Unless you’re small enough to climb inside, grabbing a prize out a claw machine can be pretty tough. But Daily Beast entertainment reporter Jen Yamato and film critic Kim Morgan are extremely, great at it: toy crane game machine estimates that she’s nabbed 100 toys from your prize pits of claw machines, which she’s deposited in their car and at her house, and at one point, Morgan says, she had “two large garbage bags overflowing with stuffed animals from just one single year. I donated them.”
Morgan has long been attracted to claw machines, but got really hooked in 2008: “Must function as the dumb kid in me that spies a big box of stuffed toys,” she says. “A claw? It’s almost something out from the Brothers Grimm … Once I clawed six animals consecutively. There was a crowd around me! It was so silly.” Yamato’s obsession with claw games began in her adult life. “I only realized I found myself good at it because I kept winning stuff and i also was keeping tabs on it on Instagram,” she says. “I’m an experienced person quite often, and it’s among the only things which I will let myself be completely competitive about. … You can bask within the glory of holding your bounty high above your mind and saying, ‘Yes, I snatched this prize using this machine! I beat it!’”
It could seem like fun and games-and, of course, it is. But there’s real skill involved, too. Here are the strategies Morgan and Yamato use to nab a prize.
The very first thing you should consider when contemplating playing arcade fish game machine may be the prize pit-specifically, how tightly the prizes are packed. “An easy tell occurs when every one of the stuffed animals have already been front faced and they’re packed in like sardines,” Yamato says. “That means nobody has jiggled anything loose yet, or even a staff member recently stuffed them in super tight.” A tightly-packed prize pit will make your career a great deal harder: “I’m not going to bother playing a piece of equipment that is clearly stuffed too tight,” Yamato says. “I won’t be capable of reel anything in.”
Morgan agrees. “If the toys are stuffed so tightly that grabbing is impossible, don’t waste your time and effort,” she says. “I think it’s preferable to find those weird lone claw machines in places where seem more abandoned-they don’t get stuffed just as much. Those are the only places you may win because there’s more room to drag an animal.”
“Don’t necessarily watch the direction they play, but watch exactly how the machine reacts once they play-that information can assist you whenever you are considering become your turn,” Yamato says. “I will see if the claw grip is too loose, or maybe it’s designed to let go or give you a jiggle after it grasps something, then I won’t play because I realize the odds are definitely against me … unless it’s an incredibly, really sweet toy i want. Then I’ll spend some extra time.”
Yamato and Morgan go once the prize that appears the most attainable. “Sometimes, the most desirable prizes will be the hardest ones to get,” Yamato says. “Being realistic about what you can win in any given machine will allow you to win considerably more.”
“If the pretty pony within the far end, stuffed tightly near the cute teddy bear, is surely an impossible option, you’re going to have to settle using the ugly duck/monster thing with red shoes and a cape or no matter what hell it really is and tolerate it,” Morgan says.
The optimal prize is “sticking out slightly, isn’t being blocked or obstructed by almost every other prizes, and isn’t too near the side,” Yamato says. (When a prize is leaning from the glass, the claw track won’t permit the claw to have close enough to nab it.) Morgan also advises sticking with prizes which are close to the chute: “Don’t drag something from your very end from the machine,” she says. “That rarely works.”
Yamato also avoids round or rotund objects. “Those take time and effort because most of the time there’s absolutely nothing to grab onto,” she says. Instead, target a prize containing some sort of appendage-a head, or even an arm or perhaps a leg-sticking out: “Something you may get one of several claw prongs under is your best bet, if the angle’s right.”
After Yamato has picked her prize, she’ll play once, “to test the tensile grip of the claw to view how easily it can hold after it closes,” she says. “A lot of them will jiggle open just after they close, so even if you’ve caught something, it’ll screw you over by opening the claws a bit.” If it happens, Yamato says she won’t play again … “probably.”
Generally, it’s easier to play machines who have a 3-pronged claw as opposed to a two-pronged claw: “It’s all about the grip-when the claw carries a weak grip, forget it,” Morgan says. “The two-pronged claws seem weaker in my opinion.”
“One approach is bumping another animal out of the way to grab another,” Morgan says. She also advises grabbing and dragging a prize nearer to the chute to help you to grab on your second try.
Most claw machines drop and grab with one push of the mouse; some need two pushes-anyone to drop the claw, another to seal it-but that’s rare. In either case, “Most machines offer you plenty of time to position your claw, and the majority of them will allow you to move it forward and backward and then sideways,” Yamato says. “I usually try and spend usually of your clock running down to make sure that I’m exactly above where I want the claw to decrease.” Once you’re within the best possible position, drop it.
Most machines cost 50 cents to play, so Yamato will devote a dollar. “Maybe half enough time I get a prize on my small first dollar,” she says. “I’ll usually play several dollars at many before I know that I ought to walk away. It’s like gamb-ling-for no monetary gain!”
Morgan says grabbing a prize usually takes her a number of tries “on good machines,” she says. “On bad machines-and they also seem worse now-it takes me about five to ten times or never. I am going to not go past ten. That creates me feel as if a junkie.”
A few weeks ago, Vox posted an article that explained how kids indoor amusement game owners can rig them-but Yamato doesn’t think that’s true for every single game. “People might play less since they think every claw machine is rigged to screw them over, yet not all claw machines are rigged,” she says. “I always assume that every claw is winnable-it’s only a matter of exactly how much I wish to stand there while keeping playing if I know already that the particular machine is sort of stuck.” But people should prevent the machines that have money wrapped round the prizes: “In my experience,” Yamato says, “those are often those who 14dexcpky rigged.”
Morgan, alternatively, does think that most of the machines are rigged-which is why she would rather play machines in places off the beaten path, such as California’s Yucca Valley. “Are they less rigged from the desert? I feel so,” she says. “I have incredible luck available. I usually play in the desert.”