Mall Madness is a shopping themed board game released by Milton Bradley (later versions are titled as Electronic Mall Madness). The original game was released in 1988, and an electronic talking version was sold starting in 1989. Milton Bradley updated the game in 1996 with a new design, and another updated version was released in 2004. Most information in this article is based on the original game's version.
The game was designed for players aged 9 and up. The targeted consumer was teenage girls, usually 11 to 16 years old. Milton Bradley made several commercials for the game. Arguably the most memorable one was from 1990. The camera showed alternating shots of four girls shopping in a real mall, and playing the game at home. After one girl moves her pawn to the game board's parking lot she exclaims: "I win!" The other three demonstrate dismay at having lost. The commercials last line is "Mall Madness, it's the mall with it all!" Another version has recently been released; a Hannah Montana special edition and a "Littlest Pet Shop Edition". These versions of Mall Madness were unique in the respect that it specifically targeted fans of them, and Hannah Montanna version was the first version to picture a male on the front of the box.
Mall Madness was sold with all of the following pieces; Box, game board, electronic computer, instruction manual, four rubber pads to prevent wall pieces from slipping, six plastic wall pieces, four cardboard shopping lists, two sale & one clearance signs, eight plastic pawns (two for each colour; red, blue, yellow and green, one was female the other male), forty plastic pegs (used to mark shopping lists), paper money, four cardboard credit cards, and 29 pieces of cardboard which held the game board together and provided necessary illusion.
The board is a three-dimensional field representing a mall with two stories. The bank and the speaker are located in the center. Some of the stores and locations are on the second floor and can only be reached by stairs or elevator.
The game featured an electronic computer which dictated game play. Its colour varied from game to game, but was almost always peach or grey. The computer uses four AA alkaline batteries. All computers in the early version of the game were manufactured in the U.S.A., and Milton Bradley copyrighted the computer in 1989. The computers complied with Part 15 of the FCC's rules. The top of the computer featured three buttons; one to start or reset game play, one to begin and end turns, and one to repeat the last announcement. The computer has two voices, one is female, the other male. There are two slots on the computers top. Both of these slots were designed for the credit cards that accompanied the game. One slot was to buy items, the other was to use the banking feature.
The game had two components of currency; paper cash and credit cards. These were used together to accomplish the game's objective. Four credit cards were included, one for each player. The names of the credit cards are; Fast Cash, Quick Draw, MEGAmoney, and Easy Money.
Mall Madness featured eighteen stores:
- Accessory Store
- Science Store
- Shoe Store
- Pet Shop
- Record Store
- Fashion Boutique
- Card Shop
- Kitchen Store
- Camera Store
- Sports Shop
- Computer Store
- Jewelry Store
- Phone Store
- Department Store
- Toy Store
Players could also visit four other areas:
- Movie Theater
- Ice Cream
A limited variety of items could be purchased, the most inexpensive being pizza, which is five dollars, and the most expensive is a regular priced exotic parrot, which is two hundred dollars.
Object of the Game
The object of the game is to be the first player to purchase six items on the player's shopping list and get back to the arcade or parking lot, depending on the version of the game. For a more challenging game play, the goal can be increased up to ten items.
The game takes place on a board representing a two-story mall. The game is designed for two to four players. Each player receives $150 from one player who is designated to be the banker. The banker dispenses cash in the following manner; one $50 bill, three $20 bills, three $10 bills, and two $5 bills. The first player presses the computer's gameplay button, which directs the player to move a random number of spaces. When arriving at a store, each player can make purchases with a cardboard credit card, and the computer tracks the game play. After the player purchases items with credit card he/she will pay the banker with the appropriate amount of cash. At the start of each turn, an electronic voice announces a clearance at one store and sales at two others, players can use these sales to their advantage, since it takes up a turn to get to the ATM.
At random intervals, a player may be given a clearance or a sale at a store that does not currently have one. Other times, a player may have to pay an additional fee for the item.
Sometimes, the game will refuse a sale, or will refuse to dispense more cash. Occasionally, the game will randomly instruct players to move to the bank, the arcade, restrooms, or to various stores.
Once a player gets six of the items on their list, they must be the first to reach the arcade or parking lot. The first person to accomplish this wins the game.