friends was such a ritual – it was played on Sky a month or so earlier than it was on Channel 4. I clearly remember that Hannah’s next door neighbours had Sky, so they would record it onto a video for Hannah and then we would all borrow it after her. Sure, there were some jokes that we wouldn’t fully appreciate because they mentioned places in America that we may not know, but it was all about watching people from a different culture. We were able to believe that six friends could live this affluent lifestyle and do nothing but drink coffee in America. Had it been in England, we may not have believed it. Anyhow, many tv shows have been remade: The Office, Teachers, Life on Mars and very nearly, Spaced.

Some of our best loved stories have been remade for film; I ask you, how many more remakes of Sherlock Holmes do we need? It has nearly caught up with Robin Hood now. We saw how mad Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes (nee Stevenson) got when they thought their beloved baby was being pilfered from under their noses, so think how old Shakespeare must feel. His plots have been used from here to Kingdom come in stories, plays, films and songs; Westside Story and Ten Things I Hate about You to name but two. Of course, Shakespeare didn’t have the ideas first; he nicked them off some other bugger first. Stealing and “redefining” stuff is a great part of our culture; it always has been and it always will be.

Bearing this in mind, I started to think about our childhood games. They modernized Austen’s Emma into Clueless to appeal to the kids, Pride and Prejudice became Bridget Jones Diary, so why can’t we rework our board games? Think about it logically. Cluedo was quite ahead of it’s time in some ways; it had respected members of society accused of murder. I’m not sure that there are many games designed today that would accuse a Reverend of murder. There are other parts of the game that need modernizing though. Have you ever met or read about anyone who has suffered from the menace of the candlestick? Perhaps Chloroform would be a better substitution? Although I’m not quite sure how they would represent that in miniaturized form.

I plan radical changes to the Monopoly set. Instead of collecting all four train stations, perhaps you could buy a parking slot for your bike at each station? Then we could scrap the income tax and replace it with the Congestion Charge. Another thing that would have to be introduced was Community Service; in this day and age, you never get arrested and sent straight to prison, you always get the choice of community service. So, perhaps instead of going to jail, you can miss two goes whilst completing your community service? I think we should scrap the old fashioned ideas like winning a crossword or a beauty contest and replace them with things like “you got through to the second round on X Factor” or “you’ve won Big Brother, lose a life (if you have one) and win £500.” The negative cards could include “you had far too much to drink last night and had your bag stolen last night. Cancel your credit cards, report it to your mobile phone provider and lose £150.” We could compromise with “You have bought a new iPad. Go forward three steps, but lose £300.” Another of my favourites would be “You made the mistake of trying to go down Oxford Street during the Christmas rush, miss a turn”, perhaps followed swiftly by “You were cautioned by a Community Police Officer for aggressive pedestrian activity, pay a fine of £100.”

The Game of Life is another game in drastic need of modernisation. For a start, you could introduce the growth of polytechnics and further education colleges. When you get the choice of which way to go, you could then discover that you thought your university was reputable, but now they are running out of money and have closed your department down; miss two goes whilst you protest and then take a lower paid job at the end. This could carry on with things like “you forget to register your baby for school before it is born, watch it plummet down the social spectrum. You don’t miss a go, but will have a guilt ridden life.”

I get very upset when the things that I love get remade, but I think that board games could be so much more fun this way. Imagine your eight year old son proudly telling you that the murderer was the Reverend with the Cloroform in the loft extension. It would make life so much more entertaining. I’m all for this idea; who is with me? Together we can bring the big companies down and create Tomorr-opoly or Not Got a Fucking Clue-do. Happy days.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Grace
    Aug 01, 2010 @ 02:55:17

    Bill Bryson told me (ok not personally but…) that there is no American equivalent of the British phrase “taking the piss” (in Notes from a Small Country), and that the UK form of humour which relies an awful lot on “taking the piss” is pretty alien to them.
    I do agree though. Instead of just remaking the shows into American versions (I think you missed off the Red Dwarf remake on your list) how about they get exposed to a little about UK humour instead? Who knows… they might like it 🙂

    Reply

    • sillybry
      Aug 01, 2010 @ 08:14:06

      Exactly. I think that Americans think that British comedy is Monty Python and that’s it. Let’s sit them down and make them watch lots of stuff.
      I don’t think that its the actual people (they can’t be so sheltered that they only watch their own stuff surely?) I think it’s the meejia execs, who won’t take the risk and aren’t brave enough to run stuff that might not be a huge hit.

      Reply

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