Monopoly is a game. A game is an extension of social man. The game Monopoly is a residue of American culture engaged by social man. An icon of Americana as prevalent as baseball and apple pie, Monopoly embodies the ideas, beliefs, and practices of the American Dream. Everyone starts out with equal footing. Millionaires are made as quickly as the poor are forgotten. Greatness depends on you, the individual, and the whims of fate, dictated by a quick roll of the dice.

The line between myth and reality embodied in the American Dream can prove to be as vague as the functions of games in a culture. On the one hand, games are manifestations of popular conventions of the times. On the other hand, games shape the way in which those conventions are perceived and ingested.

Game play is an often overlooked source for comprehending the manner by which cultural norms are instituted and preserved. It is to the understanding of how a particular medium can manifest and also shape the tenets of a culture that this website is dedicating to exploring.

In particular, this site will indulge the following aspects of game play in the context of Monopoly:

  • a discussion of the semantics of game and play
  • a historical background of Monopoly
  • the meaning of role play as an extension of identity
  • the function of rules in fostering the end objective
  • the mechanisms of chance and luck

  • the institutionalization of culture
  • and the value of studying material culture
Monopoly will thus serve as a lens, a friendly handle so to speak, for unpacking the institutionalization of ideas, beliefs, and practices that define a culture, in this case American culture.

Play along in this endeavor to think beyond the box.