Japan’s Yoron Island to host real world Game of LIFE

Above, Yoron island, which resembles the shape of the spinner in the Game of Life below.

You could be a winner in the Game of LIFE—the real-life, large-scale version on Japan’s Yoron Island, that is.

Just in time for the summer travel season and the 45th anniversary of the Game of LIFE in Japan, Yoron Island will host a real-life version of the Milton Bradley board game from July 20 to September 16.

As in the popular pastime, players will shuttle across the board—er, island—in a bus and encounter ersatz versions of life’s milestones: finding a spouse, earning a diploma, landing a career, having kids, and reaching retirement.

Entrance is $5, and the seven-week-long adventure features a large roulette wheel, 18 square foot board tiles, and play money.

The concept is not just whimsical, it’s a way to draw more tourists to Japan’s petite, southern island, which measures 24km in circumference.

According to ABC News, the idea came about last year when the head of Yoron's Chamber of Commerce was stuck indoors all day due to a particularly fierce typhoon.

"He had some guests with young children and didn't have power. They didn't have anything to do except play board games," event coordinator and Chamber member Takanori Iwamoto told ABC News. "At that time he realized that the piece of the game looked just like Yoron."

Indeed, the section of the Game of LIFE board in which the spinner lies loosely resembles the bell-like shape of Yoron Island.

Aside from the admission fee, no actual money will change hands. However, players can choose to claim leftover play money in the form of gift certificates.

Yoron’s Chamber of Commerce hopes that fans of Jinsei Gemu, as the game is known in Japan, will flock to the area to take part in the festivities. Following a year in which Typhoons Bolaven, Sanba, and Jelawat hit Japan’s shores, now more than ever Yoron needs a chance at a second life.