Owning a piece of (virtual) Tokyo

Since it was launched on 9th September, Monopoly City Streets has seen thousands of armchair real estate magnates snap up hot roadside – or should I say on-road – property all over the world. Built upon Google Maps and the OpenStreetMap database, the free online game gives players $3,000,000 in site currency with which to start purchasing the digital equivalents of the world’s streets, put up buildings on them, accumulate profits from rent and capital gains, and in due course establish a global real estate empire worth billions.

Not that one needs to aim that high, of course. Some might be content with owning the digital twin of the street they live on in real life.

I stumbled on the game quite by accident (via the BBC) mere minutes before it was launched, and since then I’ve been stopping by whenever I can to cobble together a modest portfolio based in the Japanese capital (with a smaller presence in Osaka and my own city). I’ve been through the birth pains, too: with demand far exceeding expectations, gameplay on the overloaded servers during the first few days has been next to impossible, with the site failing to load most times and failing to work properly when it does. Even now the glitches haven’t been completely ironed out.

Deluged with cries of unfair play, serious bugs and other complaints, the production team have announced that there will be a game reset sometime next week. I’m not sure I agree with that decision. On the one hand, the problems at the outset really were quite serious (let the irate commenters on the official blog bring you up to speed on that), so wiping the slate clean seems like a sensible choice. On the other hand, I’m quite pleased with what I’ve done so far – including getting my hands on a well-known Tokyo street – and I’m not happy with the thought of it all vanishing in a puff of pixels.

But no worries. I’ve already had my fun with the game, and I’m not even sure I’ll need or want to jump back in after the reset. But I may just do so anyway in order to have another chance at bagging Chūō-dōri.

Taking over the world, one street at a time.

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One Response

  1. [...] streets. This includes everything from Broadway to the Autobahn to Takeshita Dori, but, as Diego from the Anime Affairs blog points out, many people may be satisfied by simply owning the street they live on in real [...]

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