Japanese UFO Catcher Pro Technique, the Illusion Spin, and other Trick Tips

Arcade center, Club Sega, in the Akibahara District, Tokyo. Photo by: Flickr@IQRemix

Arcade center, Club Sega, in the Akibahara District, Tokyo. Photo by: Flickr@IQRemix

Japanese U.F.O. catchers comes with variety of prizes including stuffed animals, chocolate, ice cream, jewelries to boxed anime figures. Anime figures which come in boxed packages are popular in Akihabara, Tokyo. The video listed below shows us a specialized move, called the illusion spin, for acquiring boxed-shaped anime figures. 

The U.F.O. catcher special move "The Illusion spin" is shown by the video above at the 3:32 mark.

At the back streets of Akihabara, the Japanese television program, Hirunandesu, interviews a UFO catcher veteran, Naoya Igarashi (五十嵐直也), with 20 years of experience as a crane game player. Over the span of 20 years, he had spent a total of 10,000,000 JPY (roughly $100,000 USD) solely on UFO catchers.  

Igarashi-san's occupation is that he is a professional UFO catcher recognized by the Japan Crane Game Association (日本クレーンゲーム協会). The 20 year veteran was given a first class recognition by the association after passing its Nippon First Class Crane Game Exam. 

Boxed shaped prizes are popular and very difficult to obtain by crane games. Despite the high skill level in order to win an anime figure, Igarashi-san precisely calculates where the crane's arm is going to hit and he guides the mechanism as the boxed-prize fluidly falls into the chute for the win, in a technique called the "Illusion Spin" which starts at the 3:32 time in the video above. 

More Crane Games from Club Sega in Akihabara, Tokyo. Photo by: Flickr@IQRemix  

More Crane Games from Club Sega in Akihabara, Tokyo. Photo by: Flickr@IQRemix  

Other Tips on UFO Catchers

An article, on the Pseudomacro website about UFO Catcher tips, holds that in maneuvering the claw of the crane game it helps to think "outside the standard idea of how claws are meant to function", since the strength of the crane game's claw/grip is remarkably limited. A lot of times, the claws themselves isn't enough to conquer the prize into the chute. 

*Rather than the power of the grip of the claw, the outward/downward force of it is much better equipped with power; therefore, depending on the machine and scenario, one may try moving the prized item little by little rather than trying to scoop the item prize. One can try moving the item into the chute with the outward force of the grip/claw if possible. 

*Remember one is most likely to not get a prize first try unless a player beforehand or an arcade staff had positioned the item to a convenient location for item capture. 

Lots of Capybara-san dolls in a glass container at the Sega arcade in Shibuya, Tokyo. Photo by: Flickr@Chuck

*It may be a good idea for one to embrace themselves in having to spend more than a couple of tries in wining a preferable prize, and one may have to get to know the workings of the machine to increase one's chances for seizing a prize. 

*It may be important and helpful to set a limit for oneself before starting to play the crane game if one find themselves very into the game, so to speak, and having to spend more than one's anticipation. For example, one may want to set a number of tries, perhaps a couple of tries, to see if the particular machine is winnable for the number of tries the individual has set forth. If not, then be confident and walk away. For me, I would not want to spend money than I planned to invest, worse yet, without a prize to take with me. Although the experience itself may be worth while, I personally would feel sad if I invested too much money into the machine. 

*When I went to an arcade at Daiso in Ikeda, Osaka, I asked the facility staff to better position the item for me inside the UFO catcher by nicely asking the staff member, "Item wo Toriyasui basho ni oitekure masuka?" The arcade personnel was very kind to do so and they would, almost always, position the item in a preferable location for better/convenient tries on the crane game. If the staff does place it in a good position, one can politely inform one's gratitude just by saying thank you towards the kind arcade officer. 

"The corridor of the UFO Catchers." Photo by Flickr@Aaron Lai

"The corridor of the UFO Catchers." Photo by Flickr@Aaron Lai

The experience playing the crane game is generally for fun. It's great to avoid getting bitter of the experience due to unwanted results. Especially if one is a beginner such as myself. It may hinder one's true potential or it can hinder one from functioning at their one hundred percent ability. One may take it step by step and if one is not feeling it, one may stop for the moment and look forward to play it for another occasion. Remember to have fun and it's okay to mess up, but be wary not to invest too much into it if one does not take kindly to huge spending on UFO catchers.