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Computing With Bifocals
by Nancy Carroll Gravley

A column for people who remember what
the world was like before there was color.....

What Happens When You Combine Gambling With A Board Game? Monopoly Casino
December 14th, 2001

I strongly believe that all of us who grew up in the era before computers have one great disadvantage. Fortunately, the simple knowledge that it exists helps us shoot it down. This is my theory. The whole concept of what a computer does is so alien to us at first that we usually don't know what questions to ask. For example - someone who learned to type on a manual typewriter or an electric prior to IBM's introduction of the ball fonts, may not even consider that there are numerous fonts available to any computer user. The possibility just doesn't occur to us. I had one of those experiences this past week.

The editor of The Mac Observer asked me to review a game called Monopoly Casino. The game, which is covered below, has numerous options so I spent several days reviewing it. Actually "reviewing it" means getting to play it a whole bunch. After several days of this the editor checked back with me, and in the course of the conversation I mentioned that as much as I enjoyed playing the game, I disliked waiting for that opening sequence to play so that I could actually get to the game.This game has a lot of fairly sophisticated elements, one of which is a real spiffy opening sequence that is actually a mini movie. Suddenly there was a dead silence on the other end of the line. You know the kind. They occur when the person to whom you are speaking is either shocked by something you said or is trying to think up the most diplomatic way to tell you that you are really dumb. Finally the editor said "why don't you just hit a key so the opening sequences will stop playing." Then it was my time to stare silently at the phone. "OK" I said. "Are you telling me that I can bypass the opening sequences by hitting a key?" Notice how I cleverly repeat his statement because I don't know what else to say. He replied "sure." Left unsaid was "everyone knows that." I can agree that at least one more person knows it now.

Monopoly Casino

Monopoly Casino is being published on the Mac by MacSoft, and was originally developed by Hasbro Inc. It is an interesting game and should be fun for anyone who likes casino type games. However, it takes up a lot of memory. To install and use the game the user starts by inserting the CD and installing the game by clicking on the installation icon and following the directions.

Then, each time the game is played the user must insert the disk again and leave it in the computer until finished playing. The user will observe two icons on their desktop so long as the game is in use. One says Monopoly Casino and the other says Audio CD 1. When ejecting the disk from the computer the user must pull both images to the trash can.

System Requirements: Any Macintosh with a 225 MHz or faster processor (including any G3, G4, iMac or iBook), Mac OS 8.1 or later, 64MB RAM, 5MB free hard disk space, CD-ROM drive, Video card with support for Apple's OpenGL (included with any G3, G4, iMac or iBook), Monitor capable of at least 800x600 pixels in thousands of colors.

You might wonder how Monopoly and casino games can work together. After all, isn't Monopoly a board game that has to do with buying and selling property? I did, and was curious as to how they could be merged. I must admit that I thought it was just a gimmick. Of course, it is a gimmick designed to get folks to buy a new game, but it really is clever and it works. For one thing, the graphics in the game are extremely well done. For instance, if the user decides to play the slots, the traditional Monopoly board piece that the user has chosen will be one of the components of the game. By that I mean that along with the cherries, lemons, etc. there will also be the user's board piece. Game options include Paigow Poker, Keno, Roulette, Slots, Black Jack, Craps, Money Wheel, Video Poker, and Poker. In any game that requires a dealer the dealer is always the little Monopoly guy with the moustache with which any Monopoly player is familiar. The same figure, including a voice, is used in games such as Roulette. There are also sound effects to match the action.

To play regular Poker the user will click on the Monopoly card that lists Poker. The user then either creates a user name or clicks on a name previously created. The user clicks on next and is given the opportunity to select from several kinds of Poker and then designates the betting limit. The game then begins with the user and several other oponents. When choosing to play a game like Slots or Roulette the user designates an amount of money to be available for betting by clicking on the appropriate Monopoly dollar amount on the bottom left of the screen and then choosing to bet.

Where To Get It

I actually had a very hard time trying to find the best source for purchasing this game. I looked on the Hasbro Inc web page as well as the MacSoft web page. I also contacted a representative of MacSoft for guidance, but was referred back to the MacSoft site. I swear I could not find any links for the Mac version of this game. After an exhaustive search I found it to be available at for U.S.$29.99. You should be able to find it on the shelves of local Mac retailers as well.

What Happened When I Ventured Into OS X

I decided to finally venture into OS X by checking to see how this game worked on the X platform. First thing I learned is that I did not need to reinstall it. If it is on my machine, it is on my machine, and available from both the 9.2 and X venues. The game worked exactly the same on X as it did on 9.2. That was reassuring. All the graphics looked exactly the same. I did notice one difference. When exiting the game and ejecting the CD, I only had to drag the main icon to the trash. The Audio icon went along with it.

I guess I am about ready to actually start checking out OS X. See future columns for information in my adventure. In the meanwhile, I give Monopoly Casino 4 Thumbs Up.

Final Score (Maximum Score is 5 Thumbs Up)
4 1/2 Thumbs Up
  • Easy installation
  • Works with Classic and Mac OS X
  • Fun and entertaining
  • We had but one tiny complaint: the main character's
    voice may be abrasive to some

If you have any questions, comments, or tips, let me know and I may include them in a future column.

Copies of Nancy's book Tips, Hints, and Solutions for Seasoned Beginners Using Apple Macintosh Computers With OS X are available in PDF download versions  for US$9.57 and in print version for $18.15 plus $4.00 shipping.   To view sample pages and get ordering information visit the September 14, 2004 column.

Post your comments below.
Check out Nancy's complete index of all her columns for the most complete list of tips anywhere. The list is categorized and is a great reference when you are looking for help!

A Capacious Catalog Of Computer Tips

Talking to a generation that remembers what the world was like before there was color, covers issues for people who don't care how their computer works, but rather what their computer and the internet can do for them.

Nancy has a Master's degree in Human Services Administration and prior to her retirement she worked for almost 30 years in field of mental health and mental retardation. She has been a Mac user for 11 years, and has recently developed an avocation of teaching basic computer skills in both group and one-to-one settings.

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