The classic boardgame clue was made into a gimmicky film in 1985, which starred a number of actors more commonly found in the kind of cult films that this was destined to become. I remember getting the standard clue suspect sheet from the ticket agent, who was mildly embarrassed at having to give these out, as we went in. I went with my friend, David Onuschak (who has since disappeared from the world), at the Christiana Mall in Delaware. We were freshman in High School and it was probably among the first films that we went to sans parental units. The gimmick in this film was that it had multiple possible endings (I remember seeing it at least twice in the theater – possibly that same day). If you can find this today, you’ll see all the endings one after the other.
The same year, Parker Brothers also released a VCR version of the game – something that seemed strained even at the time. It could work in theory using today’s DVD / blue ray to jump from scene to scene digitally, but having to set the counter and strictly FF /Rew to the appropriate location on the film was an idea that possibly should have died during the pitch meeting.
I bring up this re-imagined version of the game and the film because I was reminded of it while listening to an interview with one of the editors of boardgamegeek.com. I heard it on a podcast through stitcher while it scrolled through the day’s headlines during a drive, so I can’t quite place what the show was. They were discussing board games in general, but the topic of re-issues came up. This, in turn, got my attention because we had been playing Monopoly last night and I noticed that instead of dollars, the currency was “
M” (but with a double slash). Was Parker Brothers sued by the US Treasury? – I doubt it, but I seriously can’t find any reference to this unit anywhere online.
What I want to get to is my curmudgeonly position that these games shouldn’t be updated. happily, the updates are minimal in our version. Some of the cash is the wrong color and the chance and community chest cards are too nice and glossy, but at least everything still costs the same as always – just in these odd
Back to Clue…
We recently bought Clue (my son is 9 years old, so all these games are right on the money now). It’s not supposed to be an odd edition or anything, but it is updated. For instance, there is no longer a conservatory. I guess it was replaced by the garage – now pictured with some sporty cars inside. And despite keeping all the names the same as the original, all the renderings of the characters look like they’re performing a high school musical version of the game.
Today, you can get “Clue: The Office”, “Clue: Dungeons and Dragons”, or “Clue: The Big Bang Theory”. You can probably get 1000s of different Monopoly games representing your college campus, state or probably any TV show from ‘Welcome Back Kotter’ to ‘The Sci -Fi channel’s BattleStar Galactica’.
These all make me pretty upset. I know I don’t have to buy these things. But I don’t even like knowing that they’re out there.
What I do like is this video, which I’m not positive is supposed to be based on Clue, but it’s close – and you can learn to play snap while you’re at it.
Special Note: I would like to thank the artist, Joanna Katchutas for permission to reproduce her photo, Multiple Clues, here. You can follow her through her studio website and read her artist’s statement about this work here.