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How Does Mall Madness Hold Up In 2015?

Attention, Mall Shoppers, it's time to find out if this game is as fun as you remember.

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For most people of a certain age, Mall Madness probably brings back fond memories of something you'd play at sleepovers.

Macey J. Foronda/ BuzzFeed

Almost 30 years after its introduction, the game still holds a special place in many twenty and thritysomethings' hearts.

Recently four BuzzFeeders (aka Mall Shoppers!), with varying degrees of experiences and memories of Mall Madness, played the game and set out to find out if it is still as fun as everyone remembers.

Macey J. Foronda/ BuzzFeed

Or if, maybe, it was never all that great to begin with. Here's what we discovered.

Morgan Shanahan: "I was a child of the '80s. I knew everything about the game before today. "

Sam Stryker: "This game is basically the same thing as a dinosaur to me. It lived and died before I was even born. All I know is, everyone who is older than me in the office seems to know what it is."

Leo Epstein: "Duh. Best game of the '90s."

Brian Galindo: "All I know is that it was a competitive shopping game, like The Hunger Games but with a shopping theme, and that every girl I knew LOVED this game. Oh, also that it was a 3D board game — that I also know."


MS: "I remember playing this and Dream Phone obsessively. A.I. games were apparently all the rage. I have no idea when the last time I played it was."

LE: "The last time I played was probably 1997? Or maybe earlier. I remember getting the game for Hanukkah when I was maybe 7 or 8. I had begged for it; it was the best Hanukkah gift ever."

SS: "It's really colorful, and I'm here for that. It looks like a cross between Clue and Life, but I don't think anyone gets murdered in this game. Or at least I hope they don't."

BG: "It's just like I remember from the commercials — it's also a pretty impressive-looking in person, like, it's pretty detailed and much larger than I expected. Also, I must say, even though the game is clearly marketed towards girls, it's pretty progressive and includes male pawns; or maybe it was less about being progressive and more so that boys would play with their sisters?"


MS: "The idea that you would actually go to a mall instead of just buying stuff online? Also that you would ever pay full price."

SS: "Um...the game itself?"

LE: "The obsession with shopping malls. That the mall could be the pinnacle of coolness and fun and everything you ever wanted. Also: some of the stores. Like, there's a Phone Store [that sells landlines] for crying out loud. At the Electronics Store, the only thing you can buy is a tape deck."

BG: "It just looks SUPER '80s, which is to be expected. Like this was an ideal mall in 1988. Also, would a kid today even have the patience to put this thing together?! So yeah, that would seem dated to me, a kid spending more than 10 minutes on something that isn't an iPad game."


MS: "That it makes you hit the button twice to move to the next player. WHY DOES IT MAKE YOU HIT THE BUTTON TWICE? It's like they had no respect for efficiency in the '80s. Also, it took us for-fucking-ever to figure out how this thing worked when we opened it in 2015."

SS: "Like, why do we keep dipping the credit card? Wasn't there a recession in the '80s? It feels a little excessive."

LE: "I guess when you think about the items you're allowed to 'buy,' some of them make zero sense. Who goes to the mall to buy an exotic parrot (pet shop), or why a young girl would go to the department store to buy a floor lamp is beyond me."

BG: "What was the point of having a credit card? Like, why have it if you're supposed to pay everything in cash?"


MS: "At first it was like I'd never played it before, but once I got in to the groove I vaguely remembered how it worked. My memories revolved mostly around setting up the game, so I have a feeling we might not have been doing that much actual playing of it?"

LE: "It definitely took me down memory lane to see those cardboard credit cards again and that paper money I used to pretend was real. But yes, some of the magic was destroyed when I realized how boring the game was."

After finally figuring out how to play the game, we quickly realized that the game was rather mundane. Just shop (buy six items without running out of cash) and leave the mall before everyone else. Sam accomplished this in about 20 minutes and won the game.

MS: "Mmmm, I think it's pretty terrible. If you had a finite amount of money to play with I might be able to convince myself that it taught money management skills or something, but since the point of this game is literally to buy as much stuff as you can and there is an endless supply of cash, I'm gonna say not good."

SS: "I mean, no. The moral of this game is 'spend money quickly and you'll be rewarded for it.' Like, 'shop 'til you drop' isn't a great mentality, especially when you're a twentysomething like me! But enjoyed it, mainly because I won!!! Like, god bless, the first (and probably only time) I played, and I came in with a bang!!! I mean, props to me, right?""

LE: "It's definitely superficial. But it's also pretty boring. I think it's fairly innocuous."

BG: "Nah, it's pretty bad, definitely a product of its time. Especially since it just reinforces gender stereotypes. Also, the game is incredibly boring. To be honest, I think funnest part of the game was actually setting the board game up. Maybe that's why everyone remembers loving the game?"

MS: "I'm all set, thanks. ;)"

SS: "I mean, I can't really, right? I won! I'm undefeated in Mall Madness. I can't taint my legacy!"

LE: "If alcohol was involved."

BG: "Um. No. Although Leo does make a good point: This game might be 100 times better if alcohol was involved."