Games and Prizes that Are Tops
Perspectives from Operators and Locations

A view of the video games at Nickel City. The center’s most popular video game is Space Invaders.

The most popular redemption games and redemption prizes are always changing in arcades and family entertainment centers, and for coin-operated game rental companies. Operators offer their current game and prize favorites.

At Party Jungle in Phoenix, Ariz., General Manager Melissa Nathan has some definite customer favorites. “People love Monopoly and Tower of Power. Both games are extremely popular, to some extent because they offer better chances of hitting bonuses and getting lots of tickets,” she said. Monopoly is also a newer game, and, like the traditional board game, has appeal across a wide range of ages. Tower of Power boasts futuristic lighting and audio, and is very visually attractive as well as being an exciting game. When it comes to prizes, Nathan says it varies frequently, but currently “The vinyl poop emojis are always out of stock. People really want those, they’re very popular.” Nathan added “Candy is a perennial favorite with kids; we have Soda Can candies, and those are a big favorite.” She noted that while stuffed toys are popular in crane-type games, when it comes to the redemption counter, customers are seeking more current and trendy items. “The poop emoji is trendy right now and kids just simply love poop,” she laughed. 

A close-up of tokens and prizes at Party Jungle in Phoenix, Ariz. The general manager said guests love the Monopoly and Tower of Power games.

In Chandler, Ariz., Shawn Shedivy, manager of Makutu’s Island finds Quick Drop and Down the Clown his most popular redemption games. “They’re the newer games. While we have some older games that are still popular even years after they stop making them, we have a lot of repeat business and our clientele comes here looking for new things. So, for now, those games are the favorites.” The skill factor involved in Quick Drop, as well as the colorful cabinet and fast-paced gaming also lend to that game’s popularity. Down the Clown’s popularity as a midway game has definitely translated, Shedivy said, into arcade play. His most popular redemption prizes are on the smaller side. “The smaller items really appeal to children, such as the small plastic animals or poppers, things of that nature. Of larger scale items, anything MineCraft is really popular, because the game itself is.”

Guests still love to win tickets at Nickel City, especially high volume wins for as much as 10,000 tickets.

At Nickel City in San Diego, Calif., Charmaine Isidro, social media manager, holds customer outreach events and has her finger on the pulse of game popularity. Her top games at the moment surprise even in her. “I would say our most popular are actually the coin pushers, surprisingly. Our number one is D.C. Comics, and I would say it does so well because we have collectible cards that come with the game. You can collect 14 cards of heroes and villains, and people come to win those, because if you get them all, you’ll also get 10,000 tickets. Naturally, people love that. It’s the most tickets you can get at an arcade game.” Isidro said Nickel City’s next most popular game is Space Invaders. “It’s a classic, and there’s a redemption version of that game now. According to people I interact with, Pop the Lock and Quick Drop are popular games as well; those are more about timing, they’re both challenge games which makes them appealing.” As far as favorite redemption prizes go, she noted that while little children go for candy, older teens and adults prefer bigger items, such as Nerf guns and a small drone. “What sets us apart from other family entertainment centers, such as a chain like Dave and Busters, is that we have a lot of vintage item older toys as well, such as a Millenium Falcon Lego set,” she related. “People love to go after the vintage prizes.”

The front desk at Party Jungle. The general manager said that in the area of redemption prizes, the vinyl poop emojis are always out of stock.

In Oak Park, Calif., at Kids World Family Fun Center, Party Coordinator Jordan Matute said her family entertainment center’s most popular redemption games are Jurassic Park, Sponge Bob, and the Ice Ball alley roller. “They’re each popular for different reasons. Ice Ball, everyone of all ages loves it; older customers remember playing it when they were younger and enjoy it now with their children. With Sponge Bob, you can get special cards that give you an extra 100 points. Of course, everyone loves that because they can get more prizes. With Jurassic Park, well that is just a legendary game,” she laughed. As far as redemption prizes go, Matute said children go for “mini sea animals. They are inside plastic balls, and when you open the ball, the animal comes out. Little kids love that.”

Coin-operated game rental companies also weigh in on their most popular items, as well. 

Greg Deller, owner of Amusement Games Inc. in Santa Claus, Ind., said, “My most popular redemption games are Big Bass Wheel, Fish Bowl Frenzy, and Down the Clown. One of the things that makes each of these games popular is the sheer size of them, the great graphics. They have a good wow factor that draws players,” he related. 

Party Jungle guests playing games. “Candy is a perennial favorite with kids; we have Soda Can candies, and those are a big favorite,” the general manager said of redemption prizes.

Also in Indiana, at Americoin Amusement in Evansville, Owner Scott Winzinger is not carrying redemption games currently, focusing instead on crane games and prize games such as Stackers and Key Master, which are very popular for his company. But he does offer an opinion on popular prizes. “Finger monkeys are extremely popular, and so are squishies, the high dollar animal shaped variety. Squishies are like super soft stress balls, and people are really enjoying them. Also popular are small remote control drones and helicopters.”

A glow party room at Nickel City. The center’s social media manager has her finger on the pulse of which games are popular.

Regardless of which games and which prizes operators find popular, the end result is the same: redemption games, particularly those with the possibility for accumulating a large amount of prize tickets, are a great deal of fun for everyone.

An Amusement Games, Inc., location in Kentucky. For this Santa Claus, Ind., company, large games with great graphics do well.

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