You know the machine whereby you have to put a one-dollar coin in to have a try at grabbing a soft toy with a claw?
The official name for the machine is called a claw crane, though many of us would just call it a claw machine.
Highly popular in the early nineties in Singapore, it is still available in arcades, usually played by dating couples.
If you’ve come to our app daily (you really should because Facebook doesn’t allow any app to be opened direct from their browser), you’d have known that recently, someone from Taiwan caught an iPhone XS but it turned out to be merely a box with chocolates.
Now that’s downright cheating, but it makes you wonder: how about those with soft toys?Are the machines rigged?
Fun (and Sad) Fact: Some Machines Can be Rigged
If you’ve played it before, you’ll know how frustrating it is: the grip of the claw seems weak most of the times, but all of a sudden, it seems to have taken some steroids and is able to grab well.
Some people would attribute everything to skill and experience, but here’s the revelation that will shock you: it’s never about you, the player, but about the owner of the machines.
While the player’s experience does play a part, the involvement isn’t as much as how the machine is being configured. Yes, here’s the shocking part: some machine can be configured to let the owner decide whether there would be more winners that day, or less winners.
You see, the newer machines have some means for the owner to adjust the strength of the claw’s grip or the distance between the claw’s fingers. They can even be remotely controlled—if the owner realizes that there’s a couple who might be spending more and not mind losing money, they can decrease the grip strength through a hand-held machine.
According to an investigative report by today.com, a journalist bought a claw machine and could rig the machine to decide the odds of winning. In fact, there are online service manuals available online on how to set the “skill level”–which of course means the strength of the claw.
We tried looking for one and it didn’t take long to find a pdf of a service manual. In it, it shows how to program the “percentage” of winning depending solely on how much you want to earn: if your soft toy is expensive, you can change it accordingly.
In fact, there’s even a way to program it in advance to have it on different odds every week.
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For example, the owner can program it to increase the claw’s grip once every one hundred tries. This would mean that for every $100 spent on the machine, it will most likely dispense one.
Of course we’re not going to link it here because those claw machines owners might throw rotten eggs at us; you merely need to Google “claw machine manual’.
To make you even more disappointed, there’s one more unethical way for the owner to save money: once the machine has given out too many prizes in a period of time, it’ll automatically go out of order. That can’t be verified but hey: you’re already feeling cheated right?
Of course, we can’t confirm the authenticity of this unless we’re the owner, but this information is readily available online.
Then again, we’re not saying every owner would do that—it’s just that the machine provides the possibility, and it’s all business. It’s so bad that some have related it to a slot machine, whereby it’s all about numbers and not about skills.
Whatever is the case, next time you failed to grab a soft toy despite repeated tries, just don’t go apeshit: it might not be your fault after all.
If you die-die want that soft toy, simply stand at one side and wait for people to “lose”. Time your entry and chances of winning are slightly higher.
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