Aight maggots. It’s time to edumacate you in the fine art of UFO catching. I’m about to present to you tips on how to net yourself a cute stuff j-character without spending a lot of moolah. Koichi spent ¥5,000 figuring out the tricks of the trade so the lot of us wouldn’t have to. But before I indulge you with such delicious tips, I’ll bore you with some background information on these arcade machines (sorry, nothing is free!).
In the US (and maybe Canada?), you may be familiar with its cousin generically named the claw vending machines. Typically the claws are three to four prongs and have ridiculous low gripping power. Prizes are positioned in the prize area in such a way that the only way of succeeding is to grab onto the object and hope that the prong latches onto something or its sad gripping power is just barely enough to carry it to the outlet.
So what makes the US version different from the Japanese? Not much. There is still the weak gripping power. However, the first thing you’ll probably notice is the two-prong claw. TWO-PRONG?!?!?! How the hell are you suppose to grip around an object with just two prongs? Well, you don’t for the most part. Here is where the main difference lies: Majority of the time when looking at the sea of prizes in the casing you’ll find the “winnable” prize sitting almost right next to the exit hole at a higher elevated position. This is done on purpose. The Japanese arcade peons like to give you a chance of winning. They WANT you to win. All that is required is to understand the mechanics of the two-prong claw.
The trick is the utilization of the force from the prongs when it open/closes/descends and the use of gravity.The claw typically opens up midway descension and closes before it ascends back on. You’ll also notice that the claw has a wide range in the open position. The use of the claw depends on the positioning of the object.Sometimes you’ll need to pull the prize towards the hole by either latching a prong to some opening on the object or position it over the object by some offset amount so that when the claw closes it’ll push the object towards the exit . Or you’ll have the descending prong push straight down on the objects side so the weight gets shifted, letting gravity do its job.
Check out this video for more information:
Games typically run at ¥100-¥500 for one to three plays, depending what is at stake.
Oh, one more thing. Don’t bother with the UFO catchers with AV DVDs (READ: Mystery person pictured above). You are better off saving the yen and purchasing them at a “DVD/CD/本屋” (you’ll know what I mean if you ever attempt to visit one).