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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tip: No Buried Treasure

As I shared with all of you claw machine enthusiasts last, the first trick to a successful claw is to want what you can get, not to get what you want. This will be the first in a series of tips on how to spot your easiest target.

I've never witnessed nor participated in the filling of a claw machine with its prizes. I have a suspicion that each Claw Machine Technician is trained not only in how the technology works, but also in the psychology of prize placement. Most often--especially with plush prizes--the items have been wedged between one another very purposefully. This is a strategy to make it difficult to just pluck your winnings from the pile.

To overcome the obstacle of the tight-squeeze, peel your eyes for animals that have come loose. Preferably if has such things, all four legs, the tail, the head, and the rump should all be freed from the other plushies. After spotting a claw machine and approaching it, this is the first thing I scope prior to inserting my money. If every single item is wedged against another, do not waste your money! While each claw is different and is programmed with its own grab strength, none are designed to do any kind of yanking. Don't be foolish, claw machine enthusiasts!

Keep an eye out for next time, when I explain why the prize's location in the chamber makes a difference. You can find all of my tips here.

My name is Brooke and I am fortunate enough to be named Claw Machine Review's Chicago correspondent. I was raised on both classic and modern arcade games, with a full-sized pinball machine in my home.  My father trained me well on claw machines, and I currently have about a 50% claw machine success rate. Check out my life-style blog,  The Broke Brog, and say hello!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Godfather's Pizza

This special Saint Valentine's Day post was done at Godfather's Pizza in the Town & Country Shopping Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
3647 1/2 1st Ave, Cedar Rapids, IA, 52402
This one was a Prize Time machine.   It is a pretty standard machine.  50 cents, 3 claw style and full range of motion control.

Too many Toys?
As you can see from the picture I got there right after they stuffed the machine.  So there was full quantity of toys, but the quality was pretty poor.  Slim pickings at the top at least.  Oh well.

Claw Grip 3
Stocking Qty 10
Stocking Qlty 5
Price 6
Overall 7

So the claw grip was pretty bad, but it was so full that you could just put your claw in the right spot and drag in a toy.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner
So I was able to get a win for the first time ever.  Hopefully my girlfriend doesn't read this post before tomorrow to see what she is getting for Valentine's day, if she does...Happy Valentine's Day Sweetie.  Anyway, I've had good luck on this machine, the second try I went for a more difficult thing to try out the claw's grasp, but it was weak at this time.  But they have a fair amount of time it's tight so worth a play for sure.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Westdale Mall Machine

Recently I traveled across town to the bad mall.  They had a claw machine to review.
2600 Edgewood Road Southwest, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
The fun thing about this blog is that I get to take extra risks to do it.  This time I went wild and went for the side of the machine that has miniature basketballs.  Normally I'd think sphere doesn't get picked up by the claw, but what if you got it perfectly around it? Wouldn't the sphere hold better?

Play it safe with the stuffed animals, or go for the glory of the balls?
Now obviously this was going to be a challenge.  But the game was 50 cents a play so not a rip off that way, and it had decent stuff.  NBA and College themed basketballs.  Not a bad officially licensed merchandise.  Or what I assume was officially licensed.  The problem though is that to get down low enough to get that perfect grip around the basketball you need some serious force behind the claw to wedge it's way between the other balls.  Spheres are good for stacking surprisingly.  This makes it tough to get the claw in.  So my review on this machine won't come with a number because I don't think that's fair.  Instead it will come with this warning.  When trying for a ball, especially a rubber one and not a squishy one.  Make sure there is enough squishy stuff around it so the claw can caress it's way underneath.  This should allow it to get that optimal grip position.  But unless it has that, you won't be able to break the rubbery surface to get the sweet prize inside.

This trip to the mall also had an old lady mall walker wandering around and she talked to me, which distracted me quite a bit.  Can't you see I'm busy here lady.  But I'm a nice guy so I talked back and she said how she has never seen anyone win one of those damned machines.  Oh how I wanted to win and rub it in her face.  See totally a nice guy.  But sadly dear readers, I wasn't able to pull off a win this time.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wehrenberg Prize Game

After checking out the Acme Crane Machine I traveled upstairs to see what other great prizes I would have won.  And since I had wasted a quarter trying to play turned off machine I decided to just play some arcade games with my 75 cents.
Still at the same location
 But the disappointing thing nowadays is that it costs a full dollar to play time crisis, also what fun is time crisis alone.  Not that I was alone or seeing a movie alone, that would be lame.   But I digress.
Space Ship Prizes!
I've always been intrigued by these games, how exactly do you win them.  It's a pretty simple concept, there is an arm with a post at the end that will swing out and hit the prizes which are rotating around in a circle.  So all you have to do is hit one prize on the sweet spot and it will push it to the prize slot.  Should be easy.
Prizes Moving at Warp Speed
So I give it a try with my first quarter, not really caring what I get out of it.  I just want something, so I see a cluster of prizes, but the arm doesn't move.  What's the deal!  I keep hitting the button, but it takes me awhile to figure out that first, this is a game where you have to hold the button, and second this is a game where the arm has a weird delay that you have to add into your timing.

The arm also moves slow, which adds to the trouble of timing this thing.  First quarter was a complete bust.  Second one I think I have figured this out, and I learned a cheat move of you can go about halfway and stop and wait from that position until your prize comes along.  I get my post in position, I push a prize to the hole but can't hit the sweet spot, so now I'm mad.

Third and last quarter time, I really am feeling it, mostly because that Hannah Montana key chain or dog tag that I so desperately need is so close after pushing it to the hole.  I set everything up, think I'm ready to go, and it spins it around the post and holds it in the prize door but then the post moves away and the prize goes back in the circle.

I honestly don't know what to do to win this game anymore, you have it where you think it's dead on and you are pushing the prize to the hole and it just spins itself away when you get to the hole.  Where is the actual prize hole?  So frustrating.  Anyway it was a fun change of pace but I'm sticking to my claw machines.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Acme Crane Company -Wehrenberg

This review takes place at the Wehrenberg Galaxy 16 Theaters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
5340 Council Street NE Cedar Rapids IA  

This place had lots of claw machines to choose from but this was a rather disappointing outing.  Mostly because the HUGE claw machine was turned off and yet I still put in quarters like a dummy when it wouldn't take my dollar.  There is 50 cents wasted.  So that might be a nice tip, make sure the machine is on.  Anyway there was a wide variety and so I decided to pace myself with games and posts.  Since I do imagine that movies aren't something I'll stop watching anytime soon.

Acme Claw Machine worked for me like Acme products work for Wile E. Coyote
This time I took a ride with the Acme Crane Machine.  This machine had a decent amount of solid stuffed animals inside, nothing SUPER exciting or special, but solid quality animals.  Nothing you would be really disappointed with if you followed the tip to avoid nice things and go for reasonable things.  The interesting thing about this machine though was the claw.

Featuring Timer LED lights
The timer LED lights aside since those don't really affect the game at all, this game came with a rotating panel so you could spin the claw around.  This might help you get into that perfect spot between the arms of some bear, but really it seemed like just an added feature that in the long run won't help you.  This was also one of those annoying games that will yell at you to make sure you know what you are doing.  10 Seconds left! Crap I better hit the button now before I'm good and ready.  Take your time and ignore the yellings of a machine.
Claw Grip 3
Stocking Qty 6
Stocking Qlty 5
Price 6
Overall 5

Overall this wasn't a terrible machine, but I'd avoid it unless there was something really good in the perfect spot there.  The grip just wasn't there to get you a win to impress your lady friend.

Tip: What's Your Target?

When engaging a claw machine, it's important to set a realistic goal for yourself. The object of your play cannot be to win a specific prize--say, the red Angry Bird plushie in the right corner or the licensed Chicago Bulls hat in the front. Claw machines are not about getting what you want, they are about getting something. The most crucial tip I can share with you is to set your sights on what will be easiest to win, not what catches your fancy. Your claw machine joy should come from your successes, not the prizes themselves.

So maybe you've won an unsightly mouse plushie filled with what seems to be insulation, but at least you've won. The mark of a successful claw machine run is to first revel in your success, then examine your prize while shrugging, "Ugh, now what?"*

Stay tuned for future tips on how to pinpoint the easiest targets in the machine!

*Give them to a pet or child in your life, or look like a hero and offer it to a nearby child.

My name is Brooke and I am fortunate enough to be named Claw Machine Review's Chicago correspondent. I was raised on both classic and modern arcade games, with a full-sized pinball machine in my home.  My father trained me well on claw machines, and I currently have about a 50% claw machine success rate. Check out my life-style blog,  The Broke Brog, and say hello!

Monday, January 2, 2012

General Update

You may have noticed from the posts, that I don't win very often.  There are a couple reasons for this.  Reason one is that I'm not that great at claw machines, I just am a general enthusiast.  Reason two is that I have been taking more risks in my play style to try out more machines than I normally would to have more material.
To remedy this situation I have reached out to a dear friend of mine who is an expert at winning claw machine games.  She will be adding posts occasionally about tips and tricks to winning the games, as well as the occasional machine review since she does live in a different part of the country from me.  With her help, dear reader, you will soon be a claw machine ninja winning every stuffed toy your heart desires.

Coral Ridge Mall Machine

Today I'll be reviewing a claw machine I found in the Coral Ridge Mall, Coralville, Iowa.
1451 Coral Ridge Avenue Coralville, IA 52241

The interesting thing about this machine was that it was a cylinder with three different sides to choose from.

Do I honestly have to explain why I picked this side?

Two of the sides had claw games the third game in the machine was one of those scissor cutting games.  I never liked those games, but eventually for this I probably will have to try one and branch out from claw machines.  So I had to pick based on what was inside.

Obvious Choice
As the caption says, there was a very obvious choice.  Cleveland Show stuffed animals.  Duh, you could win a Rollo, Cleveland, or that bear.  And no I'm not going to look up how to spell Rollo, not worth it.  There were also a few Stewies thrown in to get the casual fan over to this game.

The game itself was pretty interesting, because it was built in a cylinder the game play was based off that.  Moving the stick towards you would move the claw towards you but moving left and right was trickier because the track it was on fit the cylinder.  It didn't make lining it up much more difficult, just was a new dimension to worry about.  The game itself was only 50 cents per play, which is nice since I have been getting trapped by dollar per play games, and that Cleveland doll was ripe for the picking, sadly I couldn't get him.  The claw was even plenty grippy, I just couldn't find the right balance in my two goes to snag Cleveland Brown.

Claw Grip 6
Stocking Qty 6
Stocking Qlty 8
Price 6
Overall 6

Overall this was one machine worth checking out.  It wasn't a rip off, but it wasn't easy to win either, the nice level of challenge that makes it worth another go, but not a home run machine.