Published on August 19th, 2014 | by Sam Riedel0
I was running for the train when I passed a woman with a Public Enemy pleather tote bag. In that moment, I thought well, now I’ve seen the lowest point of rap music’s slide into mass consumerism. Five minutes later, as I entered the fourth turn of my game of Thug-Opoly, I realized I’d been utterly mistaken. Mitee Games’ latest version of Monopoly (they’ve already made everything from Beagle-Opoly to Revolutionary War-Opoly) is a bizarre, poorly crafted ploy to get you using a totally unrelated app.
My first clue that something was amiss came when I read the introductory copy for Thug-Opoly. It introduces “thug” as a word originally used by the late, great Tupac Shakur, referring to a criminal or hustler. Strictly speaking, that’s true, but Tupac didn’t create the word—he repurposed it. “Thug” comes from the word “thuggee,” a term for a member of an Indian society of murderous criminals. (See? You learned something today. You’re welcome.) “Thug life,” on the other hand, is slightly different. Thug-Opoly defines it thusly: “When You Have Nothing, And Succeed, When You Have Overcome All Obstacles To Reach Your Aim.” Gross misuse of capitals aside, this also glosses over the part of “thug life” involving drug deals, racketeering, and assorted violent crime, but whatever. Not like there’s a lot of that in the game, anyway.
If you have ever played Monopoly—and I assume that you have,—you know what to expect from Thug-Opoly at minimum. Roll dice, move around a board, buy property, collect rent from other players, and try to drive them bankrupt. Driving someone bankrupt is much easier than usual, though, since Thug-Opoly only gives you $500 to start (as opposed to the usual $1500 in regular Monopoly). A player can easily go broke after a single turn around the board.
But chances are, you won’t even make it around the board. The game seems oddly weighted toward making sure players get locked up frequently without possibility of parole. Normally, you’d only land in jail if you landed on the “Go to Jail” space, or drew one of the few “Go Directly to Jail” cards. Instead, you’ll go to jail even if you just land on the jail space, and there are plenty of jail cards to send you right back in once you’re out. What’s worse, there’s no time limit to your sentence—you’ll stick around until you roll doubles. Even Free Parking acts as a temporary jail that lasts for a few turns. If I were a more generous man, I’d chalk this up as a shrewd commentary on the nature of the American judicial system. But since I’m a bitter old man trapped in the body of a millennial, I’m just going to assume nobody at Mitee bothered to check Thug-Opoly for even a single bug before they pushed it out.
Lest you think I’m being too hard on the bug situation, let me tell you a tale of my first attempt at playing Thug-Opoly. It was just me and one other computer opponent, and I’d spent the whole game trying to keep up with what it was doing. The turns go by instantly for computer players, so you’ll have to read the little play-by-play updates in the middle of the board. (Incidentally, this makes it impossible to keep track of anything with multiple computer players, making the AI mode nearly pointless. ) Things were going okay—I’d started to turn a profit, and I hadn’t landed in jail for several turns—when the game suddenly ended. Player Four had won. Mystified, I counted the number of players again—there had still been only two. Either my APK file was haunted, or Thug-Opoly has a few crippling bugs left.
It’s really shocking how badly Mitee Games screwed this one up—you’d think that, after nearly 30 iterations, they’d have come up with a Monopoly template that actually replicated the classic Parker Brothers game they’re so shamelessly ripping off. But perhaps my surprise is unfounded. After all, Mitee says up front that Thug-Opoly is “A Passport.io App.” Passport.io is Mitee’s photo-storage and –sharing application that, according to its FAQ, “offers a way for you…to tell stories about them.”
If you want to know what that means, you’ll have to ask their marketing team, because I have no idea. What it translates to for Thug-Opoly is that you can upload some of your own pictures into the game, and for every six you add, one will randomly appear. That’s a pretty good deal, given that the default artwork is cheesy at best. Still, not a great feature overall.
So Thug-Opoly is less a game and more a way to push another useless, shoddy app on unsuspecting gamers. It’s a transparent monetization scheme that’s as insulting as it is transparent. Luckily, Thug-Opoly is so awful, you won’t have fun long enough to get sucked into Mitee’s ploy for ad revenue.
Summary: Thug-Opoly thinks it’s big pimpin’, but it’s just another fake MC.