Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The New Candy Land: More Sickening Than Sweet

I love Candy Land. I loved playing it as a child. I love playing it with my children. And I love using it in therapy with my students. It is colorful and engaging and motivating. I can use it with pretty much any learning target. The sweet characters and friendly game board always bring back fond memories.

I grew up playing this 1984 version:




By the time my first child was old enough to play it, a few changes had been made. This is the 2004 version I bought for my sons:



Plumpy (my favorite!) had been replaced with gingerbread, Gloppy had been turned from molasses into chocolate, and all of the characters had been given an updated look. My kids enjoy this version, but they often play the older one as well. I have the 1984 Candy Land in my speech room. I found it at a thrift shop.

When my students walk in and see Candy Land on the table, it is usually a Friday and they usually respond with  "YAAAAYY!".

While I was browsing the game aisle at Target at the beginning of this school year I was horrified to see that Candy Land has been given a terrible makeover. It doesn't even look like Candy Land. It is more of a sexed up Halloween costume version of Candy Land and certainly does not look appropriate for ages 3+ as the box boldly states.


In fact, the game pieces are not even kids in this version. Children unfortunate enough to play this new 2013 Candy Land can choose between a melting ice cream cone, a screaming gumdrop, a gingerbread girl, or a marshmallow with bloodshot eyes.


Since so many SLPs use Candy Land in their speech rooms, I thought I would write a post to point out the differences between this new game and the old one that we know and love.

The delightfully goofy Mr. Mint has been changed into an ice skating high schooler in an uncomfortably tight costume:


The game's villain, Lord Licorice got the least offensive makeover. He has kept his cape and creepy mustache, but apparently he is also a magician and a pirate now.


The pleasant, hug-able, Gramma Nutt has been turned into a scary bubble-blowing circus act.


The most disturbing changes have been made to the royal Candy Land family. Princess Lolly has been transformed from a sweet little girl into a very sexual, highly inappropriate, character complete with high heels, ultra-short skirt, a corset, and lollipop breasts. Yes. She has lollipop breasts. She does not have a nose, but she does have a facial tattoo. And wings. And did I mention she has lollipop breasts?!



Queen Frostine has been demoted to Princess and is just as trampy looking as new Lolly. Her teeny tiny waist, sky high heels, and gobs of sparkly blue makeup are hardly appropriate for ages 3+. 




Were you able to make it to the end of the game without getting sick? If so, you will be greeted not by the open arms and jolly smile of the pink bearded King Kandy, but by smirking king with a clenched fist and disapproving green jelly bean friends. 


Other notable changes to the 2013 Candy Land:

- No Cards. There is a spinner instead. While this could be good for mess (no cards to fall on the floor!), I prefer using the cards for speech activities. I have even seen some great custom cards on TpT! created by other SLPs!

- Cheaply made board. The board folds into four pieces instead of two and is made of very thin cardboard. It certainly can't stand up to regular use from children.

While my local Target did not carry any other version of Candy Land, you can pick up the  2004 version on Amazon for $13.65. The 1984 version I have in my speech room is getting pretty pricey online (Amazon had it for almost $50) so I recommend searching for that one at a thrift shop. 

I love my job and I love love LOVE working with kids. It just makes me sad to see that so many toys and games look so much more adult these days. Let's just let kids be kids!



11 comments:

  1. Ugh, that is disturbing. Why make-over a perfectly good game? I also found the 1984 version at a thrift shop for about $1.50, and it is one of the kiddos' favorite games!

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    1. I can understand the 2003 revision, to include more than just blond white kids in the packaging. But the others were a terrible idea.

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  2. Wow, I love this post I agree with you 100%. I have the old candy land that I bought for 50 cents at a garage sale, I will old on tight to it.

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  3. Wow. I remember the 1984 Candy Land fondly. Princess Lolly and Queen Frostine were my favorite characters, and I hate the 2013 versions. (At least the 2003 ones were the right ages! Plus, '03 Queen Frostine had ice skates, which are pretty cool.) It's like Hasbro has forgotten which aspects of Candy Land appealed to people: the excitement of the colored cards, the friendly, wholesome characters, and the whimsy of traveling through a world made of delicious candy. 1 out of 3 just isn't enough.

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  4. There was a 2010 edition in between. I find that one to be one of the worst in the batch, but it's good to look at as it shows the evolution between the '04 and '13 versions. That was the one where Queen Frostine was demoted to princess. She also looks a tad slutty. Then there's Mr. Mint who wasn't even in that version. In his place was the unnecessary Duke of Swirl who overlaped with Frostine's realm.

    Candyland has gone through many iterations in its life. It's original 50s version didn't even have characters. I think it was a good move to add them in the 80s. Once you see past nostalgia, you can tell that the old designs needed an update for today's audiences. However, that does not mean that they are headed in the right direction.

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  5. Wow, haven't seen the 2013 version! The 2003 version was hard for the kids to tell where the "road" was the board had too much color. Years ago, I turned my 1984 version board into a Halloween costume. Luckily, a few months ago, I found that (1984) version at Rite Aid. The others were 2003. I grabbed it! We need to collectively write the company & complain with explanation why this version of the board is so offensive & inappropriate.

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  6. I just saw the 2013 version and agree completely with this article- the old versions are so much better for working with kids. I also work with kids with lots of different needs and apart from the changes in the characters themselves and the cheap cardboard used, I feel this game is complete visual overload now! I can't see how any child who has difficulty with visual processing or other learning challenges will be able to filter out all of the additional junk that is on the new board. I think it sadly speaks more to how we are constantly throwing so much stimulation at children nowadays that even what is supposed to be a simple board game feels the need to compete with the level of stimulation that a video game or ipad gives to kids. No wonder we are seeing more and more kids with attention problems- simpler or more basic games or activities don't provide as much motivation or stimulation for some kids and they have less focus or tolerance for them. An interesting point to consider...

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  7. I didn't mind this version of the game and neither do my kids. Considering the recent versions of My Little Pony and Littlest Pet Shop, this seemed like Hasbro's natural next move. Especially considering their recent competition with Monster High and other pop culture iconic toys.

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  8. I was kind of bummed when they got rid of Plumpy, from way, way back when I was a child. But this new 2013 is a travesty!

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  9. This entire post is completely disagreeable on my term.

    The characters are what the Japanese, and some Americans, call 'kawaii'. Myself being an otaku, I naturally know that this mean 'cute'. The ice-cream is melting because, oh, what does ice cream do? It melts. (The character were actually seemingly racist up until the third or fourth version).

    The gingerbread girl is fine.

    The gumdrop is not screaming, she is smiling or seeming happy.

    The marshmallow does not have blood-shot eyes. It's something called blush. Maybe you could have gained a bit of knowledge before posting this.

    And I don't think your kids would like to see a tall man with a fat red nose and a creepy smile. i think a more prince-like figure was in order. That order was served. And in case you didn't know, ice-skaters wear tight suits. use your brain?

    Lord Licorice was freaky before. he looks much better now.

    Gamma Nut wasn't hug-able before, in fact she was kind of strange-looking. She look like a way more pleasant gift-giving Grandmother now- she's even complete with a cute little squirrel pet in her awesome hair.

    Princess Lolly has turned into a beautiful girl instead of a four-year-old- girls can say that they want to be like her when they're older instead of trying to be like her now.

    She has a more lollipop-associated dress- complete with a *PERFECTLY FINE* skirt and a nice top with a cute little bow in her hair. Then it was a yellow sun dress with lollipops on it. And of course she was going to have heels! What did you expect- a princess with vans?

    Queen (or princess) Frostine looks way better now because she doesn't look like a snow mountain with transparent hair. She has features that are more, well, frost-like! And since it's a game about candy, her hair is all the better since it look like ice cream!

    Don't even get me started with King Kandy. He does not have a disapproving jelly bean guard (how do you think you should act in the presence of a king?), he does not look good with a pink beard (he's a freakin' king), and he does not look like he only associated with red candy and cupcakes.

    TL;DR: The newest version of Candyland is way better than the old ones.

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  10. how can a person notice these differences and not hate it! I agree that this new version sucks

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