Good idea, Bad idea: Arcades

Here's the real irony with me.  I work in an arcade.  Simultaneously, I dislike the deceptive practices adopted by arcades everywhere.  Not everything is like that, though, so I'd like to show a little contrast between a couple games my arcade has.

  Spin-N-Win is anti-game #1 in my sights.  The premise is simple enough.  The light spins around the wheel, you hit the giant stop button to stop the light and get whatever tickets it lands on.  Sound easy?  It actually is, too easy.  If that's all there was to it, this would be an arcade's biggest loss instead of its biggest earner.  What's actually going on is that this game, like many others, has a predetermined percentage of big winners.  Your chance of getting the big prize is hardly reflective on your own ability and moreso on how many people have played before you.  If not enough people have played since the jackpot was won, you are not allowed to get the jackpot!  It will lie to you and tell you that you hit the button a little late or early.  Of course, nothing about it even suggests that to you, but at the same time, nothing actually says you'll get whatever you truly land on.  The game simply tells you that you stop the light to win tickets, which is entirely true.  It's despicable and deceptive.  That's not to say the game is unwinnable.  In fact, I have a great story of one game with a similar payout system I'll have to tell you all one day.  (I tried writing it here, but it was 3 times the size of what I wrote already.)

Now Jumpin' Jackpot is an example of a great arcade game with some decent popularity.  This game is entirely skill-based while still allowing a certain payout model.  Effectively, this is a game of jump rope, and the rope spins faster as you go through the game.  The way it works with a payout model is that the game will get slower as people fail and faster as people succeed (contrary to the terms management would have me use, I do not believe you "win" unless you get the advertised top prize).  This means it's going to be incredibly difficult for a good player to win consistently.  It is not impossible, however.  For the average players, this game is going to keep to its set payout, and that's really not going to change unless some kind of legend walks in.  This kind of game is honest, challenging, and still manages to keep the same kind of profit margin less reputable games have.  Best of all, it encourages physical activity, in an arcade of all places!  Props to Namco for this masterpiece of a game!

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