Hello! I am an attendant at a small coin operated arcade, one of the few left not using a card swipe system! Ask me anything!

Proof (check the register): https://imgur.com/a/LTLW18E

1244 PDT: Sorry for the delays, it got really busy out of nowhere!

1744 PDT: Alright guys, it's been real, but my work day is over and so is this AMA. Thanks for coming by! I'll probably check back every once in a while and answer the odd lingering question, but I'd like to leave you guys with a few tips for your next arcade visit.

  • The attendants are there to help you. Don't be afraid to talk to them. (Though maybe don't bug them when they're elbow-deep in a cabinet.)
  • If you have a problem with a game, please remember the name of the game! Trust me, we know every single game in the building, but "that one" and pointing in a direction is a bit vague and unhelpful.
  • There are only so many tickets loaded into a game. If it runs out, don't worry, there's always more, and most games keep track of how many tickets they owe you. Ask an attendant.
  • If a coin gets stuck, don't hit the door, it usually just makes the problem worse by jamming the coin further against another coin. Just ask an attendant.
  • Most of us are at or just above minimum wage. Macro-level decisions made by management are generally not within our control. Please do not berate us. :(
  • If you're gonna come in stoned, please spray some kind of scent. Weed stench is grody.
  • If your arcade has an entrance fee, please follow the rules of their admission! Do not remove your wristband or wash off your stamp! We will have to charge you again!
  • If your arcade doesn't use quarters, don't stick quarters into the games! It won't give you extra plays, it'll just cause problems.
  • No question is too stupid. Trust me, we have dealt with dumber shit than you can come up with. Ask an attendant.
  • Ask an attendant.
  • Ask an attendant.

See ya!

Comments: 254 • Responses: 48  • Date: 

SpaceCadetriment135 karma

Are slugs still a thing anymore or have the machines evolved enough to make them a non issue?

We used to buy rolls of nickels and sit in my garage and hammer them out into the size of quarters. The worked fine in quarter machines at the the pizza shop and soda machines around town. This was in the early 90s so I’m sure things have evolved since then. Y dad would tell us he would use washers growing up.

TMStage160 karma

Nah. If you try to put something in that's not the correct size it'll either get rejected if it's too small, or jam the mech if it's too big. These new coin mechs are very precise, to within thousandths of an inch.

Horzzo78 karma

IF there are a bunch of coins stuck in the coin return can I dislodge them and keep them all? I did this 35 years ago and still feel guilty.

TMStage76 karma

If you can do it, you're welcome to them. Generally you need to open the door to get at the mech first though.

bravehamster64 karma

If I dropped my 11-year old son off and gave him $20 to spend, how long would he be reasonably entertained?

TMStage100 karma

Traditional arcades will keep you entertained for a while on 20 bucks. Nickel arcades you can be there all day.

dingosongo48 karma

Where can an average person buy a carpet/flooring with crazy patterns like every arcade has?

TMStage106 karma

ffoogg46 karma

What's the typical day like?

TMStage108 karma

Depends on the day. Monday through Friday while school is on? Pretty slow. In fact there's literally nobody here right now. Weekends can get pretty insane though, especially if you add in birthday parties. If there's downtime, I'll usually check for coin jams or owed tickets, or maybe restock the prize counter. Weekends are all about keeping the arcade running, making sure people are getting in, the games are working properly, and getting people prizes in a timely manner.

Incognizance4 karma

Monday through Friday while school is on? Pretty slow. In fact there's literally nobody here right now. Weekends can get pretty insane though

How long has the place been in business?
How is it still in business pretty much only making money on weekends?
Is rent that low?

TMStage6 karma

Since 97. Weekends really carry this place, I know weekdays we operate at a loss.

20seca341 karma

The Claw.

does the owners tweek it to weaken the claw? And what is the best method in winning the Claw?

TMStage121 karma

They do. The best strategy is not to play.

mrdude1241 karma

What breaks the most or gives you the most headaches?

TMStage68 karma

Dude, Goal Line Rush has such a terrible coin mechanism, we are constantly out there dislodging coins and realigning the coin mechs.

scottb90823 karma

having worked at an arcade myself I hated skeeball. Kids could never keep it in the same lane.

TMStage4 karma

Every day I thank God that our skee ball lanes are out of order and the parts are hard to come by.

exingout40 karma

Are you BJ Novak’s Mennonite cousin?

TMStage20 karma

I've been compared to that guy before, no idea who he is and what he does.

mykeuk24 karma

Any little things we can do (il?)legally to increase our chances on any particular machine?

TMStage37 karma

Not much tbh. If you find a particular angle on a coin roller you like, you might be able to get a few bonuses that way if you can hold it steady. Otherwise, just watch the machine really.

johnpauljones6823 karma

Who was your strangest costumer?

TMStage107 karma

This happened yesterday, a homeless couple showed up, looking very ragged and pushing around one of those square carts overflowing with crap, and they smelled...really bad. But they spoke like Harvard graduates and acted very politely. It was the strangest disconnect compared to the usual homeless guys that wander in here.

goldfishpaws23 karma

https://imgur.com/sYcpSLP can you see why I don't trust this arcade? Balls bigger than the holes...

TMStage58 karma

Oof, yeah that looks like a Slam A Winner ball, that should definitely not be going into that machine. That said, ask an attendant. They'll usually just give you the 25 tickets and reset the machine.

FWIW they may not be entirely malicious, it might just be that they don't have the proper balls and are making do with what they have. I don't know that arcade though so take my words with a grain of salt.

enwal_22 karma

My question will be the typical and probably popular, best game to get the most tickets on?

TMStage59 karma

See, that's...a hard question to answer. Game payout rates are set by the arcade themselves, and are designed to average out across a day or week or month. So while some games are better than others, there isn't really a "best game".

Avoid coin rollers though. They're...really not great.

Himbler1221 karma

If there's a game that pays out too well, is there some way for management to track it? Few months ago I went to an arcade that had a machine that basically needed perfect timing to get a peg rotating around into a score area - kind of like Hungry Hungry Hippos. I got really good at the timing & basically got thousands of tickets my first time there, walked out with some of the largest prizes. I went back to that arcade to find they had made the game more difficult by adding more pegs and a weird delay to the grabber. Do these sorts of changes happen often?

TMStage35 karma

Not really. If someone walks out with fat stacks of tickets, we generally don't care unless it's like super egregious. We once had someone jam a nickel into a sensor on Deep Freeze so that it kept counting 10 tickets repeatedly and effectively awarded him infinite tickets. We put the machine out of order.

dougiebgood30 karma

They totally can. Apparently if you cash in your tickets for prizes right away, they can easily track it to what you played, which is what I did. The more "pro" arcade players who play in order to sell the prizes will tell you to wait a month.

Same story with me, I found a bunch of machine that had huge payouts, cashed in for some big prizes, and now all of those machines are "nerfed'

TMStage26 karma

To add to this, it's really on an arcade by arcade basis. Some arcades are really hardcore about how many tickets they let out the door, some not so much.

rwmullis7922 karma

Bouncy balls are the best item to redeem with tickets. Do you concur?

TMStage51 karma

Absolutely not, those fuckers end up everywhere

payperview1120 karma

What is the most amount of tickets someone has redeemed. Also what did they get for it?

TMStage50 karma

Two weeks ago I had a guy give me about 255,000 tickets. He bought an electric bike.

physedka5 karma

Real paper tickets or electronic cards like Dave and busters?

TMStage15 karma

Real paper tickets!

ilbub18 karma

What prizes are the most valuable? Or, what’s a good prize to choose to make me forget the buckets of coins I spent on attaining tickets?

TMStage27 karma

I like our little anime playing cards. Pixel sunglasses are also pretty cool, and the kids love our selection of slimes.

ilbub9 karma

What is the most costly prize? Not in terms of tickets, but actual cost to the arcade.

TMStage25 karma

We had an electric bike that I sold about two weeks ago. I think it cost like 130 bucks or something. I dunno for sure.

AnotherDrunkCanadian17 karma

How's your day going? Easter Monday here in Tahiti is likely going to be very quiet. People are pretty religious here, plus its the last day of a two week holiday and the weather is nice, so I expect most will be at the beach

TMStage26 karma

Well I just had 18 people come through the door, so starting to get a little busy. Nothing really breaking yet, though I needed to reload a game with tickets. Just a minute ago.

PoopaScoopaFTW15 karma

Used to work at an arcade doing the same thing. We had a sign that said “pick out your prizes before turning in tickets”. It helped with the speed that we assisted customers. No one paid attention to the sign and it was always the classic “uhhhhhhh” for five minutes. Do y’all have a similar system?

TMStage74 karma

We tried once. Half our customers can't read, and the other half are children. It didn't work out.

supersaiyanchocobo40 karma

I worked in a pretty busy arcade about 10 years ago. They told us to run the prize counter like a used car dealer, so we would make deals with kids to get them out of there faster. Only have 75 tickets? How about 1 of these things for 100? Usually the kids would be so happy they'd just take whatever we offered right away, and we could get them out of there. The ticket to dollar ratio is ridiculous, so there was no way to lose money unless you did something really egregious.

TMStage22 karma

We aren't told explicitly to do that but we end up doing it out of necessity. The prize line would run out the door if we didn't.

motogp100012 karma

Is Killer Instinct there?

TMStage8 karma

Not at this arcade, no.

Digital_loop10 karma

What is your favourite arcade game? Also, arcade or personal home console for you?

TMStage25 karma

In The Groove 2!

And home consoles, just because I work at the arcade lol. I still love them though.

makeshiftrigger9 karma

Do you guys have Point Blank? By far my favorite arcade game

TMStage8 karma

We used to, but no longer. I miss it :(

thelgjedi8 karma

You got time crisis with the recoil on?

And why dont they have a 4 player time crisis yet!?

TMStage2 karma

Yes! Our TC4 machine has recoil!

20seca36 karma

some machines takes more coins to start than others even when advertised @ 1 Coin. why?

TMStage3 karma

Either the label hasn't been updated or there might be a fault with the coin switch. Either way, ask an attendant.

crispybaconsalad6 karma

Any video games still being played a lot? Fighting Games. Racing. Dance Rhythm games.

TMStage14 karma

We have an MVC2 cab that our local FGC likes a lot. A few regulars come to play ITG2. Mostly it's just kids playing to get prizes though.

Onlyhereforthelaughs6 karma

I know the AMA is closed, but if you end up coming back, what is the most amount of tokens you've found jammed in a machine? (I think I might have asked you this the last time, if that was you.)

TMStage8 karma

About 65 or so. I was under there for like 10 minutes.

Digital_loop5 karma

What is the most expensive game in the arcade?

TMStage9 karma

If I had to guess probably NX Absolute or Winners Cube

goldfishpaws4 karma

Which devices have the highest yield/per sqft?

Has a "hold" on a fruit machine ever dropped in the third winning symbol?

TMStage6 karma

We don't really have a fruit machine so can't really say lol

Dizzychu2182 karma

Is this the oh wow nickel arcade in Fresno? I took my kids here the other day.

TMStage3 karma

Yuh. Now that Hell Week™ is officially over, we might be able to start fixing some of our games.

Dizzychu2182 karma

Yeah there was so many game broken. Are you guys every gonna fix the skee ball?

TMStage4 karma

Waitin' on parts. That's the problem with having a bunch of old games is that parts are a) hard to come by, and b) expensive when you do come by them.

WhatChewieSmelled2 karma

So do you have modern games that have coin operation, or only classic/older stuff? I love going to arcades in my city, but hate the card swipe systems. I mean I get it, but I miss going with a pocket full of quarters.

TMStage11 karma

Most of our stuff is older, I think the newest game in our arcade is from like 2009 or something.

Honestly, as someone who works at an arcade and is in the trenches all day, I'd love to have card swipe. 75% of my headaches come from the coin and ticket mechanisms, and being able to automate that process with no moving parts to break down would be a dream.

d7it23js2 karma

Do you keep track of the kids that obviously have no parent with them?

TMStage11 karma

We just straight up do not have that kind of time.

JoOngle1 karma

What kind of repair staff do you have?

Is it regular technicians on call, dedicated staff, enthusiasts.

How is the pay for those?

TMStage2 karma

We have three locations, and the crew rotates around them during the week. They make a little more than we do, but not much.

Stealthy_Asparagus1 karma

On a scale of 1-10, how much would you recommend your job to other people?

TMStage3 karma

Like a 6. Better than regular retail, but more physically demanding.

beakrake1 karma

What is the worst mess (or top 3 messes if you've got the time) you've had to clean up in the arcade?

I worked a 3 person arcade for 3 years, and my worst one was the time human shit got smeared across the entire length of the prize showcase glass. They used it like a stinky crayon and left the nub pressed onto the glass at the end.

I also had to clean out a photo booth that a couple fat biker types were caught getting frisky in, as their kids played the other games around them.

TMStage3 karma

Some kid took a shit all over our NX Absolute pads. That was fun.

Joebyrd11 karma

Hey! I have wonder wheel and goal line rush too! I can't see all of them in your picture but I'm sure there are others. Do you have a dedicated tech for your store or do the attendants work on the games?

TMStage6 karma

We are fortunate enough to have a dedicated tech crew, though we share them with two other locations.

bdonvr1 karma

If you are the same guy have you seen Wreck It Ralph yet? I seem to recall you saying you had never seen it

TMStage1 karma

Can confirm, and also confirming I still haven't seen it.

Apophis90-1 karma

How high are you right now?

TMStage5 karma

Shockingly I'm stone cold sober.

Asksaboutducks-2 karma


TMStage3 karma


dirtymoney-12 karma

What's to prevent you from skimming coinage off the top?

I once worked at a place that had three machines and I'd pick the locks on them so I could get free plays (one actually had a dimple lock.. first time I ever ran into one of those... and had to use my pick gun with the dimple lock attachment) and it would've been so easy to skim. Except one had a mechanical counter on it that I assume counted how many quarters it collected. Examining it though one could manually tick back the counter wheel. WOnder if there was a digital version too.

TMStage14 karma

While you could theoretically do that, we have cameras everywhere, and it wouldn't be hard to come up behind you like "hey bud whatcha doin?"

Please do not steal from arcades. We're barely staying afloat as it is.

dirtymoney1 karma

Ever run across silver quarters? And switch em out for regular ones?

TMStage2 karma

Nah. I wish.

justbiteme2k-36 karma

Have you married your sister yet, or did your brother get there first?

TMStage7 karma

I don't have a sister :(

scottxwl0 karma

Is an unhappy face really what you are going for here? Bold choice.

TMStage2 karma