May 12, 2016

    Japan girl, 12, is master of crane claw game


    A GAME arcade in Japan which wants to help people rediscover the fun of the crane claw game by teaching them how to execute the gripping and dropping moves, has certified a 12-year-old girl as the first "master" in its children category following a competition, Japanese media reported.

    Twenty students took part in the contest held on Thursday last week at the Games Centre Everyday in Saitama prefecture's Gyoda city, some 70km north-west of Tokyo, reported Japan's 4Gamernet website.

    The store - a Guinness World Record holder for having the most claw crane machines in one location - is run by the Japan Crane Game Association.

    The latter was set up at the end of 2014 for the purpose of revitalising the game that its founder Hideo Nakamura, a former electronic stores manager, fears is declining in popularity.

    Yuna Muto, who came from Ibaraki prefecture's Joso city - some 50km to the east of Gyoda - with her family, was the only participant to clear all the 12 skills tested, reported the Japan Times.

    The children went through two tests, including written and hands-on, on the spatial recognition and planning skills that had been taught to them before the actual contest began, reported the 4Gamers.

    Their coaches were the clerks at the store who demonstrated the 12 skills using 12 booths stocked with prizes that each skill is suited for.

    Each trick has a name, for example "avalanche", which works best when small stuffed toys are heaped like a mountain, the Japan Times noted.

    The player can manoeuvre the crane in such a way that its hands will hit the mountain from behind, causing an avalanche.

    Then, there is the "moonsault" trick, which is useful when the toy is large.

    The player is to grab the rear end of the toy with the crane and let it off while moving the grip half-way to the exit hole as the drop-swing will ensure the toy fall through.

    "People have this perception that you rarely win prizes with crane games," said Mr Nakamura, who runs the arcade.

    He believes the game is still entertaining although electronic games now predominate and hopes the competition would also attract foreigners.