Yes, claw machines are rigged to make players lose

The prize is always just within reach, and then it's not

By Brianna Volz - Web producer, Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

TITUSVILLE, Fla. - It might seem like it would be easier to crawl into deceptive claw machines to get the prize, but as a Florida boy learned this week, that ended in defeat, too.

An off-duty Titusville firefighter was able to free the boy after he climbed inside a restaurant’s claw machine

According to Vox.com there is a reason why winning a stuffed animal using the claw is so elusive, and that is because the claws are programed to work tightly only part of the time—and that’s clearly revealed in the instructions for some of the machines. 

Companies can program the strength of the claw to be strong at times and weak during others, as well as manipulate it to drop something that may have successfully been grabbed before it can be delivered to the player. 

Still, though, people are tempted by the challenge. 

In that case, Mental Floss offers eight tips for defeating the hard-to-beat machines. One tip includes watching the competition. Players should watch how fast the machine reacts when used by other players, information they can then use to time their reactions when it’s their turn.

While watching another player take on the claw, Mental Floss suggests it may be a good time to carefully choose your target, remembering to stay realistic when choosing a coveted stuffed toy before actually dropping in a coin or two.

The publication also suggests gamers play a game just to get a feel for the claw. After that, they can really get competitive. Using that attempt or a few after the initial just to position the desired prize could also be a setup for success. Experts say players should also make the most of their time by using it to get the claw in position, then use the final few seconds to drop the claw once it’s in the best position possible.

Another tip for toy success is knowing when to stop. Not only can playing repeatedly without much luck become expensive, but it can also seem somewhat addicting, much like gambling can feel at times. Set a limit and don’t spend too much time or money on the machine.

The final tip is to remember that it is just a game. Do not assume every machine is rigged. Have fun, since that is the point of the claw, after all.

Oh, one more piece of advice—just because someone isn’t able to get the toy they’re eyeing doesn’t mean they should climb inside to grab it. That situation may not always end with a quick rescue and a new toy.

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