Have you ever visited game centers such as Namco, Taito, and Sega in Japan and noticed lots of attractive prizes in the machines. The prizes range from plush toys, figurines, utensils and even food.
What makes this game interesting is that the prizes are usually new and are limited edition. Usually, each play costs at least 100 yen. And when you play more times at once, there might be a slight discount, e.g. 6 plays for 500 yen. Below are three popular UFO catchers.
The target is to push the small plastic which is balanced on the rubber ball-like holder out so that the plastic will lose its balance and fall (prize item will fall along). Since the pincer claw usually does not have much strength, it might take some time before that happens.
This time, Instead of the pincher with clamps, there will just be a vertical stick. The aim is to push the vertical stick into the specific hole. The size of the hole is usually just slightly wider than the diameter of the stick thus precision plays a key role here. If your aim is good, you might get the prize with only one try.
This time, the crane will be in the form of a plank with usually 8 sharp nails. For this type, the aim is to tear the white piece of paper which is connected to the prize by making holes using the sharp nails of the crane. With patience, one can usually win the prize eventually.
When you play the UFO (particularly the pincher), it is better to go for one play first to have an idea on the strength of the pincer claw. If the prize item cannot budge from its current position at all (which shows that the claw has nearly no strength), it might be better to just move to another game center where you might have better chances.
You can also try searching for the prize item in Yahoo Auction. Someone could have won the items earlier and are selling it online. The price might sometimes be cheaper than what you invest. Another option is to visit the shops in the anime town of Nipponbashi Denden town and Akihabara. Sometimes, the prizes might be on sale.