Arcade Champion: The Science of Success!

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By Zack Wahl

We’ve all had those days, especially now that we’re in college, where just about everything seems to go wrong. You fail an exam, your athletic coach at practice yells at you, or you get into a big fight with your family or friends. And you really just need a win.

Next time this happens, hop in a car, and drive to the closest Chuck E. Cheese’s and redeem yourself. Just follow these few expert tips and you’ll find yourself rolling in candy and plastic prizes for the rest of your life.

Skeeball: The game is simple. Roll a ball up an incline and into different holes for different amounts of points. The most important aspect to becoming a champion is your stance. Make sure to stagger your feet, like you’re throwing a ball, and rest your front shin up against the edge of the lane. This allows you to have a more consistent velocity and trajectory for your balls. Hold the ball with your fingertips to help prevent spin, and keep a straight shot when rolling. And, do not aim for the 100 point rings! While they offer the greatest reward, your probability of sinking one of those shots is very low. The highest risk-to-reward ratio comes from the 40 point rings, so aim for those!

Whac-A-Mole: The object of this classic game is to bop plastic moles on the head as they pop out of holes on a tabletop, your weapon being a plush mallet provided by the arcade game. Ideally, you want to keep the mallet two feet off of the tabletop; this will provide you with enough momentum to crush the moles, while giving you enough time to react to hit them right where it hurts. And if you have a friend, bring them in and have them cover half the holes for twice the mole-punching power!

Basketball Shooter: This game is the most realistic of all the arcade games. It’s just like shooting hoops in your driveway: the more baskets you make, the more tickets you get in return.

This is just a basic projectile motion problem. So, use your kinematic equations and a little mental math to calculate the necessary angle and velocity, depending on how far away the hoop is and how high you need to shoot, and let it rip! Try to keep your projectiles constant for a more consistent shot.

By following these well-proven scientific techniques, you’ll soon be on your way to playing like an arcade game champion, while boosting your self-esteem on one of those hard days that just seem to be out to get you.

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