Friday, October 21, 2016

The World's Most Pathetic Arcade Machine

If you've ever gone to an amusement park or an arcade or almost anywhere kids hang out, you've seen arcade merchandizers.

The most basic kind is the "claw machine" that became famous in Toy Story.
Makes more sense than Calvinism.
The basic idea behind merchandizers: you pay money for a chance to win a prize.  They're designed to make you think it's a test of skill, but they're built with a secret counter; you automatically fail four out of five times.

They're usually stocked with fabulous prizes so awesome you think it's worth trying to win a first generation Nintendo DS in front of your date and, while you're losing all the money you saved to take her out to dinner, she realizes she shouldn't have let her mother set her up on a blind date and ditches you while you're still trying to win, leaving you alone with your shattered dreams of a game console.

Or so someone told me.  The point is: don't use them.

On Wednesday, my kids were home from school for teacher rip-off in-service day.  They had too much energy (six hours in front of a TV with a Costco-sized bag of candy and a two-liter of Red Bull will do that).  So, I decided to take them to Sky High Sports, a giant, trampoline death trap billed as a combination amusement park/fitness studio.

There, between the "Foam in Your Eye" diving pit and the "Leg Breaker" bouncing room was this merchandizer.

"Wow!  I loved Flappy Bird!" -Nobody

Basic idea: you navigate the bird between a series of pipes.  If you can make it through to pipe twenty, you get one of four fabulous prizes.  What prizes?
"Gronk!" means "Han totally shot first."
That's right, they were giving away a figure from Disney Infinity 3.  If you're not familiar with Disney Infinity, I'm not surprised.  It was one of those games you had to buy the toys to play.  The only problem was: nobody wanted them.  They discontinued the game.

The merchandizer also had...
I find your clearance-rate prizes disturbing.
Darth Vader.  Have you noticed the little red sticker in the upper right, yet?  Those are Target price tags.  Someone went to the clearance racks and picked these up for half price.
War Machine and Han!
They also have Han Solo and War Machine.  If you don't know who War Machine is: he's the best friend of Iron Man.  If you don't know who Iron Man is, he's the best friend of Spider Man.  If you don't know who Spider...  Never mind.  You know who Spider Man is.  Everyone knows that.

But notice, it's not a War Machine Disney Infinity Toy.  It's a War Machine Hot Wheels.

Who would want a toy car based off a character who doesn't need a car (because he can fly)?
Nobody.  Nobody wants a War Machine Hot Wheels.  That's why it's in the most pathetic merchandizer in the world.

 I can't imagine anyone who would be desperate enough to put money into it, even if he was sitting around waiting for his kids to finish jumping around so he could go home.

Nope.  Can't imagine.

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