0
There's Nothing Like a Good Claw Game Blog Home
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Jun. 16, 2008 06:09 PM  

One thing about spending so much time driving from one gig to another is you really start to learn your way around the country, or at least the country as defined by the interstate. One of the tried and true traditions for the Bilge Pumps to give us some cheap entertainment for those late nights on the road is the playing of "claw games". You know what I'm talking about. Those games that charge you anywhere from 25 cents to a buck to operate the overhead claw and often repeatedly fail, causing you to spend $10.00 to grab those cheap stuffed animals you could pick up at Toys R Us for $2.50. Who knows how much money I have spent on these insane games since 1999 on these road trips, but I'm sure it's more than a little. After a while, it becomes an automatic addiction.

You walk thru the door to Joe Bob's Greasy Spoon and Gas Station, spot the claw game to your left and wonder if you can hold off going to the bathroom long enough to get in one try. Since you can't you go ahead and hit the head, grab some overpriced Funyuns and a GD liter of cola and plant yourself in front of the game. First step you have to do (typically with the advice of the strung-out-on-monster pirates standing beside you) is to size up the tank of stuffed toys and see if there are any that's don't appear to have been packed in tight by a yeti jumping up and down on them. (On a side note, I think there's a fine artform these "packers" follow to cram everything in tightly and immovably while still giving the impression that the Underdog toy in a dress might conceivably be moved.)

Once you've determined your target(s), you feed in that money to the beast and prepare to move the claw over its intended victim in the 15 seconds alloted you. Beware! Some machines will only let you move in one direction forward or left and won't let you reverse course to fine-tune your adjustment. Leave those machines after your first attempt and don't give them any more money. They're only ripping you off worse. Once your claw is situated (again, often with the help of bleary-eyed, caffeinated, insane pirate friends trying to spot you from the side), you drop that sucker and see if it can snag that prize. More often than not, you get what I call the "jelly claw", where the claw seems to just slide over the toy like syrup without ever having a prayer of catching anything. I know these things are set to only have tension in the claw every so often, the trick is to make sure you're on target for the times it does work. Personally, my favorite times are when you can jam the claw tine into a belt or something on the toy and snag it when the claw doesn't have tension. MY own little way of sticking it to the "man". Uh... I guess the "stuffed animal man".

I've won a ton of goofy little stuffed toys over the years playing these games and previously they went to my wife or ended up toys for my dog, but now I have a baby girl and I must attack these games with a vengeance to win the prize to provide for my girl. Kind of a hunter-gatherer for the new millennium only instead of a bleeding gazelle, I bring back Curious George in a plane or some kind of freaky clown doll right out of "Poltergeist". I know she's just gonna love 'em. Whether she does or not doesn't matter, because at the time, I'm convinced she will. The first claw game I played after she was born, I was holding her in one arm while guiding the claw with the other and snagged a big fuzzy yellow duck the first time out. If that's not a sign, I don't know what is! She played with it (off and on) the rest of the multi-hour car trip. Daddy's mission accomplished. Poor girl's gonna end up with a closet full of these cheap-ass toys. hyuk hyuk.

Where are the best claw games you might ask? Well, I can give you a few right off the top of my head. The Citgo at Hwy 34 & I-20 in Terrell, TX has a good one. The Denny's off Hwy 69 in Muskogee, OK as well. A new favorite, the Station Grill in Lawton, OK has one. The best one of all, though, is the claw game at the Silver's Travel Center on the North side of 328 & I-10 in Breaux Bridge, LA. You guys have a favorite to let us know about?

Because it's all for me blog. Me jolly jolly blog.
....Maroon



this is halarious i use to work at a denny's in tulsa, elm st. exit off of the b.a., its crane machine was good too. i have a photo of my daughter, about one sitting on her twin bed all the amaimals that we had won were stacked up behind, beside and infront of her all you can see is her face. thier had to be a hundred. i finally had to make the desision to get rid of some cause thier was no place to play in her room. we finally took them to a hospital around xmas time and gave three trash bags to the childrens ward....p.s. i wonder is all denny's crane machine a good grab.
Posted by boatswain red on Jun. 17, 2008 04:02 PM

I LOVE those claw games! I play them all the time. I keep some for my dogs ( the ones without beans in them) the others I give to away to whom ever wants them. I usually end up collecting a 30 gal bag and taking them to the donation box for the children's foster home.
Posted by Angela on Jun. 22, 2008 12:03 PM

I'm really bad at most arcade game, the claw game included. Although, there's a one of those new, smaller, flashier machine with REALLY crappy toys (not even a stuffie to be seen) at the Movie theatre in Owasso, OK. The only reason that I even mention this particular machine is because the last time I saw it, it was in a "holding pattern" and happened to have deposited a couple of toys in the prize chute. I am now the proud owner of a neon yellow mini flashlight key chain thanks to the machine.
Posted by Jael Arvad on Mar. 08, 2009 07:49 PM


Name: Email:
Enter the text from the right:  

(Comments are moderated, so they will not appear immediately on the site)
Buffalo Soldiers
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Mar. 02, 2016 02:13 PM0 comments
The New Guy Is Now an Old Guy
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Nov. 19, 2015 11:09 AM1 comment
The Fun of Music-making
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Oct. 02, 2015 10:03 AM1 comment
Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day, Ya Lugs!
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Sep. 16, 2015 04:36 PM0 comments
Taylor Swift vs Spotify and Support of Musicians (Independent or Not)
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Nov. 25, 2014 02:55 PM1 comment
Book review: Journey to Jazzland
Posted by Harvey the Corpsman
Oct. 22, 2014 01:46 PM1 comment
How do you make your first CD? We Don't Know!
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Oct. 07, 2014 11:50 AM0 comments
The Ups and Downs and Downs of Recording an Album
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Jun. 20, 2014 10:29 AM0 comments
You Got Your Islands in My Highlands!
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Oct. 15, 2013 01:33 PM0 comments
More For Moore... for Sure
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Jul. 18, 2013 05:42 PM1 comment
The Bilge Pumps be.. on an Idi-odys-sey
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Dec. 12, 2012 09:18 AM1 comment
Tales from the Road - OKC
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
May. 30, 2012 06:02 PM1 comment
Are CD's Dead?
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Feb. 22, 2012 09:58 AM1 comment
Small Business, Big Deal
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Nov. 30, 2011 10:04 AM2 comments
Tales from the Road - Florida
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Jun. 17, 2011 10:05 AM0 comments
CD or not CD?
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Apr. 21, 2011 12:27 PM0 comments
It's Beginning to Reek a Lot Like Christmas
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Nov. 04, 2010 10:41 AM1 comment
A Tale of Tails
Posted by Harvey the Corpsman
Apr. 08, 2010 11:37 AM6 comments
Tales from the Road - Norman
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Mar. 17, 2010 08:08 AM4 comments
Tales from the Road - Louisiana
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Dec. 17, 2009 03:02 PM4 comments
The Bilge Pumps and TRF
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Nov. 09, 2009 11:33 AM7 comments
A New Pirate Festival
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Aug. 10, 2009 03:57 PM8 comments
A Cyber-Wake for Kailyn Dammit
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
May. 05, 2009 10:29 AM40 comments
The Renaissance Economy
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Mar. 11, 2009 04:17 PM7 comments
Making a DVD
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Dec. 02, 2008 05:11 PM3 comments
Jousting with Umbrellas
Posted by Harvey the Corpsman
Oct. 09, 2008 05:39 PM26 comments
There's Nothing Like a Good Claw Game
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Jun. 16, 2008 06:09 PM3 comments
My Life as a Bilge Pump (or I hate Squeegy)
Posted by Sharkbait Simon the Scapegoat
Jun. 11, 2008 09:09 AM10 comments
A Tradition Comes to an End (for now)
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Jun. 06, 2008 09:47 AM1 comment
Gas and the Price of Being a Rennie
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
May. 05, 2008 02:28 PM3 comments
OU Medieval Fair
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Apr. 14, 2008 10:43 AM7 comments
New Renaissance Festivals
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Mar. 26, 2008 02:05 PM1 comment
Best Movie Fights
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Mar. 04, 2008 10:37 AM9 comments
Why don't the Bilge Pumps perform in Muskogee any more?
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Feb. 04, 2008 04:13 PM14 comments
Mardi Gras Downer
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Jan. 22, 2008 09:58 AM2 comments
The Beginning of the Bilge Pumps
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Jan. 11, 2008 11:35 AM3 comments
What happened to Celtic Music Pubs in Dallas?
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Dec. 27, 2007 11:27 AM2 comments
Stage Act vs Musicians
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Dec. 18, 2007 07:54 AM9 comments
A Pirate No More
Posted by Galleon O'Galleon the Pilot
Dec. 11, 2007 09:26 AM14 comments
The Pub Sing
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Dec. 03, 2007 03:56 PM1 comment
This year at TRF and the "No Request Show"
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Nov. 27, 2007 10:11 AM9 comments
The First Blog
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Nov. 14, 2007 11:49 AM0 comments

For booking information contact Craig Lutke at:
214-415-9563 or by e-mail at

| Home | Ships List | Nautical News | Press & Promo | Songs of the Sea | Treasure Island | Pirate Music Box | Pirate Picture Box |
| Scheduled Voyages | Past Landings | Friendly Ports | Buccaneers Blog | Guestbook | Mailing List |