Losing Interest

With daily newspapers, television and radio all making Gordon Brown's promise of a state funeral for Mrs. Margaret Thatcher sound more like a threat, I've refrained from commenting on the financial crisis. However, glancing at a recent issue of the splendidly informative and entertaining current affairs periodical Private Eye (no.1222), a copy of a clipping from the rules of the game of Monopoly took my notice:

"Q. What happens if the Bank runs out of money?

A. The bank never goes bankrupt. To continue playing, use slips of paper to keep track of each player's banking transactions - until the bank has enough paper money to operate again."

So the answer to the current financial crisis was in the rules of Monopoly all along.

Budding, entrepreneurial games inventors need not lose confidence due to the lack of spending money or willingness to spend it, because the highly successful Monopoly was released during the 1930s depression. Board games provided a relatively inexpensive form of at entertainment; for those whom had to shy away from lavish restaurants and the theatre.

Whilst Father Christmas will do his utmost not to disappoint, the toy industry is also likely to decline over the next year or two. After last year's numerous toy recalls, many toy manufacturers will have to absorb the increased cost of carrying-out better safety and quality control, this will make many Chinese toy factories unprofitable; brand name suppliers and consumers will refuse to pay higher prices so these factories will close.

This time I suspect those bright upstarts in the video games industry (especially makers of Nintendo software) will be raking it in from a new surge in demand for entertainment that saves us from tipping in restaurants, taxi fares and getting tipsy at theatre prices.

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