the loosest slots in town

July 30, 2007
Took my coins in to the coinstar machine to be counted. $200! All in that plastic fishbowl-like container an order of Atomic Fireballs came in.

I guess I hadn't cashed in since moving 3 years ago, but still... considering that bowl had also been raided for bus fair and laundry, not bad.

You can avoid the 9% counting fee by taking out your money as a gift certificate, like to Amazon. So now I gotta see if I should make my backlog of reading that much bigger, or hold out 'til Christmas, or what.

Analysis of the Moment
Three somewhat related pieces, studies in "how do they do that": Slate had two similar video slideshows, the clich├ęs of videogames and a deeper one on the 12 basic types of tv advertisements. A few days ago this comprehensive piece on the design of slot machines, from the machines themselves (I was a little shocked to realize how the "tightness" or "looseness" of slots was manipulated; I assumed it was luck of the draw) to the layout of the floors.

I kind of count myself fortunate that I feel zero draw to slots, because I've been known to get obsessive from time to time. The article mentions the skinner box aspect of it, lots of small payouts, and the promise of a tiny chance for the big payout... kind of like playing the lottery in real time. Me, I just get stressed at not winning and watching my starting money go inexorably down, and kind of bored by the machines that, while colorful and hypnotic, aren't as engrossing or interactive as the video games I grew up with.

The Ten Things Class that was the source of the slot machine study has a lot of interesting design bits, though not many are as fleshed out as the slots.