I remember when I was a kid asking my parents to play LIFE with me. Their response “no, it’s too depressing.” I didn’t get it. You got to spin the wheel, drive around in a car, throw money around, what’s not to like? Now I know better.
LIFE isn’t just a boring, poorly designed game that is no fun. It is a nasty, shitty commentary on life and I hate it. It covers the years from when the players graduate high school to retirement. But it should really have a graveyard at the end, because that’s where this game is taking you. On a slow, lugubrious march toward death.
Let’s just begin with the gameplay. You spin the wheel, move around the board, shit happens to you. That’s it. You only interact with other players in the shittest of ways (we’ll get to that later). For most of the game you could be seated in different rooms. If you really wanted to you could play by yourself. The Game of LIFE as solitaire. Let the sadness of that scene roll around in your head for a while.
So what does the game tell you about life?
Making money and holding onto it is the only thing worthwhile.
Trip to Florida with the family? Damn that just cost me $30,000! Now I can’t buy that luxury condo!
Kids are expensive and a pain in the ass because they won’t fit in the stupid game-pieces.
The makers of LIFE know that children are playing right? It doesn’t occur to them that having people complain about being forced to pay more for every extra child might be kind of a bummer for younger siblings?
Suing people is lucrative and happens all the time
What gets me about this one is that there is never an explanation offered for any of these lawsuits that are flying around. Maybe there was a good reason for a few of them. Was that doctor a drunk who accidentally took out the wrong kidney? Did the police officer maliciously shoot your dog? Who knows?
This is about the only time players interact with other players throughout the game. Though I guess there is this:
There is a limited supply of jobs and housing, so you better get there first!
So you’re a rich entertainer and another player is a doctor, but only one of you can buy the mansion? Why? They can’t build another? I guess it’s only satisfying to live in that place if you’re forcing your buddies to live somewhere crappier.
Arrgh, I hate this game. I’d go further but I’m kind of irritated with myself for devoting this much time to thinking about it. No more board game posts for a while I promise.