JOETOPIA: You’ve never played games like these

If you braved the Black Friday crowds in search of that espresso maker/margarita blender or the 95-inch HDTV, you might have been too consumed by consumerism to preview the toys on your Christmas shopping list this year.

If that was the case, then you also missed out on the news of the major changes coming to some classic games this year.

I only know about it because I have some high-placed, top-secret sources from the North Pole who have assured me — and who know I would never, ever exaggerate anything — that these new editions are 110 percent accurate and sure to arrive on store shelves within days.

If any of these titles are on your list, you will absolutely want to wait for their latest, cutting-edge versions with never-before-seen, real-life drama and excitement. Here they are:

NBA 2K12

This latest version of the popular video game has been updated to include all the best action from this year’s labor fight.

Choose which member of the pro basketball negotiating team you want to play Derek Fisher, David Stern, Billy Hunter and more.

Shop for fancy suits and bling, and practice arguing over how many gazillions of dollars represents fair pay for playing a schoolyard game or owning a team.

Trade slam dunks and trash talking for press conferences and trash talking.

Earn bonus points the longer you keep hot-dog vendors out of work.

Run the league completely into the ground and you can win a free copy of NCAA Football 12.

NCAA Football 12

This year’s edition — available on Atari platforms everywhere — promises to take you to where the action really is: off the field.

Instead of leading your star quarterback to the BCS title game, work to accumulate more tattoos than your friends by trading your autographed jerseys.

Only the best of the best will learn the tricks needed to hawk that Heisman Trophy for a BMW 5 series.

Looking for a bigger challenge? Play the role of athletic director and work on covering up the schemes of your dirty players. Or be a university president, dodge the media and try not to get canned when your staff scandal breaks.

This version of the game comes with all new environments to explore beyond the playing field. We’re talking executive offices, skyboxes, locker rooms — where the real deals are brokered and crimes committed.


This game has been totally revamped for 2012 because, seriously, when was the last time we saw warfare by battleship?

The game will now be called Predator Drone.

Trade off directing NATO airstrikes or leading Moammar Gahdafi’s convoy through the desert.

Unfortunately, the new edition of this game is still decidedly low-tech.

So the big difference from the original is, thanks to all of our advanced satellite technology, you no longer get to hide your military positions, which kind of takes the fun out of what was a strategic guessing game.


This has long been one of the few games that encourages players to be at least mildly apologetic for thwarting a competitor’s attempt to better his or her social situation.

If you must disrupt my journey, prevent me from going home and send me back to start, at least be a bit regretful about it.

In today’s political climate, though, the manufacturers have decided that they simply could not make a living off a game centered around such high moral principles.

In the new version, everything is the same except the title.

It’s now called “Screw You,” and players are encouraged to be as nasty, selfish and mean-spirited as possible. (This can happen anyway in Sorry, but now it will be more overt.)

Rumor has it the Republican Party has already placed a 500,000-unit preorder to use the game as gifts at next year’s convention in Tampa Bay.


Lots of changes are in store for the Parker Brothers’ classic.

Start with no more bank errors in your favor. All bank errors are in the bank’s favor.

Instead, you can default on your credit card and pay $200, have the bank foreclose on your home and pay $200,000, or declare bankruptcy, turn all of your little plastic houses over to BofA and go directly to the poorhouse.All the gradations of property value and color have changed as well.

Only two remain: 20 dilapidated purple properties all named Modesto Street and two glittery blue properties called Orange County.

Be happy if you manage to acquire Orange County because it means you’re part of the 1 percent.

If not, the best you can hope for is to draw one of the new Occupy cards from the Chance pile, which will allow you to advance to Newport Beach and set up a tent city instead of paying the normal obscene rent to visit a hotel there.

Also, in addition to the “Go directly to jail” card, we now have the “Get pepper-sprayed” card, the “Get tear-gassed” card and the “Get beaten over the head with a billy club, zip-tied and called a dirty, lazy hippie who should go find a job” card.

As usual, you win the game when you acquire all the property on the board and force all the other players to live in cardboard boxes.

Wait, this is a game?