Monopoly for Tiger’s Game.com

One of the better Game.com offerings, but is that enough to justify purchasing it?

NOTE: This was written for an upcoming ARG Presents… episode. Check them out on YouTube, Anchor.fm, or many other Podcast apps.

Game.com’s mixed bag of impressive and lackluster features, coupled with hostile and confused marketing by Tiger Electronics, led to it’s rather quick demise. Despite many of it’s titles being discussed as some of the worst games ever made, the handheld wasn’t completely incompetent. When it came to casual games, it actually performed somewhat okay.

Monopoly released in 1999 to bolster the library for sales of the Game.com Pocket Pro, which also failed. This version allowed for up to 6 player multiplayer on the same device or two human players via the compete.com serial cable. Having to pass the device back-and-forth, especially during competitive points of the game on a timer (i.e. auctions), is a recipe for disaster if played between a group of six players. The lack of a backlight and screen that is hard to see at an angle makes play nearly impossible in this scenario. However, played on an emulator or with two separate Game.coms is actually a serviceable version of Monopoloy.

This version of Monopoly loops the same music track over and over that seems like it was composed by someone who has heard music before but not necessarily a skilled composer of music. It’s unclear whether it’s the lackluster sound hardware of the Game.com that’s at fault, or the composer. My assumption would be the sound hardware, given it only has a total of four audio channels: two 4-bit waveform generators, one noise generator, and one direct 8-bit PCM output channel. It’s mono audio. While not impossible to compose competent music on the device, it’s definitely not easy. The sound effects are seemingly all created by the noise generator track and all sound like various forms of television static with the exception of a couple of sounds (i.e. dice rolls). Playing this on mute might be the best option.

The animations, board, and general UI aren’t half-bad given the lack of significant screen real estate. While occasionally looking quite pixelated, it’s usually not too difficult to tell what’s going on. Compared to other titles on the Game.com, it actually doesn’t suffer from all that much blurring.

The gameplay is standard Monopoly. It works. The dice rolls seem random enough. The game seems fair. It’s much easier than playing a board game of Monopoly in a crowded back seat and much more convenient than carrying around a full game set.

As a Game.com title, it’s competent enough but it’s definitely not enough of a reason to pick up a Game.com. There are mobile phone versions of Monopoly, decades of PC releases, all of Nintendo’s portable systems, PSP and PS Vita, and numerous other systems that are more capable. It’s one of the better Game.com titles, though.

5/10 — Not recommended but playable

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Aun Collective

We are a game preservationist, archivist, design and writing collective, focusing on multiplayer and massively multiplayer games. Also music preservation!