The Best Gaming Application Of The iPad So Far

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As seen in a Stacker Large machine at the Windward Mall in Honolulu, Hawaii. - Thanks Geeq!

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Let me tell you a story about Stacker machines.

I have, in my opinion, very good reflexes. Years of playing video games have turned my thumbs into deadly accurate weapons. I also play a lot of rhythm games, so I feel that my sense of timing and quickness is above your average person.

I played a Stacker machine at a local bowling alley once. I had a few drinks and after a few practice runs I made it one line from the top. I was pretty excited, because the top prize was a Wii. I didn't really want one, but I wouldn't mind getting one for free or selling it.

So here I am, the timer ticking down with one more push of the button until I get a shiny new Wii. I go into a deep trance, focusing on the beat of the machine (it plays audio) and watching the rhythm of the display. I prepared my timing, took a breath, and pressed the button.

I was off by one square.

The people I was with and I erupted in 'Awwwwwwwwwww's that could be heard hundreds of yards away. It's OK I thought, I just messed up the timing, I'll get it next time.

It came to the point where I would get to the second last stack in about 12 seconds. Then I would try to get the last row, and I would miss by one. After a few failed attempts, I called shenanigans. A manager walked by and I, semi-drunkenly, said 'This thing is rigged! Watch!', and I proceeded to sure her just how rigged it was. She said people have won before, so it must not be.

I'm a smart enough man to know that once, twice, maybe even a few times, I was genuinely off. But after a few dollars of attempts I realized I was definitely not off, and that this machine was in fact rigged.

The next day I Googled for information on Stacker machines and found the setup and manufacturer instruction manual. What did I find in said manual? It is in fact rigged.

The machine can be set for win to attempt ratios based on the value of the top prize. It's essentially a way to guarantee the machine makes profit, but it is underhanded trickery. Unless I hit that magic number where the machine rolled over to 'allow' the prize, it was never going to be mine.

I even found a YouTube video someone had made of a Stacker machine that was slowed down to super slow mo. Sure enough, the square where the block needed to go didn't even light up, it skipped it entirely. If you press the button on the square before the square you need, it skips it entirely. If you press the button on the square you need, it stops on the next one.

I don't play Stacker machines anymore.