“The Search For Marvin Gardens” by John McPhee is an overview of how the creator of the well-known board game Monopoly was made. It discusses the various cities and street names that the game is made up of and how these spots on the board came to be. It is interesting to read because growing up playing Monopoly, you constantly repeat the names of the streets used in the game, and you use them in everyday language not thinking twice about what Illinois Avenue is really like and in what city it is in. This excerpt sheds light on many of these sort of questions that were always overlooked.
Throughout the excerpt, the creator of Monopoly, Charles B. Darrow goes to the many different areas of Atlantic City, New Jersey to find out where the names of the board game came from. He is curious to find Marvin Gardens because he, nor anyone else in Atlantic City seem to know where it is. Throughout this journey he takes to find Marvin Gardens, he learns about the other places.
The railroads from the game are actually real railroads that helped establish Atlantic City years ago. “The railroads, crucial to any player, were the making of Atlantic City. After the rails were down, houses and hotels burgeoned from Mediterranean and Baltic to New York and Kentucky” (McPhee 11). This correlates to how beneficial the actual railroad system in real life was for Atlantic City to how beneficial the railroads were in the game of Monopoly. “Most places are not such deliberate creations. They are built to satisfy practical needs” (Tuan 166). This is exactly what the railroads did, they helped connect Atlantic City to other cities so people could travel there. This was key to the rise of Atlantic City, just like how the four railroads of the game were key to making money and to give you a better chance at winning the game or monopolizing the entire board.