Date: Nov 12, 2017
When I was may be 5-10 years old, I love to visit the arcade centre in Genting Highlands. May be that is because my parents at one stage almost bring us to Genting Highlands on monthly basis. Daddy & Mommy will visit the casino, and the kids will visit the arcade. I love to play Galaxian or Space Invaders, and I love pinballs machine a lot.
When I was teenager, influenced by my friends, I like to visit the Arcade centre. At that time, I love to play the Mahjong, Street Fighters, Tekken, Daytona, etc.
Luckily at that time, Internet was not yet arrived to Singapore. So, I was fortunately not in the era of Internet Cafe booming periods. I heard got one time, Internet Cafe is every where, and there are a lot of online gambling PC and so on.
This year, I have started to bring the kids to visit the local (Singapore) arcade centre. Such as Time Zone and the one at Suntec 3rd floor (can’t remember what is it called).
On thing I found out especially the one at Suntec… that those arcade machines over at the arcade centre are of gambling nature. Most of it.
You basically buy the tokens or cards and then, when you play, you get the tickets or points. The one at Suntec, many of them, is like slot machine, or the roulette like that.. you spent money to do a lucky spin and hope to hit the bonus or big prizes.
In general the kids are very happy to “earn” those tickets.
But they usually don’t know what does it mean. They know they can exchange for presents using the tickets.
These arcade machines, in my opinion, can be dangerous to kids. I am very surprise that it was even allowed in the arcade centre. I really find it no different than a slot machine. hahaha The only different is there is no money coming out from the machine, instead tickets.
And it is kind of addictive. You can hook on to such arcade center easily.
The joy of counting the tickets are part of the excitement the kids enjoyed.
For weeks, I have been trying to device a reasoning why visiting arcade is bad for the kids (if they go without supervisions).
Here are some of my thoughts.
- Don’t avoid it. Bring the kids over to the arcade centre. Let them feel the fun, joy and addictions.
- Because if you don’t bring them, during the process of growing up, some one will. Some one in their school, may visit the arcade centre with your kids. So, instead of letting the kids grow up and go to the arcade centre without you, I think it is best to expose them to it before their friends bring them there.
- The arcade centre has some really good game. Like those throw things onto the puppets, or basketball throwing. Those are good, because it is fun, and exhausting to throw the basketball. These are using your strength, your aiming, to earn the tickets. These machines are all right.
- Those arcade machines that has “gambling” idea with it are the one you need to educate the kids. Everything base on luck. So, you have to let them play until gao gao. Because after that, you can ask them questions like “So, how many times you have hit 100 tickets?” If they counting, then it is easily to notice that, out of 10 times, you probably get 2 times 100 tickets. And most of the times are 5 or 10 tickets. So, the idea is to let them discover it. Let them know that it is based on pure luck.
- Then, next thing is to bring them to the prize changing counter. And it is lucky that the Suntec arcade centre has a very high prize exchange rate. So, my son has notice this… a) 500 tickets to exchange for a packet of Oreo biscuits that has 3 pieces of Oreo biscuits. b) 9900 ticket to exchange for a Fidget spinner. c) 315000 to change some AR device. OK, we spent $20 and won 2000 tickets. Now, that is because Jay was so lucky to strike a “bonus” and win 1000 tickets. If we were not lucky that day, and didn’t hit the bonus in that spin, then, we likely end up with less than 1000 tickets with the $20 worth of tokens.
- So, this is where your kids will need to do the mental calculations after seeing this. Kay says: “Daddy, you know if you need to change the fidget spinner, you need to have spent $100.” he actually derived it by multiply 2000 tickets by 5 so that he will have 10,000 tickets to change for the fidget spinner. But that fidget spinner where my wife bought for one of his classmates as birthday presents is only $5 worth. So, Kay says: “What? $100 to buy a fidget spinner that cost $5?” I immediately says: “So, we have 2000 tickets and we spent $20 on it. How many Oreos can can get?” Kay immediately answered: “4”. And “how much does a big box of oreo cost?” of course is less than $5. So, using $20 to win 4 packs of 3x Oreo biscuits, is is worth it??
- So, you have to let the kids to figure that out themselves. But if luck is on their side, they will win big. But the chances are slim. They got to understand this too. Which they have played enough to figure that part out.
- So, I continue, explained, what is casino, and why these arcade game has the same concept as casino slot machine or lucky spin.
- I then explained to them, “you know that this suntec arcade shop open in such a premium location, in a mall in CBD area. Will cost a lot of money. And where do you think the money comes from? Of course, from our pockets. So, if you buy things from a mall compare to buying it from the HDB heartland stores, which one will be cheaper? Of course the heartland stores. As those rentals are cheaper. So, the kids now know that opening a shop in Suntec city cost a lot of money. And the arcade centre must be earning a lot a lot of money (including ours) in order to pay for the rent.
So, after Kay and Jay asked those questions, every time we passed by the Suntec Arcade centre, they no longer says “Daddy, can we visit the arcade centre??” I am so glad and felt very proud of my two sons be able to recognise some of the obvious cons of visiting the arcade. It is totally not worth it. Better well spent the money to buy 3 boxes of Oreo instead of 4x little packs.