8 common questions about claw machine

Summary :


Claw machines always look so promising. Pop in a 50 cents and grab the toy or gadget of your choosing. A simple snatch and grab, it should be easy, right? Wrong, of course.


Quick Navigation :


• 1. Why are claw machines so hard?

• 2. Are claw machines gambling?

• 3. What are those toy machines called?

• 4. When was the claw machine invented?

• 5. Do cranes have claws?

• 6. Who invented the claw machine?

• 7. Is the claw machine rigged?

• 8. How do you get good at claw machines?




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1. Why are claw machines so hard?


why claw machine so hard


Claw machines always look so promising. Pop in a 50 cents and grab the toy or gadget of your choosing. A simple snatch and grab, it should be easy, right? Wrong, of course.


You probably already know that claw machines are hard. A simple look at a machine manual reveals that the machines can be programmed to only grab at full strength occasionally.


In fact, some machines can actually compute how often they need to grab at full strength in order to make a desired profit. Owners can tweak the machine to drop prizes midair.


They can also program a machine to ensure it’s exceedingly difficult to predict when the claw will have the grip strength required to actually win a prize.


The machines have variable PSI strength settings for the claws. When the machine decides it’s time to pay out, the strength of its grip changes. The claw during 11/12 tries will apply 4-6PSI, or just enough to shuffle it or barely pick it up.


During the 1/12 tries, the claw will apply 9-11 PSI, sometimes picking it up and dropping, some successful. The toys typically require 10 PSI to grasp. Modern machines might allow for greater maneuverability, but they can still manipulate profit margins.


2. Are claw machines gambling?


claw machine prize with money


Within these arcade, sections are games that require the player to insert money(usually quarters) into the machine and offer the player a chance to win stuffed dolls, toys, or other prizes.


Such machines include, but are not limited to, claw machines. However, these machines are illegal gambling devices that require little or no skill and are predominantly games of chance.


The Bureau of Gambling Control has declared that machines including but not limited to claw machines are ‘common types of illegal devices’ under California Penal Code sections 330a, 330b, and 330.1, the complaint states.


A claw machine player uses a joystick to drop a claw one time onto a stuffed animal or another prize. Unlike many other arcade games (e.g. Pac-Man, Skeeball pinball, etc.) which require hand-eye coordination, concentration, and physical skill, the outcome of operation of claw machines are based entirely or predominantly on chance or hazard.


In other words, the player has no ability to control the outcome. The Bureau of Gaming Control clarified that a lawful device is one that is predominantly a game of skill on which what can be won is limited to additional chances or free plays.


If, however, the player has paid to play and can win something other than additional plays, such as food, toys or other prizes, the machines does not qualify for the amusement device exception and is an illegal gambling device.


3. What are those toy machines called?


moj moj claw machine for sale


Practically every place you go these days, you find a wide variety of coin vending machines. Millions of people the world over make use of these machines in search of food, drink, and other bulk items. If you are looking for a way to bring in a little extra cash, you may want to consider starting your own vending machine business.


There are so many distinct types of coin machines, you might have a harder time deciding on which ones to use. A large number of grocery and convenience stores have little candy and gumball machines positioned near their doors.


These always seize the attention of little children, and most parents do not have a problem with handing their kids a few quarters for a tiny treat.


You can find snack machines just about anywhere these days. People are always looking for a fast snack during their lunch and mid-afternoon breaks.


Students are more likely to grab something quick for lunch, and everybody loves a cold drink on a warm day. Plus, since customers are more health conscious these days, if you add healthier snacks to your coin vending machines, more people are likely to buy your products. Then there are all the different toy and claw machines that offer great prizes to the consumer.


If positioned in the right places, these machines can bring in quite a bit of money as people will continuously try to win that something special. These machines can potentially earn you a nice profit, depending on your inventory costs.


4. When was the claw machine invented?


old claw machine


As we all know, the claw machine is a very simple arcade game device. But few people know his true origins. If people really want to trace the source, need to back to the early 20th Century. At that time, the steam shovel used in the excavation of the Panama Canal was fascinating.


The first claw crane machine was invented by imitating the steam shovel, but it was no longer used to dig earth, but candies.


Early claw machines include Panama Digger, Erie Digger, and Miami Digger. With the development of technology, they not only start to use electricity, but also the prizes inside have changed a lot.


The owners no longer pit candies in them, but cigars, lighters, and noble jewelry. The owners also designed new pure gold cabinets to replace cheaper ones, and directly put lots of silver coin rolls to attract more valued customers and gamblers. It is not regarded as simple amusement equipment, but a source of economic or luxury goods.


In the 1950s, new legislation was issued. This time direct the spearhead to the claw machine, which was listed as a gambling violation category. The government began to bulk close down them. Only some in hotels or remote places survived. It also declined from the previous golden age.


5. Do cranes have claws?


claw machine claw


A claw machine(also called a variety of other names) is a type of arcade game known as a merchandiser, commonly found in video arcades, supermarkets, restaurants, movie theaters, and bowling alleys.


A claw crane may also be referred to as a teddy picker, candy crane, claw machine, crane vending machine, arcade claw, grab machine, crane game or simply the claw.


A claw crane consists of many parts, but the basic components are a PCB, power supply, currency detector, credit/timer display, joystick, wiring harness, bridge assembly, and claw. The claw will have two or more prongs or arms, although most claws will usually have three.


An alternative version of the machine, popular in arcades, is the two button version: one marked with a forward arrow, one with a right arrow. The crane starts near the front, left side of the machine and the users press first the forward button to move the crane towards the back of the cabinet.


Once the button is released the crane stops moving and the button cannot be used again, thus requiring the user to judge depth accurately in one attempt. After this, the right button becomes active in a similar way and as soon as it is released, the crane drops to a certain depth and then raises, closing its claw on the way and returning to the drop hatch in the front left corner.


These versions are generally considered to be more difficult. However, the button type machines typically do not feature the timers which are commonly found on joystick type machines.


6. Who invented the claw machine?


…dinosaurs roamed the Earth, original concept of the ‘claw machine’ was created. In the 1890s to be precise. It was a hand-cranked candy dispenser and only cost a penny to operate.


In 1920s, it was reinvented and patented as an actual game, called “ Eerie Digger”. It gained popularity over the next few decades, especially as gambling was encouraged to stimulate the economy during Depression and through WWII. Electrical versions of the digger cranes surfaced and often had paper currency and bundled coins as prizes, among other things, to entice players.


In 1951, Federal laws classified cranes as gambling devices and preventing them from being transported across state lines, effectively putting an end to the crane business.


Two years later, these laws were modified and allowed diggers to be operated at carnivals, as long as they met specific qualifications. They had to be strictly mechanical and could not contain prizes higher than $1 in value.


Coin slots were not allowed, so the machine had to be turned on by the operator. Cost per play was limited to 10 cents. Success of crane machines continued and further softened laws in the 70’s brought back coin slots and the cost of play on some cranes was raised 25 cents.


7. Is the claw machine rigged?


If you’ve spent any time in a bowling alley or an arcade( or countless hours like some of us), you know all about the dreaded claw machine. People pump their hard-earned money into them day in and day out, but how many have you actually seem to win a prize from one?


You’ve probably seen someone almost get a huge stuffed animal or something similar to the promised land and then loses it at the last minute though. So what gives?


Claw machines are an exercise in frustration, and, if you didn’t already realize it, they’re RIGGED.


But this is nothing new. In fact, this claw of temptation goes all the way back to the 1930s during the height of Depression when down-on-their-luck people were enticed by the prospect of winning something, anything. The machines were marketed as very profitable for business owners, so they became very popular.


In the 1950s, the government got wise to the scam, and claw machines were classified as gambling devices. However, in 1974, regulations relaxed once more. That’s when claw machines started to boom in a big way, which explains why today we can see them all over the place – in malls, arcades, bowling alleys, movie theaters, etc.


Claw machines are marketed as a “Skill Game”, but really nothing could be further from the truth. The machine calculates when to send full strength to the claw to allow it to pick up a prize so profits are maximized. And that range of strength is randomized so players can’t predict on which attempt the claw will be the strongest. FUN, RIGHT?


The machines are also programmed to make you think you “almost” won so you’ll keep feeding it money. The joystick makes you think you’re in command and that your destiny is in your hands, but guess what? It ain’t. It’s all controlled by a higher power, and your “skill” has little or nothing to do with it.


Like I said, rigged.


8. How do you get good at claw machines?


claw machine hacker


There are a lot of crane games out there trying to steal your money. The difference here in Japan from the machines in the West is that the game isn’t (entirely) shenanigans, and the prizes aren’t all as lame as something like over-stocked Bart Simpson dolls.


Play the game right and you’ll win some dope prizes, or at least new-found confidence in your claw play. Play it wrong and the game plays you.


Know your strengths – Everyone’s good at something. In sports, some people are great at soccer, but couldn’t hit a baseball to save their life. UFO catchers ( or crane games ) are no different. Look around in a game station at all the different prizes and you’ll see dozens of different ways to win.


Some prizes you’ll have to push or pull, others you have to nudge or slide multiple times until you win, dropping $100 at every turn. You’ll learn pretty quickly what you suck at. Some games just demand high accuracy in and a lot of skill.


Know when to walk away – The gambler’s fallacy is a pretty well known trope, but it’s worth remembering. That plastic Goku figure is not worth@2000, and there is absolutely no guarantee that you’re going to win it. Just walk away.


The teeter-totter like games in particular will mess with your head as that Yoshi doll moves back and forth, back and forth. $1800 in and you have no idea if it is any closer to dropping or not.


Know when it’s a scam – All these machines are designed to steal your money, but you can spot the difference between the machines with expensive looking giant Olafs at Round One and the sketchy catchers with He-Man pez dispensers amidst a haze of cigarette smoke.


Places like Taito game stations want you to win because they want you to keep playing. Not too often, but enough to feel good about yourself over a Pikachu doll. That being said, if a game feels like a rip, it probably is. If the claw feels weak, pick a different one.


Giant claw games are especially sketchy because they’re meant to attract dudes trying to impress their lady. They usually cost more dollar few a turn, with claws daintier than your grandmother’s toes. You’ll lose money and look like a chump in the process.