I can't even count the number of times Hasbro has messed with Monopoly. Last year's Monopoly Live and its smarty pants tower certainly was different. This year's Monopoly zAPPed swaps paper cash for debit cards that can be "scanned" on iOS devices. How's that for keeping with the times?
The game of Monopoly is still mostly the same. You still have to pick your game pieces and circle around the board, snatching up property as you pass GO. With Monopoly zAPPed (you get it?) players use an iOS device as a virtual bank teller. Its purpose is to bridge the physicalness of a traditional board game with the digital interactiveness of apps.
So how does it work? Hasbro made it clear that the board game doesn't use NFC or RFID (current iOS devices don't even have either technology in them). The fake debit cards use patented "conductive paint" technology created by Volumique. Each debit card is "tapped" on the iOS device to perform a transaction and the app automatically adds and subtracts money from the player's account.
Additionally, players can also play "mini-games" to getting out of jail free or avoiding jail fines.
Is the app going to make players lazier when it comes to basic arithmetic? Definitely. Will players be mad once again that there's no paper money to throw in the air? Absolutely.
Purists don't need to worry though. The classic Monopoly will still be sold. Monopoly zAPPed is just a variant of the game, like Monopoly Live is.
Hasbro plans on releasing Monopoly zAPPed this fall for $25. Obviously, the only caveat is the hidden fee: the cost of the iOS device. There's no word that an Android version is in development.
The Game of LIFE gets zAPPed, Too
Similarly, Hasbro's also upgrading The Game of LIFE with the zAPPed technology. Players finally get to see their faceless pink and blue pegs come to life with in-app customizations (think Nintendo's Miis, only without any faces) and even get "family" snapshots of all the adventures by the end of the game.
Gone is the spinner at the center of the board. Replacing it is a digital one in the app that sounds exactly like it. And like it or not, the app also has over 125 videos from America's Funniest Home Videos tossed in.
LIFE zAPPed is also $25. The iOS app is free. The game should hit stores this spring.