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Last Updated: Friday, 10 October, 2003, 00:20 GMT 01:20 UK
Ghettopoly game sparks outrage
By Yaroslav Lukov
BBC News Online

Instead of what is known in the US as Boardwalk and in the UK as Mayfair, there is Smitty's XXX Peep Show.

And in this game you can play as Pimp, Machine Gun or Marijuana Leaf, unless you fancy being Crack.

Ghettopoly board game
The game claims to make fun of gangsta-rap and ghetto culture
Ghettopoly - based on a traditional Monopoly family board game - became an instant hit when it went on sale on the internet and in shops across America and in Europe earlier this year.

The game claims to make fun of gangsta-rap and ghetto culture, but it has already drawn a hail of criticism from several organisations in the United States.

In fact, the outrage has been so fierce that on Thursday the company which has been selling Ghettopoly in its chain of shops in the US and Europe decided to pull out.

"Due to customer concerns Urban Outfitters are no longer selling the game," the Philadelphia-based company told BBC News Online.

Reverend Robert P. Shine Sr, president of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity, said the game was "a corporate endorsement of the denigration of African Americans".

You got yo whole neighbourhood addicted to crack. Collect $50 from each playa
Ghettopoly board game
"If we are silent on this issue there is more of this type to come," he was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency during a rally on Wednesday demanding that the game be banned in US shops.

'Amazing game'

But the game's inventor, 28-year-old David Chang, has brushed aside all the charges, saying that Ghettopoly is just a fun game, satirising modern urban stereotypes.

"It (the game) draws on stereotypes not as a means to degrade, but as a medium to bring together in laughter," Mr Chang says on his website.

"If we can't laugh at ourselves... we'll continue to live in blame and bitterness".

The "playas" in the ($29.95) game compete with each other to become rich through "buying stolen properties, pimpin hoes, building crack houses and getting car jacked".

In Ghettopoly, a player will definitely not be blaming anybody if he picks up a Hustle card.

"You are a little short on loot, so you decided to stick up a bank. Collect $75," the card says.

Drawing Ghetto Stash also means you are in luck as the card says: "You got yo whole neighborhood addicted to crack. Collect $50 from each playa."

Instead of Monopoly's Park Place or Park Lane, Ghettopoly's properties include Westside Liquor, Harlem, Ling Ling's Massage Parlour or Tyron's Gun Shop.

"It's an amazing game," Oliver Hobson, a shop manager of Urban Outfitters UK Limited in London, told BBC News Online.

Mr Hobson said 15 games had been already sold, with buyers knowing about the game by word of mouth from their friends.

Encouraged by the success of Ghettopoly, Mr Chang promises that more games - Hoodopoly, Hiphopopoly, Thugopoly and Redneckopoly - will be coming soon.

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