Hasbro And Visa Pervert LIFE Board Game To Train Children In Racking Up Credit Card Debt

As if credit card-related debt wasn’t a big enough problem in the U.S., Hasbro and Visa want to fuel the fire. Hasbro is launching a new edition of The Game of Life called Twists and Turns that will replace play money with a Visa-branded card. Matt Collins, Hasbro’s vice president of marketing, said of the switch, “When we started to design a completely new edition of the popular game, we knew it was also time to reflect the way people choose to pay and be paid – and replacing cash with Visa was an obvious choice.”

They also changed the goal of the game from accumulating the most money to earning the most “life points.” Supposedly this a combination of wealth and life experiences, but it’s not hard to see parallels between “life points” and the reward points and airlines miles offered by certain credit cards.

For their part, Visa says they’re simply responding to what consumers want:..

(Photo: Mia3mom)


Integration into THE GAME OF LIFE: Twists & Turns Edition was a natural fit for Visa,” said Susanne Lyons, chief marketing officer, Visa USA. “The latest enhancement is a powerful illustration of consumer preference to pay with Visa for everyday purchase and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. The game also highlights the importance of education and experiencing life to its fullest, which synch up nicely with the Visa brand.

But do not fret. Visa will provide handy material to be sure your kids don’t get sucked into thinking racking up credit card debt is ok:

In addition to incorporating a Visa-branded card as its official currency, THE GAME OF LIFE: Twists & Turns Edition will feature elements of Visa’s award-winning financial literacy curriculum Practical Money Skills for Life.

Here’s the translation for all this crap: Hasbro was looking for a way to pump life into an older board game. Visa was looking for a way to introduce a younger audience to their brand and get them used to paying for everything with a credit card (I can just hear them now, “Let’s get the kiddies comfortable with credit cards so when they hit 18 they’ll be like the cavalry and CHARGE!!!!!”) Voila! A partnership was born. It doesn’t say whether or not money or other promotional efforts (think inserts for Twists and Turns in Visa statements) were traded back and forth, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it happened.

How about a new version of Ants in the Pants where the ants make it so terrible for the wearer that Terminex has to show up and kill them all. The cross-marketing possibilities are endless!

Free Money Finance

New Edition of THE GAME OF LIFE Now Takes Visa [Hasbro]

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  1. Stormyaaron says:

    In a sense it does make sense that they would include credit cards in the new version, heck you can use them now to pay for fast food. What they should of done was use the cards in a “real life way” you would need to pay Vista back only you would own more money like in real life. Credit Cards sound fun now huh? If you ask me plastic can not replace the feel of real paper money.

  2. slowinthefastlane says:

    In the old version that I played, you used to be able to sell off your wife and kids at the end in order to calculate your net worth. They ditched that several years ago. That was the real game and they’ve already perverted it!

  3. SOhp101 says:

    I stopped enjoying any games with the ‘Hasbro’ name on it since they seem to enjoy making lots of sad versions of their original counterparts.

    At least the new one reflects the real American dream more accurately, now. Spend as much as you can and get in debt to live a great life.

    Then again it’s not like the original Game of LIFE actually taught good values anyway: making lots of money means everything, a price can be put on everything and happiness in life is all about spending money.

    And this is really corny, but I just have to add this in: LIFE takes Visa.

  4. adambadam says:

    @slowinthefastlane:

    Nowadays when you “sell-off” your wife and children you loose money LOL

  5. valthun says:

    Cheap Ass Games and Steve Jackson Games for the win. Forget Hasbro board games.

  6. bossco says:

    Hopefully parents will decide what is appropiate for their kids, after all that is what being a parent is. I would not buy anything so commercial for my kids.

  7. Wouldnt a game based on budgeting and financial planning and learning how to leverage your credit be beneficial? Where else are you going to make these mistakes before entering college?

  8. Buran says:

    @valthun: Give me the brain. I can hear the ocean.

  9. ungsunghero says:

    I can’t wait for the spinoffs of this game!

    When is Hasbro going to release FICO (sponsored by Experian?), the game where you try to maximize your credit score? Pay off your balances, and try to keep a good debt:credit ratio, but watch out for those hard pulls on your credit report!

    And when is Mortgage (sponsored by LendingTree?) coming out, the game where you try to negotiate for the best mortgage interest rates? Watch out for those dangerous option ARMs!

    By the way, this idea (Life w/credit cards) is pretty dumb.

  10. Jesse in Japan says:

    What the hell is a life point? Is that like: Take a trip to Thailand = 5 points. Get a massage there = 5 more points. Get a happy ending = 20 points!

  11. rbb says:

    Even worse, Hasbro has ruined Candy-Land!!!

    In the Dora the Explorer version of Candy-Land, there are significantly more “double color” cards than the original version.

    And, there used to be two spots on the board where if you landed on them, you could not move until you drew a certain color card. In the Dora version, you just lose a turn.

    The end result is a much shorter game, which I guess is what the “short attention span theater” generation wants…

  12. thrillhouse says:

    First Monopoly, now this. Guess I’ll need to buy this one too before the Visa version replaces the cash version.

    Absolutely sad and pathetic. FMF is exactly right. It is a shameless attempt to get kids comfortable with spending on plastic. But they’ve gone one step even further than that. They want kids to get comfortable spending with a Visa branded credit card. They could have just of easily branded it Hasbro, but rather they sold out. Make no mistake, with debt being the most heavily advertised product, there are millions and millions of Visa advertising dollars flowing into hasbro for this one.

    And don’t even get me started on “Visa’s award-winning financial literacy curriculum Practical Money Skills for Life”. Complete poop.

  13. Starfury says:

    Time to hit the thrift stores and garage sales for the “good” version of this game.

    I miss the old Avalon Hill wargames.

  14. LTS! says:

    My response to all of this:

    “Whatever.” Have we really grown so insecure as a society that we really believe this is an issue? Simply put, no one, NO ONE, creates your debt scenario except for yourself. If you are so weak minded as to be swayed by some credit card in a board game then I’m thinking you’ll be strung out on drugs or committing crimes on YouTube before you have to worry about it.

    We spend so much time blaming everyone else for our own problems. It’s a fantastic cop out. Rather than strengthen our own resolve it’s much easier to say Hasbro and Visa are responsible for my financial ruin. I never knew that 24.5% APR was bad for my credit or that spending $1500 on that suit was a bad idea when I only make $50/week.

    Give me a break. This is marketing without a doubt but is this the downfall of society, please.

  15. acambras says:

    At least when games were using (fake) cash, kids could hone their math skills. I remember playing Monopoly, being the “banker,” and having to do lots of triple-digit addition and subtraction in my head.

  16. OnceWasCool says:

    Is my family the only one that still plays regular UNO?

  17. TWinter says:

    This could actually be a positive for some kids. The kid who looses the game and has just a few “life points” but a big pile of debt, might just realize that this is a stupid way to live.

  18. lucidpsyche says:

    @thrillhouse: Actually, Hasbro still sells the “Classic” monopoly. They just make a ton of “limited editions” (like the “Here and Now”) or themed versions (like Star Wars).

    I actually have the “Here and Now” edition of Monopoly. The pieces are branded — but my friends and I find it fairly amusing. The money is also much, much higher — add four zeros to your regular monopoly money, and you’ve got the bills from the H&N version. It’s essentially the same game, but with higher dollar amounts and places throughout the country as property.

    I’m not sure if the other editions of Monopoly compare to this new LIFE game, where it seems practically the entire game has changed.

  19. Jamie Beckland says:

    Robert Kiyosaki (the author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad) has a board game called Cash Flow 101. It is all about getting out of the ‘rat race’ where your passive income from investments is greater than your expenses.

    It seems like a great, financially literate concept, but the problem is that it is the most boring game in the world.

    There is no competition with other players – everyone can end up winning. The reality is that sound financial practices are just not that exciting. And that’s OK – boring and stable is the way your personal finances should be!

  20. JNighthawk says:

    Honestly, I don’t have a problem with this, nor with Hasbro. Time to flex my board game geek muscles :-P

    Hasbro brought new life into Avalon Hill when they bought them, and they’re now releasing new games, along with updated classic games with higher quality pieces or more streamlined rules. The new AH has its ups and downs, but overall, I prefer AH to be releasing games than to not.

    Hasbro also owns Wizards of the Coast, which, say what you want, they’re a boon to the card/board game industry. Without Magic, a lot of gamers wouldn’t have been introduced to CCGs.

    And yes, Hasbro didn’t start those companies, it just bought them. However, it seems that they’re letting them run rather autonomously, as they are still doing their thing.

    100% agree with LTS!.

  21. kenposan says:

    “Visa’s award-winning financial literacy curriculum Practical Money Skills for Life.”

    I have used this (didn’t know it was connected to Visa, though) to teach money management skills to teens.

    I haven’t seen the new Life but couldn’t a parent use it as a good way to teach their kids about credit?

    UNO? I buying a pack soon to teach my daughter to play!! I loved Uno as a kid.

  22. Trackback says:

    Cory Doctorow: Visa and Hasbro have teamed up to make a branded version of the Game of Life intended to train children to go into credit card debt: Hasbro is launching a new edition of The Game of Life called Twists and Turns that will replace play money with a Visa-branded card.

  23. palaste says:

    Back in my day, the Game of Life was invented by John Conway.

  24. rbb says:

    @oncewascool:

    They still make the original version of Uno? I lost count of the number of offshoots to the orignal card game… ;)

  25. thrillhouse says:

    “I haven’t seen the new Life but couldn’t a parent use it as a good way to teach their kids about credit?”

    Nah, its much easier than that.

    “son, you don’t need it.”

  26. seawall says:

    Dang… if only it were MasterCard. Priceless.

  27. El_Fez says:

    The Game of Life was turned to total crap a couple of years back anyway. The game has been PC-afied with the addition of Warm Fuzzies chits for recycling and giving money to charities. They also removed the Poor House at the end of the road.

    If you got to get the game, find a copy of the 60’s version at a local Goodwill. They turn up there all the time.

  28. ShadeWalker says:

    i think this game should also include a debt collector that calls your house at the end of your turn, asking for the money you owe them. it’s like jumangi but with out the animals…

  29. Nygdan says:

    There’s definitly a problem with this. People learn to recognize brands at an extremely early age. Putting out a game like this will certainly result in more visa cards being out there, as this generation that played this game grows up.

    Its not a problem in the specifics, its that it sets the context for these kids that its ‘normal’ to use a credit card to pay for everything.

  30. ThomasPurves.com says:

    It’s a visa *debit* card isn’t it?

    I thought that this was a visa effort to educate the public that the visa brand now means more than credit.

    Visa debit (aka cheque cards in USA) and Visa pre-paid cards = just a modern form of cash.

  31. superlayne says:

    This is stupid.

    When I play LIFE, or Wheeler Dealer, with my kid brother and cousins, we just use a notebook and do math.

    Honestly, though, who cares about LIFE anymore? It was an ok game when you were younger, but really only girls and older kids like to play that game…

  32. gazelleintense says:

    visa pays off hasbro… BIG money… and kids get hooked on credit cards and debt at an early age. very dumb. And sad. Like debt is not already a big enough problem in this culture.

    Dave Ramsey isn’t happy with this… talked about it on todays show..

  33. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    What’s next? An American Express branded Monopoly? You get an AmEx card instead of cash? Or maybe they shoud put an Amex card as one of the pieces on the game, along with the prius, the plane, and the McD’s fries!