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Claw machine game: fun play or addiction

Posted April. 15, 2017 07:23,   

Updated April. 15, 2017 07:29


Footages of famed comedian Kwon Hyeok-soo (31) displaying advanced skills at a claw machine game room recently aired on TV. He won 27 dolls from a claw machine saying that it was "warm-up," before sweeping all the dolls from another machine. It was amazing to see a man in his 30s, not a teenager, concentrate on picking up rag dolls, but he confidently said, “I feel a sense of achievement and self-confidence whenever I win dolls.” He said that even if he spends 1,000 won (87 cents) per game and 100,000 won (90 U.S. dollars) per visit, adding that it is a sound hobby better than drinking binge.

There are as many as 2,428 claw machine game rooms nationwide. There are tips on how to play claw machine games circulating on the Internet, including "hook the crane onto the body rather than the head of a doll," or "target a lying doll," but there is also a myriad of complaints suggesting that "even doing so, one cannot achieve breakeven." A secret behind claw machine game rooms was revealed in February. The owner of a game room in Daejeon filed a suit for theft charges against patrons who took away more than 200 dolls by unlocking the lock, and police investigation found that the owner had manipulated the machines so that just one doll can be won after 30 trials.

Owners of claw machine rooms staged a rally demanding their right to survive in front of the Culture, Sports and Tourism Ministry building in Sejong City on Thursday. They demanded a hike of the price ceiling of a doll, which is set at 5,000 won (4.35 dollars) under a law enacted in 2007, to 10,000 won (8.8 dollars) apiece. They protested that while it is difficult to purchase a doll priced at 5,000 won or less, they can be caught for infringement of copyrights if they use fake dolls. Netizens are in dispute among themselves, with some saying that outdated rules should be amended, and others saying that manipulating machines should be prevented first.

The fever of claw machine game is considered "tangjinjaem (fun of lavish spending)." Tangjinjaem is a new Korean term that symbolizes a new consumption trend, and means finding fun and joy by spending a small amount of money. It would be great if one can change his or her mood to feel happy by wasting a small amount, but it is worrisome if they get addicted to the game due to speculative spirit.

A man has been caught while robbing claw machines after spending thousands of dollars on claw machine game, while a 20-something woman has been rescued after leaning his body and falling into the doll exit of a claw machine. If one cannot control the level of obsession, it constitutes addiction. Whether you will enjoy claw machines as a sound game or be trapped into the addiction of it depends on none other than yourself.