HAL-like computer tower rules Monopoly Live

Like the Eye of Sauron, the all-seeing tower in Monopoly Live knows everything. Don't even think of cheating, because you can't.

Monopoly Live: You can pass Go if the tower says so. Video screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET

Like counting your money? You'll be deprived of that pleasure in the new version of Monopoly that Hasbro shown off at the 2011 Toy Fair in New York this week.

A computer tower controls all transactions in Monopoly Live, and players insert bank cards into slots as they would with an ATM. Tracking everything with its infrared eyes, the tower looms like the Eye of Sauron.

Or the eye of HAL, if you prefer science fiction.

The classic tokens, properties, and plastic buildings have been retained, but there's no paper money; dice; or Chance or Community Chest cards.

The tower does all that, along with barking instructions to players, as seen in the vid below. An added feature involves sending a plastic cab around on a rail to dodge taxes, and the tower can sometimes announce random events like a horse race or property auction.

In classic Monopoly, players wheel and deal with each other, screaming for rent and hiding $100 bills up a sleeve or under the board. In Monopoly Live, they seem to be interacting with the computer. Is that the purpose of a board game?

Sure, board game manufacturers have to do whatever they can to stay relevant to younger generations in this age of iPhone games. I just don't think that closing the pod bay doors on social interaction is the right approach.

Monopoly Live is slated for a fall 2011 release. What do you think? Would you take on the tower?