Clueless

It’s the end of an era. Well not really but it feels that dramatic.

Hasbro has decided that the Classic Clue needed an “update”. Clue has always been a favorite in my home from the time I was a wee ankle-slasher. We never fought over who got to be Miss Scarlet and I was perfectly happy to be the green piece. Clue is a guessing game of deductive skill. It’s about memory and imagination and logic. It was a family game everyone could feel good about playing. It required you to be sneaky with the person sitting next to you as well as the ever-popular exhilaration of bait-and-switch. I even have Simpson’s Clue because I love a good parody.

The new Clue – well, let’s be honest- is a sad parody of itself. Gone is the imagination of creating your own character from a basic sketch and delicious intrigue of whodunnit. Sure everyone had a motive in the original game, but they were fun, innocuous motives. Now they’re dark and sort of ridiculous. People will kill over anything these days, and this game reflects that.

New Clue gives all of the Characters new first names as well as updated sketches. Miss (Josephine) Scarlet, now Cassandra, no longer a failing actress (or sexy spy in the VCR game) but a vapid actress (oh yes, much better), and fodder for entertainment rags because of her performance on the casting couch. Mr. (John) Green is now Jacob and a Black guy “with all the ins” – whatever the hell that means. In the original game he was a gangster (or a vicar in the UK version), and we can’t have a black gangster in the new version, now can we? Wait – yes we can. Professor (Peter) Plum is now Victor, a dot-com millionaire – because that’s so much cooler than being an archeologist. Colonial (Michael) Mustard has transformed into Jack – is a Football hero because war heroes cum henchmen are so last century. Who wants to be a decorated military icon when you can be a washed up football has been with a blown out knee and testicles the size of raisins. Mrs. (Elizabeth) Peacock goes by the new name Eleanor is a professional fund-raiser – think older Lady Stumpy, formerly a socialite – which just seemed to carry a more positive standing when I was younger, even if she did marry solely for money. Finally, and Miss. Blanche White, is reborn as “Diane”. Once the housekeeper and sometime paramour of Mr Boddy (Dr. Black in the UK), she’s is now a former Child star who finds it difficult to cope with no longer being in the spotlight.

(thanks to The Cluedo Files for original character background and Telegraph.uk for the new sketches)

Basically none of these characters are worth liking anymore. None of them carry anything ambiguous that you could mold into your own imagination. None of these new characters have anything redeeming about them so automatically they look overly shady.*yawn*

By the way, the Lead Pipe, The Wrench, and The Revolver have been taken out of the game, replaced with a Trophy, Dumbbell, and a holdover from the Limited Gift Edition (which I have), Poison. Notice something interesting? The weapons have been sanitized but the characters have been made more salacious.

Said Rob Daviau, “”We wanted something that the mom or dad who’s bringing home for the family [could say], ‘This is what I remember, and this is what I want to play with my kids,’ ” Daviau says. “At the same time, we wanted something the kids would feel like it belonged to them. And this is something that’s very appealing to them. So we tried to blend those two worlds. It plays like Clue, it feels like Clue, but it just feels like Clue that would have been created in the 21st century.”

Sadly – that’s exactly what it feels like. Fluffy, over-complicated “fun”, with each new character receiving a “special power” that helps them see MOAR clues and additional decks of cards to speed up game play. I get the feeling that this wasn’t made so parents could spend more time with their kids so much as kids could get together under the guise of playing a game (for the benefit of parents who don’t want to get involved or pry) when really they’re headed to the basement to play Seven Minutes In Heaven.

All kids can relate with fallen child stars and has-been sports stars. Why give them something that can spark their imagination? Spies, Archeologists, Mobsters, jealous Houskeepers – fantasy was the name of the original game. This new game feels a lot like an extension of TMZ.com.

As I have the Limited Gift Edition and the Simpsons Edition, anyone who wants to play at my house is welcome to drop by. Bring your costumes, your snacks and a sense of real fun. We’ll leave the kids to their sad imitation.

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