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    UFO Catcher: A Guide To Winning

    By thomas | November 30, 2007

    Japanese Culture blog Tofugu recently posted up a cool guide to winning stuffed animals from UFO Catcher. Apparently the trick is to use the claw to push down and roll the toys near the exit rather than trying to pick them up. They made a little video showing how to do it (the meat it about halfway through). Have a watch:

    There’s more on their website, so I encourage you to read the full article at Maybe Daily J should interview these guys.

    Do you have any UFO Catcher tips? Post them in the comments.

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    Topics: Japan Hacks | 9 Comments »Trackback

    9 Responses to “UFO Catcher: A Guide To Winning”

    1. Jonneh Says:
      December 1st, 2007 at 3:31 am

      lmao I love those things because for some odd reason I win them a lot. Of course, when my gf’s around, somehow I always lose…. >_>

      I have never tried this method before, though! Problem is, that Japanese Catcher’s tongs to grab things with were a lot different than the american ones I see everywhere. The japanese one looked like it only had two tongs, looked plastic too. Looks a bunch easier to do this guy’s method and “push” the prizes closer to the exit for you. But, who knows, maybe it’s simple with the metal-like, 4-or-so tongs as well!

      I’ll be sure to give this a try sometime!

    2. thomas Says:
      December 1st, 2007 at 6:10 am

      @Jonneh: If you read the full article over at (it’s linked twice in the article), they talk about the difference between the American 4-prong and the Japanese 2-prong.

    3. Jonneh Says:
      December 1st, 2007 at 3:18 pm

      haha yeah after I finished typing your comment I clicked the link and read the full article last night before going to bed – great stuff! :)

    4. Tori Says:
      December 3rd, 2007 at 11:41 pm

      That was hilarious!!

      I love his tips on conversing with the machine-refiller in limited Japanese and his advice for little children to stay away from the stuff-animal-winning oyaji ;)

      My problem: The last time I checked those UFO games were at least 100 yen a go!
      My hack: work the gaijin magic so that the refiller gives you one for free.

      Tofugu, you’ve got yourself an interview.

    5. thomas Says:
      December 10th, 2007 at 11:16 am

      @Jonneh: Tofugu is a cool site, and their logo is hilarious.

      @Tori: This hack of course assumes that you play UFO Catcher to begin with :). Other people prefer to spend their 100 yen coins elsewhere, like on chocolate-covered almonds.

    6. Tips and Tricks for Survival in Japan « Says:
      January 14th, 2008 at 3:34 pm

      […] NihonHacks is the work of Thomas Hjelm, a former exchange student and current JET teacher in Hyogo. Thomas has written articles about using JR Odekake NET for planning trips by train, saving money on cleaning products by buying refills, how to find cheese in Japan, how not to waste rice, how to make miso soup quickly, finding cheap steaks and even winning on a UFO Catcher. […]

    7. Nekopan Says:
      February 10th, 2008 at 11:30 am


      Most American ones I’ve seen generally have these high plastic shields around the drop hole so that this can’t happen if it’s not completely full, though.

      And UFO catchers in Japan are more expensive because the toys are better :)

    8. November Hacks from the Past roundup | Says:
      November 19th, 2008 at 1:09 pm

      […] How to win at UFO Catcher – Learn how to win stuffed animals at UFO Catcher. Actually, this is just a link to a great tofugu article. Check it out from the original source. […]

    9. freedomwv Says:
      November 27th, 2008 at 3:29 pm

      My gal is hooked real bad on these things. She wins more than any other person I have ever seen. She says the advice from the video is very good.