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History of Professional Games

Professional Games began more than 30 years ago during Watergate and the impeachment trial of Richard Nixon. James Vail, a lawyer, designed a game called Jurisprudence to further educate the public about people's Constitutional rights. Then U.S. Representative John Anderson as well as a couple of judges wrote nice reviews of the game. The game was later renamed Trial Lawyer. Today it is called Attorney Power, with an updated set of Supreme Court questions.

A great many letters asked if he had a medical game. That prompted Vail to design Medical Monopoly. Since Medical Monopoly teaches its player first aid, anatomy and the diagnostic process, he asked the American Medical Association (AMA) to review it. One of the MD's did so and then told him that he was ridiculing the medical profession by having the game's winner being the first to fill his or her hospital with patients. "The object of medicine," she said, "is to get people out of hospitals, not to put them in."

The game, which is fun as well as educational, is a spoof of the medical profession. A review in Detroit Health Care News said it best: "Four hospitals race against one another to be the first to fill up its beds with patients. Each hospital has a staff doctor running around town, looking for patients and for medicine and facilities to treat them with. Sound like a marketing scenario of our modern health care industry? Well, its 'Medical Monopoly,' a game that bears some resemblance to the real world, but mostly it's just a fun way to learn a little more about medicine."

This review was written in 1980, a year after the boardgame first entered the market. The Chicago Tribune gave the game an honorable mention in the top ten games of 1999. Today, Medical Monopoly continues to be sold in educational, gift and health care outlets. James Vail had his eyes on inventing a third game called 'The Religion Game.' But for now, God will have to wait.

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© 2008 Professional Games

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