No, no – we’re not talking about aliens this time (sorry to let you down). The kind of UFO I’m referring to here is the classic Japanese arcade game: The Almighty UFO Catcher (or claw crane game for all you western-thinking peoples). But why is this particular UFO catcher such a big deal? Well for starters, it’s as big as a small house and its prizes are bigger than you are.

The Big Share UFO catcher is actually the world’s largest UFO catcher (for now anyway, America seems to enjoy breaking records that Japan sets if roller-coaster stats are any indication). This giant game was part of an event put on by Toyota in the Roppongi Hills area of Tokyo and boy did they make a huge deal out of it.

The following video will give you a better idea of the scope of this thing and will also show you how much fun you could be having with it if you too lived in Japan. They sure do know how to put on a show – this is one big production. Man, us Americans never get to have any fun. Where’s our giant UFO catcher where we can win giant oversized plushies, huh? Man, Japan gets all the cool things.

[yframe url=’’]

Luckily for those of us not living in Japan, they were kind enough to create an online version of the game for the entire world to enjoy. How thoughtful. Too bad you can’t win anything though…

So What’s the Big Deal With UFO Catchers Anyway?

All sorts of crazy things can be won from UFO catchers. You’ll see everything from stuffed animals to live turtles inside these things, which is, uh, pretty ridiculous if you ask me.

[yframe url=’’]

In Japanese arcades (which are much cooler than American arcades, by the way) there are multiple floors with each floor more or less dedicated to a certain genre of game whether it be fighting, racing, or whatever. UFO catchers get an entire floor to themselves. So yeah, UFO catchers are kind of a big deal.

Want to know even more about UFO catcher games in Japan? Check out this awesome post by You might even learn something!

You can also check out this very educational and informative post by Viet where he shows you how to win at UFO catching forever. So get yourself educated and go out and win some plushies!

But Wait, Why Did Toyota Make This Thing Again?

No, Toyota didn’t create this awesome toy just for the sake of fun. The Big Share UFO Catcher is actually part of a campaign by Toyota for its Toyota Ractis. The Toyota Ractis is a subcompact car jointly produced by Toyota and Kanto Auto Works. Being based on the earlier Toyota Vitz and seating five people, it was the successor to Toyota’s Yaris Verso.

The name Ractis is a combination of the English words run, activity, and space. Although the car was very practical and spacious for its compact size, it did not sell very well at all. Perhaps that’s why Toyota felt the need to make such a big deal out of this event to promote it.

[yframe url=’’]

So tell me, what would you rather have – a giant stuffed bear or a brand new 2012 Toyota Ractis?

P.S. Already a UFO catcher pro? Gloat about it on Tofugu’s Twitter page.
P.P.S. Hand-eye coordination so bad you can’t even thread a needle? Check out our Facebook or Google+ pages instead.

  • くまじゃない

    Giant stuffed bear.

  • Dochimichi1

    Freedom to the turtles! (≧∇≦)

  • Guest2

    yay for ohashiTrio !

  • kuyachristian

    Are the hooks still as weak as its little brothers? :P
    I can only imagine…

  • Kai_sin

    I thoroughly  remember almost getting some super awesome prize from one of them, getting it almost to the slot then the claw BROKE LOL. But at least i got a random stuffed bear xD

  • Shollum

    Well, if I get the car for 100円 then I’d be quite happy with it.

  • Dan Anderson

    Great, now you got me watching an endless stream of UFO catcher videos on niconico. Guess I won’t be accomplishing much today.

  • John

    You are welcome.

  • Anonymous

    Girlfriend was so excited to see the turtles and then… “haha there’s a dead one!” Instant sadness.

  • John


  • ZXNova

    Those Turtle Claw Machines are no different then those goldfish games at the carnivals. Haven’t you seen some dead fishes in the container?

  • FoxiBiri

    searching for random article read on tofugu months ago… realizes it’s iwgp nagase tomoya in banner ^^