MONOPOLY should be a semester-long class in every high school across the country, mandated by the government that all students attend and pass before graduation. Where else are you going to so quickly learn the importance of choosing a career you love? Perhaps you want to become a butler and/or a rapper? Maybe a pet groomer? An auto mechanic? A seamstress?
Either way, MONOPOLY makes you think about it, since before the game players pick which piece they'll be, basically choosing a career path most in-line with their passions. (Unfortunately for me the game's makers had no way to symbolize "mediocre Internet writer" in 1935.) The game is, from start to finish, the most applicable-to-life board game ever created.
And to celebrate MONOPOLY's 80th anniversary, below, all eight current pieces.
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The newest addition to the bunch, Cat was born in February 2013, replacing the dearly departed Iron. Hairless, Cat slightly resembles Austin Powers' Mr. Bigglesworth, looks partially possessed, and was likely voted in due to the resurgence of feline housemate fervor thanks to the Internet. Scram, Cat.
Wheelbarrow should count its lucky stars that Cat is here. Introduced in the 1950s, the 'barrow was brought on board to symbolize hard work across farmland, and I guess for kids transporting tools in their sandbox. Well that failed. The wheelbarrow NEVER rests in place; it slumps over too often which, in turn, symbolizes total plow breakdown and negligence. Unless maybe you subscribe to this incredible dating service, I can't imagine under what circumstance a person would want to be Wheelbarrow.
6. Scottie dog
This is not a knock against dogs. (Cat's No. 8 rank is, absolutely, a knock against cats.) Dogs are all that matter. But MONOPOLY's Scotty D is too arrogant, too un-cuddly. And get real: no family who owned a Scottish Terrier were ever that friendly. They always owned two who were horribly behaved. On the board, the damn thing never stands up straight. Breathe wrong on the board and he falls over. No stamina, in other words. Scottie is a last-resort.
For what it's worth: Scottie received 29% of the vote two years ago, the highest of any piece to stay. I do not care.
Thing is, does this really look like a battleship to you? Maybe I don't know my Navy, but this screams steamship to me. No? Battleship's been around forever, and it was actually part of a few other Parker Brothers games before being absorbed into MONOPOLY. Guys, I think you should have let Battleship sink with the other games. What, so that thing on front's a cannon? Okay, well, how about the big, cheese-looking metal block, um, blocking it? Talk about a misfire.
Boot's been around since Day One. Representing hard work—it's based on a leather work shoe, and I'm down with sturdy boots—Boot is a fine choice thanks to its handy shoe horn and steady footing, pun intended. If it were life-size, a player could drop his cash and coins inside with no worry of losing any of his loot. Also if it were life-size and steel, one could probably drink out of it.
3. Top Hat
This is where I'm at here. This is how I see myself like 44 percent of the time and I bet you do, too. And why wouldn't you? Everyone likes hats, and everyone loves fancy hats. Stop fighting it. As you know, Top Hat is among the original pieces, and sits atop the head of Mr. MONOPOLY. Call me a front runner, but Top Hat's popular for a reason and demands respect.
2. Race Car
According to a 1998 poll, the racecar is the most used MONOPOLY piece. I can see that, and I doubt much has changed in 17 years. What's more appealing to a kid (or adult) than a mid-20th Century-era Indy 500 car made popular by Wilbur Shaw? The piece itself never loses balance zooming around the board—plus, old-timey cars inherently exude wealth on their own, so it's like starting the game with an extra $100. Even though it isn't. But still.
You, if you're like me, played MONOPOLY for the first time when you were a kid. You had smaller hands then, and hence, smaller fingers. Was there a better feeling than sticking your pinky in there and instantly growing a claw? No, there was not. Even now, with your grown-up hands, Thimble just feels right and never falls over. It slides smooth, and doesn't take up a lot of room. Oh, Thimble, always so considerate of others.
An original member of the '35 class, Thimble was 2009 United States MONOPOLY champion Richard Marinaccio's piece of choice, which definitely counts for everything.
Ryan Hatch is the deputy editor of Supercompressor. Always buy the railroads, never Baltic Avenue. Or do whatever, it's just a game. As is Twitter.