Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Sega Key Master Arcade Game

The Sega Key Master arcade game is a game in which you must navigate a key into a hole. If you are successful, then the key goes into the hole, turns upside down, and pulls out the prize. I wasted $20 on it yesterday, trying to win an iPad 2 or an iPod Touch 4g. I was literally a few millimeters off from winning an iPod Touch, but no. I didn't. The goal of this blog is to provide tips to people who think that he/she might have a chance at it and to, hopefully, keep people from wasting all of their money on it.

82 comments:

  1. Do you know any ways to find the nearest Key Master machines in a city or state? I was at the Sea World in San Antonio, Texas and had my first interaction with the maniacal Key Master. I did not succeed with the $9 I used. I must try again!

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  2. No, but set a budget if you find one... I could have bought something useful with the money wasted on it. I don't want to sound all like that, but just don't go broke on it. Try googling it. Something like "arcades" or something. Good luck!

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  3. I tried one of those, trying to get an iPad 2, but I instead wasted 3 bucks. But this isn't the end!!!!!

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  5. The Sega Key Master game is rigged. Paul Hull posted the manual on Google+ that, if you take a few minutes to read and understand, makes it very clear how the system is set up for you to fail.

    There are two key settings on this machine that determine how the game is rigged. The first is called "compulsory upper deviation." The default setting is 1.6 mm. I believe this means that the key will purposefully go anywhere between 1.6mm higher and 1.6 mm lower than where you tell it to go.

    The second setting is called "Payout rate," a unique value for each line of prizes. The default value here is 1 prize/700 credits. This means that the machine is set to ensure only 1/700 plays is a winner.
    Link to Paul Hull's post:
    https://plus.google.com/108982867061343040611/posts/9boMUQjxyaw
    Link to Key Master manual:
    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3SmqkZkICgvOGU5NjQ0MDktMmEyNy00MjE5LWFlNzYtOTMxNGY0M2ZlNjE1/edit?hl=en_US&pli=1

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    1. Mind explaining how there have been winners, then? I`m going to win myself a few things today. It just takes technique.

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    2. Well no, it doesnt. It's a game of chance masquerading as a game of skill, not unlike similar claw games. People win through sheer luck, not by being successful and there have been lawsuits about this. If it was a matter of technique, then sufficiently skillful people would clear out entire boxes, but that doesnt happen.

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  6. I am trying again tonight and I was just a few inches too high when I almost won an iPad 2! >:O

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    1. Good luck! BTW, don't you think more should have been changed in the iPad 3g?

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  8. UPDATE:I double checked and the keyholes aren't blocked but i still like the one at my corner store better cuz it has a 4S too.

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  9. A lot did change in the iPad 3. The retina display, A5X Processor, 2048x1536 resolution and last but not least, Siri Voice Dictation. :)

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    1. Well, yeah (btw you basically mentioned the retina display twice) but I think they should have put in a 1080p camera like in the 4s. And added all of Siri (btw, I didn't know about the voice dictation)

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  10. okay, I don't know if you fine folks read the post from bilbilface
    from May 6,but I shall paraphrase it for you this is a crappy Carney
    game, it is rigged, and you have a better chance of being struck by lightning or winning the lottery than ever winning the apple products in these machines, at best you could win a nano or amazon gift card,beats headphones (I was actually at a store when someone won a pair)or the small stuff PS vita, or 3DS but unless you win it in the first 3 tries it's not gonna happen. If you think about the logic for 2 seconds it makes perfect sense, they must ensure that they make more money than they invest therefor to profit they must insure they first make back the value of the products then it will pay out, but after 700 dollars worth of credits it may only allow 1 item from the bottom row to be won, how much would it take to get to the iPads? my guess would be thousands.

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  11. the funny thing is as a kid I earned money from my grandma that I would pour into arcade machines anywhere I could,she would always comment on what a waste it was and how "you don't even get anything for all that money" she would scoff "enjoyment" I said and I did love those games, and that is the lesson if something costs money and isn't even fun or entertaining what's the point?!

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  12. IF YOU RESET(UNPLUG THE GAME THEN REPLUG IT) THE GAME WILL IT WORK(DISPENSE PRIZE)?

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    1. It will not dispense a prize upon re-boot because, as far as I have seen, the arms holding the prizes have no motors, so that wouldn't work. Also, providing that the machine runs on RAM, it would just re-start the count for the lucky "700th person"

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  13. anyone from Michigan and know of any locations around metro detroit? I won a pspgo on first try when I was vacationing in florida and now I'm pumped.

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  14. if the game is rigged i won the ipad 2 with 20 bucks 2 days ago and yesterday i won some baby blue beats hd with $5 bucks i guess im lucky

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    1. Yes, yes you were, or you had SERIOUS skill, OR the store didn't set the winner time wait thing very high if even set.

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    2. how did you claim your prize? was your box empty when you got it?

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  15. I ended up buying an iPad 3, Goodbye Key Master!

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  16. i saw this at the mall today and it had the tablet i was wanting to buy. i thought i could get lucky and find tutorial video on beating the machine cuz i really wanted that tab!! glad i found out the truth about it. Now i'm setting about planning how i'm going to camp out and watch the machine all day for a few days and count the credits as they are played. maybe a pattern will emerge and i'll be able to get lucky and play at the right time. probably not but hey, i can dream cant i

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    1. Good strategy. And thanks for viewing this post for help!

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    2. I won the blackberry playbook with a $1 today. If its rigged then I must of been at the right place at the right time I guess.

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  17. I won the new iPod nano 7th gen touch screen yesterday for $3.

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  18. I won the Ipad 4th gen im just curious on how to get the prize because the box was empty...

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    1. You might have to bring it to the manager of the place you won it from

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    2. Make sure EVERYTHING from the box is there

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    3. hey guys i won a 25 dollar toys r us giftcard yesterday it was one of the lowest level prices spent 3 bucks.

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  19. I won an iPod a while back from one of these machines, it was complete luck because I tried again and failed

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    1. I'm gonna try the one at my mall because it has a 42" flat screen TV and an I pad mini, figure I can spare $40

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  20. I went to an arcade last week that just opened up. They had KeyMaster and I tried for the middle row. The key actually went in the hole but didn't dispense the prize. I had someone video tape me and sure enough the key went in again so I showed the video to the manager. He gave me the prize, which was a video camera. I'm not sure if it was some kind of machine error, or the prize was too close to the keyhole leaving no room for the key to pull out the prize or what. Like I said, this arcade just opened and I don't think they would allow the machine to pay out that soon. Maybe when they installed the machine they didn't calibrate it or something? If anyone has any thoughts or ideas, please let me know.

    Here is the YouTube video of me "winning":
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBPX78vPJsA

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  21. Hey, I just won a Lg Optimus Elite on the top row far right corner, out of the game a week ago. It got stuck and the assistant manager had to shake the machine, to get it but it didn't fall. So he had to get the main manager to open the machine and they mailed it to me.I just got t today! I'm taking it to walmart to get the money put on a gift card. I spent 3 bucks on it and profited $105. XD, just saying it's not rigged. I've won an ipod, ipad, lg optimus, and a $50 itunes card. THe top right row farthest to the window is the easiest to win on. Goodluck everyone

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    1. Nice! Where eas this machine? Others might like to play on that machine. Thanks for the contribution!

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  22. i played it, wasted $20 on pspgo. Didnt get it, but i was always 1.6mm above where i move it, so clearly the machines setup. Gonna print out the Manuel and just post it on the machine, see, how the movie theater manager reacts, so that i can see how many people will fall prey to a machine rigged to require 0 skill and only gamble if your that lucky winner, whatever that #'s set to.

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  23. I do feel bad for that wasted time and money, but it does give support to the blog. Thanks for posting! Bilbilface has a link in his post up top. Good luck next time!

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    1. meh, its fine, wasn't expecting to win, but i sorta figured it was rigged after the first 40 tries. overall wasted $25 and tried 50x so it had to be rigged considering i tried every little different angle available. They always resulted in 1.6mm off on the top, or the bottom. I tried on every prize just to see. So i will post up how the manager reacts when i do go to the movies next time. And yes, i will waste my entire day staking out the key master machine just to see if the manager tares it down, and if he does i will make sure to upload a youtube conversation (audio or video) about why'd he do it, regardless of how brief his response is. See how many times the manager lies to me directly or tries to indirectly misguide the truth when confronted with a printed Manuel --> https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3SmqkZkICgvOGU5NjQ0MDktMmEyNy00MjE5LWFlNzYtOTMxNGY0M2ZlNjE1/edit?hl=en_US

      This guy had the manuel for standard editions (which the one i played on is) https://plus.google.com/108982867061343040611/posts/9boMUQjxyaw ill see if i can find a full scale Manuel on it though.

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    2. They are rigged... i was reading the manual on a simiar machine and they pretty much have the coordinates to win stored and until the credit limit is reached the machine makes it impossible to hit those winning coordinates... unless yheres a machine malfunction or gllitch in the machine but tjats highly unlikely considering most of those machines are checked on a weekly basis.,, and its also not necissaripy 700/1... it can range from just 1 to 999... and for owners tjat are greedy cheap assholes... they can reset thr count at any given time... and a lot of them do... they purposely leave empty slots to make u think that someone has won something.... these machines are so sofisticated nowadays that they can set it to do whatever they want... there are ways to beat it.. but that would be cobsidered.a.crime and youd most likely be prosecuted.... its common semse guys... why would someone spend $5000+ on a machine just to fill it with super expensive products so.that they can have someome win it for a few bucks... the whole point of them is to make money.... i believe they can actually set certain games.to be 100% player skill and some machines have a WET (win every time) setting usually meant for tickets... but with all that being said... i still try if i see somethin i like... because even though the odds are against u... like the lottery... u cant win if u dont play...

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    3. Manual i was referring to

      http://www.bmigaming.com/Games/Manuals/namco/dunk-tank-prize-redemption-game-operators-manual-namco.pdf

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  24. My friend won $100 best Buy gift card over the weekend with just $4 on the machine.

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  25. I tried one dollar and realized this game is garbage. It's the same principle as the block stacker game. No skill, just right place at the right time. Be better off putting a dollar in your pocket whenever you are tempted to play, save up and just buy the prize you want.

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    1. You're very smart to figure that out with only one dollar!

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  26. Went on a Norwegian cruise and played this game for the first time. My GF and I spent at least $70 on this game over a 7 day time period. We watched many over passengers spend hundreds of dollars on the game trying to rack their brains on how to beat it. After reading this forum, I definitely believe the game is rigged and that particular machine was set on the 1.6mm difference mode. The top row prizes in the machine was an iPads with 5- $100 bills stapled to the box. Only 2 lower level prizes were won during the trip.

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    1. Thanks for your contribution. I didnt knoe they had those on cruise ships..... Smart

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  27. i won an ipad yesterday on this game and this post tells me i am extremely lucky

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    1. Yes, yes you are. Good job! Where was this?

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  28. what would be happen if I put 1 cent no 1 dollar ??

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    1. Sorry for taking so long for a reply. If the machine will accept cents as its tokens, then yes. But, unless the prizes are absolutely horrible, it should be more than that

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  29. There's a Key Master at both malls that I work at. One is located by the food court and has to be played more than one located by a store entrance.

    I noticed however, that at the slower 'Giant Key Master' located by JCPenney's, suddenly lost a Coach purse with Coco Chanel perfume in it. Now, there's a Michael Kor's purse sitting in its place with yet another bottle of Chanel perfume. Someone clearly won! The outside is also pasted with 'winners' holding their prize, there are plenty of them.

    I'm going to start studying the prize change and see what I can learn and WHEN someone typically wins before trying it. I'm tempted to play daily, but know I'd end up losing 365 bucks without a little strategy.

    (Also, note that the mirrored back is not even to the machine, so don't use that as a reference.)

    Prizes include a Macbook Pro 13, iPad 4, iPad Mini, iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy Note, Beats Studio headphones, Sony PS Vita, and games. This one is a little interesting because clearly the most tries will be going to the Macbook, but every other prize is desirable. It's hard to say which will go first.

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    1. Lindsey what mall do you work at?

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    2. Good luck! These machines seem to be getting more and more popular...

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  30. Okay, so I already know this is probably a stupid question, but I need to answer anyways. I've been obsessed with this game for the past month ever since I discovered it at my local Lucky Store. I've spent about $30, $35 dollars so far with no luck, yet every time I go back the thing I had previously tried for was gone, first it was the iPhone touch which was the last prize on the right in the middle row, which I missed by maybe 1/3 of a cm. The next week the beats headphones which I was gonna try for were gone so I tried for the beats ear buds which was 3 slot over on the bottom row. No luck and when I went back this past Friday they too were gone so I tried for the iPod shuffle, first slot on the bottom row, again, no luck so far. But here's my question, are you suppose to aim the key to go straight through the center of frame? Because that's what I assumed, but then when I was watching videos on YouTube to get some tips I watched the promo video for the game from the company and I don't know if it was just the angle of the camera or what, but it seemed like you had to position the key more towards the right of the cut out. So can anyone tell me where exactly is the best spot to aim for? Thanks

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    1. Sorry for the extremely late reply. I believe the glass skews your vision, and so whatever direction you can find to displace the key is probably unique. $35 is a lot of money to waste on nothing, but if you can figure out how to displace the key, you might be able to win that money back. Good luck!

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  31. I'm no scientist, and I didn't build the thing, but from personal experiences, I believe the glass is made to skew your vision of the slots. The goal is to put the key through the hole, so that it turns upside-down and pulls on the slot, allowing the prize to drop down. I do not know if the glass skews the vision the same way on all machines, but I would assume that putting the key so that it looks a little off might help. Good luck!

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  32. does anyone know if there is anything that would allow you to find out the win ratio, and how many people have played before you, without sitting around and counting the number of people who play?

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    1. Well, there is no way to be sure without talking to the manager or figuring out how to set it yourself, but if you follow the link in bilbilface's post in the upper part of the thread, it should have the default setting. Good luck

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  33. hi guys been reading through your posts and yes that cabinet is rigged by the parts used wiring, motors, gears, runners, not by software.
    Im an arcade cabinet technician in the uk, when you release the joystick that joystick needs to travel back to dead centre before the stop signal is sent, and again with the button now this might only be milliseconds but its all travel time, then you have the fact that the motors don't have brakes. gravity and machine weight slows it to a halt so unless you take these travel factors into account you have even less chance ... the key is to aim prematurely and never aim for dead center the idea is to aim for the edge so that the key goes in turns and locks the key behind the keyhole pulling it forward unhooking the prize .. . i wish you all the best and there are ways to beat that excess travel .. in our machine currently we are filling it with namco android phones tablet pc's and pacman headphones and the odds are 450 -1 (not default) on our machine

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  34. Just won on a key master machine in a firkin n kegler, on my 7th try I made it through the hole and once inside it stopped and gave a loser buzzer backed out and defended. I alerted the clerk at the desk and then showed the video of me doing it that I had a friend record just in case something happens exactly like what happened lol. Anyways they tried to tell me it was rigged and won't win until so much money is spent in the machine. As I've read in this blog the machine has a mechanism which raises or lowers the key as so stop it's entrance into the hole. But in my case I saw no altering of the height of the key and the key travelled into the hole and beyond before stopping and backing up. I think I won fair and square! I had $3 left and tried an object on the bottom rack and it's then I started seeing the extra movement on the key after releasing the button. I will be pursuing my ps4 which I rightfully won

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  35. Update: they still don't want to give me the ps4 claiming it was a machine error. I don't think so, I think the ps4 box was too close to the keyhole entrance which made it loose. I saw a video of someone winning an ipad but it actually hit the box and bounced back and made him loose. Are they not responsible for how they load the machine? At first the company that operates the machine offered me my money back ($10) plus $20 credit for any of the machines. Now he says he'll give me $50 cash but still no ps4! Should I aquire an attorney?

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    1. Thats bull... regardless u won... but then again that also happens in casinos... hitting a jackpot when its a machine "malfunction" gets u nothing but ur money back for that spin..... but like i mentioned in my comment above... the machine logs and tracks errors or malfunctions or any over payouts.... so regarding that aspect... unless they have something posted saying that or its classifed under the gaming laws.. u might be shit outta luck....

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    2. Found somethin on it... gaming commision stuff

      http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=4&ved=0CDQQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gamblingcommission.gov.uk%2Fpdf%2FSWPs%2520-%2520quick%2520guide%2520for%2520Licensing%2520Officers.pdf&ei=nO2mUsvmO9L1oATavoK4BA&usg=AFQjCNGlUQY1UFUtmYww7_1Zphq3CSMMHA&sig2=lC0v9sOS3_hfKhfE5SeYrg

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  36. And i had no idea the boxes are empty.... that sucks... i thought it was actual genuine brand new in the boxes in the machines.... but i guess it makes sense if it falls under gaming laws (gambling) because just like a jackpot u dont get it from the machine... this actually makes me no longer want to play... cuz i was counting on the malfunction or glitch etc as the reason i even bother trying any of these...

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    1. heres the url to to pics from the video of me loosing on one attemp and one of the winning attempt.

      https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-V5AAZCNGc-Y/Uqinnt6V8cI/AAAAAAAAC3M/I2dhh860DSg/w905-h509-no/VIDEO0091_0000014937.jpg

      https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-vpkkEWyzBPM/Uqinz3fAYQI/AAAAAAAAC3o/IY_FdB-aKyk/w905-h509-no/VIDEO0091_0000058813.jpg

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    2. How has the whole manager situation gone? Is he still refusing to give you the PS4?

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  37. Has anyone tried hooking the key on the corner of the plastic "keyhole" square? By going slightly above it, the key would turn upside down and pull the cover out.

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  38. You can see how rigged it is here: http://www.calculatemychances.com/keymaster.php

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  39. I too have gotten sucked into this game recently. There is one at a Wilco-Hess gas station in South Carolina along I-77 at exit 48. I stop at this station sometimes driving through to visit family. So far I have spent $8 on the machine to no avail.

    I think the reason the game sucks so many people in is that it appears to be skill based. But obviously from so many comments here and official info: it is NOT skill based. It also looks deceivingly easy -- The keyholes appear so big, because they are big horizontally (where it is easy to line up), but are only barely tall enough to fit the key inside. Does anyone know how much clearance the key has when actually entering the hole? An educated guess would be 1.6mm.... Meaning if the 1.6mm variable "feature" is correct, then getting the key in the hole truly is an act of chance.

    As for the prizes in the machine I've seen, the majority of the prizes are fat wads full of money. On the bottom row, there were several stacks of what appears to be $5 bills. At least you can see a $5 on the front and the back of the stack. But I wouldn't be surprised if everything in between is $1's. In fact I would be surprised if it actually WAS all 5's. On the top row, there is a similar looking (but fatter) stack of 10's. There was also an Xbox 360 game (Ghost Recon, I think), one of those free phone calling jack things, and an ipod nano.

    My strategy when playing was to go for the cash on the bottom row, and assume that the bills in between the 5's were just 1's. Even still I estimated the value of each stack of cash to be at least $20. If I started to spend close to half the value of the prize, then I would give up.

    So far I have spent $8, and was planning on trying it for a $1 or $2 every time I drive through just for kicks... But after reading this blog I don't have much expectation of winning.

    Before reading this blog, one possible strategy for beating the game I devised was this:

    Make a track on my mp3 player which was a bunch of fast hi-hats (or listen to a certain song) and count how many 8th notes had passed from the time I pressed the button until the time I let off... For the bottom row you only have to hold the button down for about 2 seconds, so this would be relatively easy to count. Then for example if I count 8 beats and the key goes too high, try 7 beats... Etc.

    But knowing about the 1.6mm "setting" makes this seem unlikely to work.

    Anyway.

    In searching I also saw someone is filing a lawsuit against Sega over this game:
    http://nypost.com/2013/11/02/segas-key-master-game-is-rigged-lawsuit/

    But it doesn't give much details.... I doubt he'll be successful. I wish it was a class action. Anyone with me? :)

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  40. None of this rigging crap is true. I've seen a guy win 3 times in 10mins. I won a tablet 5mins after another guy won a tablet too.

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  41. I'm going to use my blue laser and as soon as it hits the dot I release the button. If that doesn't work than it is rigged. I will make a video on YouTube this month.

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  42. I used 75 Dolores and didnt get anything. I think u could get something if u time how long ot takes to get to the box

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  43. Today I won at the key master and called but the man told me I was going to have to wait a few days am I going to get the prize or not

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  44. Machine on NCL Jewel has posted (sorry no pic):

    "Key must enter keyhole and rotate CCW to pull prize out. If key enters and does not turn, or turns CW, it is not a win."

    At least it's in a casino!

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