McDonald's Monopoly game: A great promotion gone bad?

McDonald's Monopoly game 2009 is being played at McDonald's restaurants around the globe and, like every year at this time, I find myself compelled to buy fries and soft drinks in an effort to hoard game pieces. Yet, this year, the joy of this annual endeavor seems to be fading.

At one time, all you had to do was buy something, get a game piece and place it on your special Monopoly board. But now players who want to take their best shot at prizes ranging from $50 to $1 million must navigate Facebook, send text messages, log into McDonald's online sweepstakes site and watch NBC's Jay Leno show to see what, if anything, they've won.