Geddy Plays a Crane Game (Updated!)

NOTE: This article is in no way, shape or form sponsored by Toreba. Just a story of an experience I had on the (normally) paid search.

The other night, I was going down a deep, deep rabbithole on YouTube, chaining together related videos that had absolutely nothing to do with each other, almost certainly destroying any chance of relevant recommendations in the future. You know, like ya do.

I arrived on a video of a YouTuber I follow that goes by the name of brutalmoose, who makes all kinds of videos on all manner of subjects, including gaming, trying strange foods, you name it. The particular video in question was about arcade and crane games, with a focus on playing crane games. However, he mentioned an aoo I’d never heard of called Toreba that he had tried out on his phone. A quick Google search, and, well…

First off, a little bit about me that has never come up here – I love arcades, but in particular, the ones on the boardwalk with all of those ridiculous, “un-winnable” games. You know just the ones I mean – the ones with those old 1970s ice cream dispensers with sun-faded artwork on the cover, the old brown coin return machines to turn your hard earned cash into mere fodder for getting ripped off.

“Keymaster” is another huge pain in the ass that felt virtually impossible.

Heck, I must have spent at least $200 on the Nintendo 3DS Badge Arcade before officially retiring after 6 long months of scoring over 1,000 unique badges! Speaking of which, could we get some more fun, charming, Nintendo-esque mini-games on the Switch, pretty please? Cause.. there currently aren’t any.

But getting back to those impossible-to-win boardwalk games, I don’t play those types of games. The types I was never a fan of are the ones where you have to stop a spinning wheel, or stop a moving light, or push a little plunger through a wall of holes juuust big enough to maybe let the prize pop out the other end. No, I would solely focus on the crane games that were actually winnable. Spotting the winnable cranes was an art all in itself, but I managed to do fairly well and provide my girlfriends over the years with plenty of stuffed animals. A young stud armed with a fistful of quarters, I was, ladies and gentlemen.

Advice: the smaller the claw, the stronger the grip.

Back to the video, I did some research on this Toreba that brutalmoose had mentioned, and it turns out that not only was this app free, but the games actually have you controlling real-life crane games! This was too good to be true – not only that, but if you were to win a prize, it ships out to you. So I could sitting on a bus in America, controlling a crane game in some remote basement in Japan, attempting to win Pokemon plushies that’ll actually get shipped to me? Freaken fantastic, count me in.

Then I saw the price: 5,000TP for $5. However, each crane play cost at least 2,500TP. Yeesh, that’s one pricey crane game.

Luckily, as a new user you are gifted 5 free plays!

I scrolled around and took some gambles, yielding no results. Lots of Pokemon, lots of.. stuff I’d never seen or heard of before – mostly from the realm of anime. I searched for Hatsune Miku as that’s roughly the only other thing in Japan I think I’d find here, and to no avail.

Finally I settled on a Snorlax and Slowpoke machine that had 11 people watching, another neat feature of the app: you don’t need to commit to spending any money, or heck, even creating an account. You can simply watch other people play crane games.

I’m not entirely sure why, but the fact that I can watch strangers in remote locations play a physical crane game in a remote basement somewhere in Japan blows my mind.

I watched a few people dick about, making little to no progress moving this dangling Snorlax – when I had an idea. It looked like it was rigged together using some rubber bands, and if you take a close look at the edges of the claw, they have these little overhanging plastic “hooks”. Perhaps I was on to something.

I gave it an honest try to “hook” my claw around the rubber bands, to no avail. With a few dozen people watching at this point, I managed to pull this off:

I had gotten it! I couldn’t believe it – other player attempts consisted of trying to grab the entire white cardboard piece, but my alternate approach actually worked, and I managed to get it on my fifth and final free try!

“So what happens now?”

I looked into it more, and evidently what happens is that when you win, it adds your prize to a shopping cart, and every 7 days you can request a shipment of the actual prize to your house, for free. Pretty sweet, right? I signed up with an account, entered my address, and as of yesterday, am officially awaiting a Snorlax plushie, that I won completely for free on a crane game somewhere in Japan.

If you’d like to try this for yourself, the Android/iOS apps are just called Toreba and you don’t even have to sign up unless you want to play past your five initial free plays, or get a prize shipped out.

And that’s the story of Geddy playing a crane game! It was stupid and exciting and I had to share.

Are you a connoisseur of the finer things in life, such as crane games? What is the coolest thing you ever won at a claw game or an arcade? Let me know in the comments!

UPDATE: June 18

It finally arrived, after getting stuck at customs, and then the post office, for about 3 weeks! It’s huge, far bigger than I was thinking it would be. Posted with a Switch for scale!

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