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The Skilltester
January 3rd, 2007

You know those skill testers that you find in videogame arcades with the claw? Have you seen what they’ve got nowadays?

Jess and I were bored on Boxing Day so we figured we might go for a wander around the local markets. While we were there we happened across a ‘modern’ skill tester. It was a simple idea; think tetris – when the game starts there is a piece composed of three blocks that slides horizontally across the bottom of the screen. You hit a big ‘hit me’ button when you want the piece to stop. After that, another piece starts sliding above it, only slightly faster. The idea is to stack up the pieces. The piece gets smaller as you progress up the screen until you’re left with a one really fast block. It looked pretty easy.

Oh, and the prizes! There was a mobile phone, a digital camera, a (crappy) TV and an iPod shuffle. We wanted the shuffle. We fed the machine about $15 that day and more often than not made it to the top of the screen, invariably landing one block either side. When we decided to give up we discovered that we’d attracted quite an audience, including one little girl who had become famous for winning something like 9 phones, 4 shuffles etc. I can’t remember the numbers but she sounded impressive. She reckoned that the machine wouldn’t be likely to pay out until the following week so we decided we would return to claim our prize.

The next day we decided that we were being had. The little girl wants the prize for herself! Well we weren’t born yesterday, missy! Before lunch Jess and I decided to once more battle the machine once more. First up, me. I didn’t do very well. Jess went next and got to the all important top row. She nailed it. It was quite hard to believe. I think I must’ve said something like, “really? did you win?” all she had to figure out now was what button she needed to press in order to select her prize. The uncoiling of the iPod shuffle from its hook seemed to go on for ever. When it did drop it was still unbelievable. I popped a couple more dollars in anyway (the damn thing is addictive) and we went home. $18 later and we have an iPod shuffle.

  • Pretty cool!

  • Can I sponsor you and Jess to get me one too?

  • No way! I played the exact game arcade game a little while ago, of course, at a different place. With the SAME prizes. I kept getting to the top row nearly every time and did it over and over again, but never won any prize.

    Enjoy your iPod shuffle. 😉