Remember those claw vending machines at the arcade that you would see as a child? Usually these machines cost around 50 cents per play and were near impossible to pick anything up with. You would have to sink tons of money just to even get a prize. Now there is SuperClaw.com, a website where you can play on real claw machines for free. This game isn’t a simulation; it features actual claw vending machines with video cameras attached to them streaming the game to your home right over the internet.
Even though the online game won’t cost you any money, the only drawback is that you have to wait in line for an open machine to play on. The game is supported by PayPal donations and purchases from the SuperClaw online store. You have to register to play on the website, once registered you can choose to play on any machine or pick a machine to wait in line for. There are multiple machines to play on and you can observe other people playing the game while you’re waiting for a machine to play on. Once a machine is available a sound plays and you have a view of the playing area. There are two camera angles you have to choose from: A “bird’s eye view” camera attached to the claw and a side view of the gaming area. There are also 6 buttons to choose from; four arrows that move the claw, a drop button and a camera view button that allows you to switch between the two views. The objective of the game for those who have never played a claw game is to pickup an object and drop it into the chute. Once you drop the claw, the claw automatically moves back to the prize chute and opens itself; you don’t need to move it back yourself.
The website is run by Fred Lloyd in Arizona, a former UNIX systems architect at Sun Microsystems. Those familiar with amateur radio or “ham radio” know him as the man behind qrz.com, which is a database of amateur radio call signs.
This is a very addicting game and is fun for anybody regardless of age. An amusing part of the game is since it’s online only you can find odd objects mixed in with the stuffed animals and toys such as a box of Nilla Wafers, a roll of toilet paper, a can of computer duster, a television remote and pieces of computer networking equipment. You can even send your own items via postal mail to the owners of the website so they can be torn up by the claw.
Fred Llyod, “QRZ.COM AA7BQ.” qrz.com