It was Nov. 5, 1935, when Parker Bros. began selling a game developed by Philadelphia’s Charles Darrow. Now, 80 years later, more than a billion people have played Monopoly, according to its manufacturers.
The game’s appearance has evolved over the years. The tokens, originally inspired by Darrow’s nieces charm bracelets, have been updated, and regions other than Atlantic City have developed their own licensed versions. But the game’s point remains exactly as Darrow first imagined it. “Idea is to force the other players into bankruptcy,” TIME explained in 1936, after the game had dominated the 1935 Christmas season, “leaving the winner with all the assets and no customers.”
It was, TIME noted, “a parlor pastime generally calculated to appeal to the baldest acquisitive instincts.”
Read more about the game’s early days, here in the TIME Vault: Monopoly & Politics