Going to the carnival is a ton of fun, even if most of the games are basically a scam. Everyone knows how impossible it can be to win some of the smallest prizes. Carnival games vary from fairly legitimate, to basically impossible for the average human being. Mark Rober recently decided to dive deep and figure out which of these games are the best, and which ones you should skip over.
Rober is a Youtuber, an engineer, and a very smart guy. He’s built some amazing things, like a dart board that ensures you always hit a bullseye. But he’s also a data scientist, and he decided to figure out the down and dirty facts about these deceptively simple carnival games.
He divided the games into three distinct groups. The first group consists of the random chance games, where absolutely no skill is involved at any point. The second group is made up of skill-based games, like shooting a basketball or trying to hit balloons with darts. The last category is the impossible games, the ones that basically no one can possibly win no matter how lucky or skillful.
The random chance games are basically just rolling dice. Your chances of winning can be broken down into a ratio. Divide the winning outcomes, by the total outcomes and you’ll get your percentage to win that particular game. These often use balls that are extra bouncy to ensure that no matter where you aim, it’ll end up somewhere else.
The real kicker at the end of the day is the actual price of the prizes. These companies buy in bulk, so they are basically printing money when it comes to these carnival games. Even if you make it on your first shot, chances are they are making at least a 60-70% profit margin on that one throw. Add in a few extra tries and you can imagine how profitable these games can be.
The most popular skill-based is the basketball toss. Rober decided to investigate why this challenge is so difficult. It became apparent once he broke out the tape measure and realized that the line is actually 4 feet behind the distance of an NBA three-pointer. The hoop is also a foot taller, making any prior muscle memory or coordination basically useless.
Other skill-based games include the Wiffle ball toss, tossing a baseball to hit some bottles, and throwing darts at balloons.
The last category is made up of games that are essentially impossible and Rober explains why. First, he demonstrates how it’s basically impossible for you to shoot out the whole star due to simple physics. Not a single player won the game on the day he visited.
He concludes by telling the audience to play the games if they think they are fun, but make sure you know just how significant the deck is stacked against you. The more knowledge you have, the better you’ll be to win that grand prize next time you hit the carnival! Check out the video below for even more tips on how to best these challenging games.
What’s your favorite carnival game? Share in the comments!