Those grabber games

desura

Diamond Member
Mar 22, 2013
4,627
129
101
You know, the grabber games where for a dollar you move the arm and then try to get it to knock down the prizes.

Do you know anyone who is really really good at it? Are there any strategies to use?

It might be worth it to like get a practice machine at home...
 

MagnusTheBrewer

IN MEMORIAM
Jun 19, 2004
24,135
1,594
126
You know, the grabber games where for a dollar you move the arm and then try to get it to knock down the prizes.

Do you know anyone who is really really good at it? Are there any strategies to use?

It might be worth it to like get a practice machine at home...

Dreaming of being an arcade "star?"
 

mrjminer

Platinum Member
Dec 2, 2005
2,739
16
76
I have a friend that is pretty good at it. I think it's just practice/experience for the operation on a machine-by-machine basis (though they are all pretty similar), but what might be transferred is identifying the items that have a higher rate of being grabbed successfully based on their position.
 

GagHalfrunt

Lifer
Apr 19, 2001
25,297
2,000
126
The strategy is not to play.

If you insist upon winning junk and spending 10 times more than it's worth, then the strategy is to watch the machine and learn the cycle. Nobody is good at those games, they're rigged. The claw is set to only close strongly enough to actually grasp a prize once out of every xx plays. The rest of the time it will release the prize no matter who is at the controls. You can only win when the machine lets you win, so try to figure out the intervals between wins. Then watch the machine and count the losses when other suckers play and jump back on when its time for a payout.
 

SaurusX

Senior member
Nov 13, 2012
993
0
41
The claw is set to only close strongly enough to actually grasp a prize once out of every xx plays. The rest of the time it will release the prize no matter who is at the controls.

This is correct. The claw will intentionally have no grabbing power most of the time.
 

DesiPower

Lifer
Nov 22, 2008
15,366
740
126
The strategy is to locate an item that is actually light enough and not stuck under any thing else. I used to be fairly at them back in the days.
 
Oct 20, 2005
10,978
44
91
You know, the grabber games where for a dollar you move the arm and then try to get it to knock down the prizes.

Do you know anyone who is really really good at it? Are there any strategies to use?

It might be worth it to like get a practice machine at home...

How do you define "worth it"? Let's say you are able to buy a machine for your home for $500. You practice for hours and hours (100+).

You are now ready to clear out those machines.

Let's say each machine has like 50 prizes. Each attempt is $1. At the very minimum, you spend $50. You do this for 10 stores.

You've now spent, at the very least, $500 (machine) + $50 (50 attempts) x 10 = $1,000.

You now have 500 stuffed animals that are worth maybe $1 each. However, you won't be able to sell them, so really they are worth $0.

Was that really "worth it"?
 

SlitheryDee

Lifer
Feb 2, 2005
17,252
19
81
How do you define "worth it"? Let's say you are able to buy a machine for your home for $500. You practice for hours and hours (100+).

You are now ready to clear out those machines.

Let's say each machine has like 50 prizes. Each attempt is $1. At the very minimum, you spend $50. You do this for 10 stores.

You've now spent, at the very least, $500 (machine) + $50 (50 attempts) x 10 = $1,000.

You now have 500 stuffed animals that are worth maybe $1 each. However, you won't be able to sell them, so really they are worth $0.

Was that really "worth it"?

I remember most of those machines having an ipod classic or similar expensive item buried in there somewhere amongst the shitty prizes. If you only had to spend $50 or even $100 to clear out a machine that would net you a tidy profit, assuming you stuck with the ones that have at least one $100+ prize in the mix.

Of course you probably would spend more like $500 per machine because of how they screw you on some turns.
 
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Drako

Lifer
Jun 9, 2007
10,706
161
106
Find a little girl/boy to climb inside the machine. That's the best strategy. :awe:
 

RagingBITCH

Lifer
Sep 27, 2003
17,619
2
76
I pwned those machines left and right growing up. I'd go somewhere with the parents and come back with a few stuffed animals for a few quarters worth of play if I saw a machine.

What's the secret? Simple fact is, not everything in there is grabbable. What's easier to pickup - a box filled loosely with stuffed animals, or one jammed with animals by hand? Obviously, the former.

Just look for animals not stuffed in - sometimes you got lucky and the employee had just thrown a bunch in without stuffing it - pretty easy pickings. Otherwise, you'd have to find the "loose" one. What was even easier was waiting behind someone else to play it. I'd almost always see someone grab an animal, it falls out when the claw goes back up or moves, and they leave. That's pretty much a gimme since you know it's loose.

Another thing is lining up the claw. Imagine the front of the machine where you are controlling the joystick - moving the claw left and right is the X-axis, moving it forward (away) or back (towards you) is the Y-axis. Most people would line up the X-axis and eyeball the Y. I'd line up the X, line up the Y, then move around to the side of the machine and make sure the Y-axis was lined up too. (I can say most people are too close to the front of the machine, at least from my own experience in making adjustments to the Y)

The places like Chuck E Cheese, Dave and Busters, or specific family oriented joints tended to have the most tightly packed IMO just b/c they knew kids were running free reign with assloads of tokens. The best pickings were the quasi arcades like in movie theaters, where teens making minimum wage just threw a bunch in.

With regards to weight - that does make a diff in some cases if it was heavily weighted on one end of the animal. IE, a large head or body and the claw only grabbed the lighter part. If the animal is laying flat, you had a better chance of keeping it in the claw once it raised up.

Those were the good days. I took my 7 year old daughter to D&B a month ago...still got it :) She was amazed I snagged three things for her.
 

desura

Diamond Member
Mar 22, 2013
4,627
129
101
How do you define "worth it"? Let's say you are able to buy a machine for your home for $500. You practice for hours and hours (100+).

You are now ready to clear out those machines.

Let's say each machine has like 50 prizes. Each attempt is $1. At the very minimum, you spend $50. You do this for 10 stores.

You've now spent, at the very least, $500 (machine) + $50 (50 attempts) x 10 = $1,000.

You now have 500 stuffed animals that are worth maybe $1 each. However, you won't be able to sell them, so really they are worth $0.

Was that really "worth it"?

Modern machines now have ipads inside.
 

RelaxTheMind

Platinum Member
Oct 15, 2002
2,245
0
76
...
The places like Chuck E Cheese, Dave and Busters, or specific family oriented joints tended to have the most tightly packed IMO just b/c they knew kids were running free reign with assloads of tokens. The best pickings were the quasi arcades like in movie theaters, where teens making minimum wage just threw a bunch in.
...

ive had the opposite experience at several dave and busters. the giant claw machine and the medium sized ones you can win like 1 in 3 tries. i forget but i think the math on those cards you load come out o like ~$2 a try.

the ones with those smooth fish tank rocks at the bottom can be pretty easy if its deep enough. got two working out in the yard watches from one a few years ago.
 

Meghan54

Lifer
Oct 18, 2009
11,527
5,044
136
I'm not half bad at claw machines, but my brother absolutely shames me on them.

And it's a lot like has been mentioned before....stuffed machines you just walk on by unless something's already been "unstuffed" enough to grab.

Used to play the ones at the county fairs when they had them....never stuffed, very easy to win. Sadly, they quit carrying those machines around with them.

Most places tend to stuff, tho. And I avoid the two paddle claws like the plague. Almost assured to lose no matter how many times you play or how the machine's stuffed, unless you manage to hook an appendage on an animal/whatever.

I play for stuffed animals for my dogs for toys. If I can't get something in two tries, which is rare, I leave it.
 

Paladin3

Diamond Member
Mar 5, 2004
4,933
877
126
I used to work for a theme park chain in the games and attractions department repairing games equipment like crane games. On most of them you can definitely set the strength of the claw so it only has 100% holding power after a set number of tries. It's totally rigged against you if the operator chooses to do so.

The key to the operator making good money on a crane game is to set it so enough people do win to keep people playing. Setting it to impossible actually loses you money. That means that usually the larger the prize the harder it is to win, assuming you have an ethical operator.

Back when plush (stuffed animals) could be had for cheap from China you could set a pretty good win rate on the machines. Now that shipping and prices have gone up it's harder to run a machine like that and have a decent win rate due to increased cost of prizes. Also, games plush is not the same quality as nice retail plush. Don't confuse what you see in a $1 crane game with $50 Gund teddy bear.

Now some scumbag operators get greedy and purposely set it to impossible 100% of the time. These are the same guys who pack the prizes in tightly. Smart people don't play those games.

A crane game is technically a game of skill as opposed to a game of chance. It takes skill to drop the crane directly over the prize. If an operator start setting the claw to only hold at full power a set number of times, the game starts to become a game of chance, which is technically gambling and illegal in most places.

All states regulate games of skill, some more aggressively than others. When I worked in Los Angeles County, CA we were regulated by the Los Angeles County Vice Squad to make sure our games were all skill games and not games of chance. I once had my cranes almost shut down by the vice squad because my prize level had dropped too low on a busy day.

We didn't pack our prizes, we fluffed them instead and made sure the claws always had 100% closing strength on every play. These were crane games with plush prizes in them, not iPods and high dollar crap like that. Our goal was to have people win so they would continue to play and encourage others to also. We made money by monitoring our prize payout and putting appropriately priced prizes in the machine so we turned a profit. Any good game operator will have a decent payout rate for their prizes so the guest has a good time. Just remember that the more expensive the prize the harder the game will usually be to win.

Theme parks, mobile carnivals and retail businesses sometimes fall into different categories depending on the state or county they are in and the agency that regulates games of skill there. In some areas there is zero regulation and unscrupulous operators take advantage of that. If you go someplace like a Six Flags park you will usually stand a decent chance of winning. At a county fair you may be throwing money away.

More than you ever wanted to know, huh?