WRAL.com at the State Fair

A Small Tent of Games

Posted October 18, 2007 8:59 p.m. EDT

One of the things I miss about the old midway is the big tent of arcade games. There's just something about playing old 80s games (more often than not with a horrible case of burn-in) in the middle of a grassy (or occasionally muddy) lot.

Alas, there's no arcade this year. However there IS a small tent of games on the new midway -- maybe seven or eight. They're not arcade games per se, more like prize-winning games. There's a particularly-insidious one which I call The Lighthouse Game.

It's pretty simple. Give it a buck and you get two games. Each game is two spins on a spinner that has both positive and negative numbers (+2, -1, +3, etc.) Each number moves you up and down the lighthouse in the middle of the game. (See the picture.) If you get to the top of the lighthouse, you're a winner and can pick out anything in the game (I saw a variety of prizes including MP3 players and PS/2 video games.)

Sounds simple, but it's maddeningly frustrating. I spent $2 and realized that I could shortly go broke playing this game. If I had a couple hundred bucks I guess I could spent enough time to see if the spinner had a pattern, but I think I'd rather spend that time playing Whac-A-Mole.

Interesting to play once, and some pretty nifty prizes, but bewarrrrrreeee.....