Monopoly, the world’s most popular board game, was patented on 31st December, 1935.
While it has since morphed into hundreds of localised iterations, the winner take all mentality that underpins it, hasn’t changed, nor its wholesome family appeal.
Now it has spawned a delightful, flashy, one-of-a-kind immersive entertainment experience at the lower ground level of Melbourne Central.
Photos by Tony Gough
It takes up the equivalent of 10 retails shops and took four years to move from conception to reality.
I had no idea what I was in for, but let me simply start by saying it was special.
You enter the domain of the world’s richest, fictional little man, Mr Monopoly.
He started life as a humble car mechanic and you witness how he has elevated his station in life.
You wander through a series of Monopoly themed installations, games and adventures.
That includes looking at the evolution of the board game, with many versions of it on show.
One that stands out is a special edition, never for sale, that was gifted to British athletes competing in the 2012 London Olympics.
Along the journey, you are encouraged to participate in several games, which win you Monopoly money that you can spend in the Monopoly shop.
Among the fun things to do is to try to grab as much “cash” as you can in 30 seconds.
The way that works is that the money lies on the ground in a series of Monopoly booths next to one another, before air is pumped in and the moolah flies around.
You can win more money at installations named Water Works and Electric City, and by cracking a code in Jail.
You can share the joy of a laser maze. That is where you have 60 seconds to try to dodge infrared lights to try to reach and return from Mr Monopoly’s large diamond.
A highlight of a visit to Monopoly Dreams is a short, 4D Mr Monopoly movie, in which a bandit tries to steal his riches.
The cinema seats move in line with the action, while you receive a shower of mist and even smell the grass.
At various junctures, you can take selfies with Mr Monopoly and his dog, Scottie, at his news stand, with his Melbourne tram and alongside his silver helicopter.
If you choose to, at extra expense, you can also win plush toys, key chains and Monopoly magnets by playing arcade games.
Your entry pass allows you to print out a special title deed to a property and have your Monopoly photo taken in a picture booth.
Allow an hour for the full experience, which is very much hands on, is extremely well laid out and organised, and so much fun.
To find out more and to buy tickets, which are $38.50 for children aged 3 to 15 and $49.50 for those aged over 15, go to monopolydreams.com.au
It is an experience that will especially appeal to teenagers and adults of all ages.