exodus This is more or less the opinion that I had before actually trying UFO Catchers in real life!
The thing that I have to really reiterate is that, like @sabertoothalex said, in real life the claw is 100% incapable of picking things up under normal circumstances. This makes it completely different from Yakuza UFO Catchers. You have to do all sorts of weird non-intuitive techniques to get the prize to fall into the compartment.
The beginning of this video shows some good examples of how you’re “supposed” to play it:
Depending on the layout of the machine and where the doll is, you might have to do something completely different. For me, coming up with a strategy and seeing it actually work is the real fun part. That’s why I think the comparison @yeso made to Foddy’s games was really accurate.
What really seems to make the game tense and interesting, I think, is how big the time gap is between when you enter in your inputs and when you find out whether or not they were a success. It’s just such an inversion of a normal experience of picking things up, which is very natural and easy for us since our hands are in direct contact with what we’re picking up, giving constant feedback and allowing for microscopic adjustments.
I’m pretty sure the game would feel a lot less deep to me if it didn’t cost so much! The issue is that there’s no real way to practice. I can’t just try the same technique over and over until I’ve mastered it, since that would be incredibly expensive.
Anyways, to be clear, I completely agree with you that the gambling is there and is 100% the reason why it’s addictive. But I do think there is something beyond the gambling that’s interesting to think about.
Edit: The other really big thing I forgot about UFO Catchers is that it’s a super technical game that people who don’t normally care about games can get super into. It’s extremely accessible. Of course, with the gambling and all, that’s not necessarily a good thing… That’s one of my reasons for wishing for a less gambley UFO Catchers that is still super technical.