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24 June 2003
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The Seoul Blog - Crane Game (1)

If you're in Japan and you have 500 Yen, or about $4.00 you can try to win a cool prize out of a crane game. If you're in Korea and you have 500 Won, or about 40 cents, you can try to win some well, sort-of-cool prize. Sometimes they have decent stuffed animals. The older the machine is, the more likely the prizes are crummy, sometimes they're even used. When I lived in Pusan, a friend of mine who was addicted to crane games knew all the hot machines that you could actually get something out of. Those machines have rubber bands around the crane claws that help keep the toy from slipping, and the cranes don't jerk sharply. Most crane games are rigged so that the crane picks up a prize, carries it enticingly toward the hole, then jerks hard as it changes direction, dropping the prize and leaving you with an insane desire to insert more coins - only to have the process repeat itself until you run home to your apartment without a toy, crying in shame, defeated and broke.


Here's the crane game up the street from my apartment. It's full of cheesy toys. You get a whopping 12 chances for 1000 Won, or about 80 cents. Quite a bargain, huh? - too bad you're never gonna win anything...it's rigged with the Crane Game Jerk of Death, dropping your would-be toy every time. Wahhhhhhhh!

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