“Monopoly GO!” users find a place to socialize

Struggling with loss of social connections and third places, students have become obsessed with a new mobile game: “Monopoly GO!”
Junior Alex Cureton plays Monopoly Go! at lunch.
Junior Alex Cureton plays “Monopoly Go!” at lunch.
Lily Hoza

Since the release of arcade games like “Space Invaders” and “Pac-Man” in the late 1970s and early 1980s, video games have been an extremely prominent part of popular culture. As technology became more accessible and new games were released, large communities began to grow around gaming.

The newest game subject to this phenomena, “Monopoly GO”!, sets itself apart from all others with a few unique traits. Not only is it based upon a pre-existing board game, but it is played on a mobile device, and has been picked up by people who were not involved in any kind of gaming prior. Users of this game and others like it enjoy the social atmosphere the games provide.

Junior Alex Cureton has been playing since July and used both the words “obsessed” and “addicted” to describe his relationship with the game. 

“I was with my friends in their car and they showed me “Monopoly GO!” and said I had to get it, so I downloaded it and I have been addicted for five months now,” Cureton said. 

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The game is much like traditional “Monopoly”, however, in the app players can play against friends or against people they do not know. Some of the player’s favorite features are robbing other player’s banks and destroying their landmarks.  

Cureton is not quite able to figure out what makes the game’s content so enticing.

“I guess I just find something about it so fun,” Cureton said. “I am not sure why it is addictive, but for some reason whenever I can, I log on.”

Despite not being able to pick out what about the content of “Monopoly GO!” caught his attention, Cureton did repeatedly speak to the connections he makes through the app that he would not otherwise. 

“I think playing the game creates a sense of community through all of the fun interactions with people like robbing a vault or shutting down their landmarks,” Cureton said.

He even went on to say that a lot of the friends he has on the app are people that he does not get to see very often in real life and otherwise only interacts with on social media. 

Having a platform like a video game to connect with people is becoming increasingly important with the loss of third places. “Third place” is a term coined by sociologist Ray Oldenburg that describes places where people spend time between home and work. It is at these places that people create connections with those in their communities, exchange ideas, and have a good time. 

According to Brookings, the amount of available third places is rapidly declining and many young people have begun to move their third places online in order to create connections. This is a national issue, but it can be felt on a local level.

Senior Anya Cwiak deals with this lack of third places in Canton when trying to make plans with friends. 

“It never feels like there is anywhere to go where my friends and I can just hang out,” Cwiak said. “Everything is always so far away or costs money every time we do it.” 

Struggling to find common places for social interaction leads Cwiak and many others to move conversations to platforms like Instagram, Snapchat or FaceTime. 

“Just texting or FaceTiming gets hard though because eventually, if you are not doing anything you run out of things to talk about,” Cwiak said. 

With a lack of physical third places, and social media providing little to nothing to actually do, some teens such as sophomore Zach May, have begun to utilize video games as a digital third place. 

“Basically everything happens on video games,” May said. “It’s the easiest way to talk to people because you just make a quick call and you already have an activity to do.”

While gaming seems like a perfect solution to issues faced by teenagers of today, there is one big issue that limits its accessibility: money. Buying new equipment, games and making purchases within games can add up.

“I spend a lot more money than I should,” May said. “I would say I average a couple hundred a year, depending on how many games come out.” 

“Monopoly GO!” provides a similar gameplay that connects people, gives them something to do, and does not provide the financial barrier that traditional video games do. These factors have led the game to become widespread amongst the students of GlenOak and will likely continue to do so in the coming months.

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Lily Hoza, Staff Writer
Lily Hoza (she/they) is a sophomore, this is their second year on staff. They're also involved in debate, drama, and concert choir and love to debate, sing, and act. A fun fact is that they are the lead in this year's fall play!
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