"The Game of Life" is board game originally issued by Parker Brothers back in the 1950s. The game simulated (as much as a board game can) the major life decisions an individual would make from high school until retirement: going to college, choosing a career, getting married, buying a home, having children, living through random windfalls and disasters, and so forth. The object is simply to have the most money upon retirement.

I played this game with my siblings all the time when I was a kid; it's essentially random who comes out ahead at the end, so every player has a chance to win if they don't screw up the major choices. Every game with the same number of players also lasts the same amount of time, so it never drags on. Despite this, it's still just as much fun for grownups as for kids. I recently bought a version to play with my eleven-year-old stepdaughter, and we both enjoyed it equally.

Since it's original release, Parker Brothers has changed the game slightly while keeping the basics identical. Prices have been updated to more contemporary quantities. You now have a chance to choose your salary and career from three randomly-chosen cards, assuming you take the time to go to college. Four kinds of insurance have been resolved down to two: auto and homeowner's. The confusing "stock market" bar has been replaced with "stock certificates" that pay off whenever someone spins that number. Best of all, certain spaces -- "night school", "taxes due", "throw a party", and so forth -- pay off to specific players if those players hold certain careers. All these changes are improvements, IMO: it's easier to follow all the rules, and it's more fun the more people are playing.

However, I still think there's room for improvement. What benefits and losses might be incurred if you don't want to get married, for example, or you choose to pursue a homosexual lifestyle? Why do doctors take just as long to finish college as teachers? Why can't you cash in your stock certificates upon retirement? Why don't you lose money every payday the more children you have? And should there be spaces like "Divorce! Pay half your salary in alimony" or "Tornado strikes! Collect insurance and buy new home"?

Realistically, it's more like "The Game of Idyllic Suburban Life", but then again it was created in the 1950s. It leaves room for good-natured abuse, too. My stepdaughter decided to make up for not having any children one game by stealing my pink-peg daughter and accusing me of leaving her to wander the roadside for three hours negligently. I retorted that it didn't matter if she had the most money at the end: she had never landed on the "Become a born-again Christian" space (there isn't one), so she was going to Hell and all her ill-bought gains would avail her naught in the afterlife.