Old school carnival games thrive at technologically rich parks

Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 3:50 PM | Contributed by Jeff

In an industry where bigger, faster, higher and newer attractions garner worldwide attention, there's still room for an old-fashioned ring toss and other carnival games that send winners home with crazy-big stuffed animals and other souvenirs.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

Monday, January 6, 2014 6:29 PM

There's ride people at the parks and there's games people there, too. I'm always amazed at what some guys will spend trying to win something. (but we've been through that here before....)

I found a couple of interesting things in that article. One, is that they refer to midway games as "chance- with perhaps some skill thrown in". I've always thought of games as being strictly skill oriented, which is what separates them (especially in states like Ohio) from casinos and the like. While not easy to win, carnival games require skill from the player, unless you want to consider occasional dumb, freak luck as chance-y.

Two, is that Kings Island is credited with introducing games to the theme park industry. I've never thought about that, as I can always remember seeing games as a regular part of the amusement park experience. (except maybe at Euclid Beach, which always pronounced itself a "clean" place, void of immoral elements. I can't remember, but I do know Cedar Point, Geauga, and Lesourdsville were loaded with 'em). But back then the theme park industry consisted of Disney and a couple of Six Flags, and perhaps they eschewed the midway game as something unsavory or unscrupulous, not fitting the family atmosphere. (Once again confusing games of skill with gambling). Even back in the day, KI's games were concentrated along the Coney Mall, which strove to duplicate the environment of Coney Island, so it made sense to me that they were included. How odd that park men would make the trip to investigate the operations at KI.

Anyway, I can't imagine a park operator not including midway games as an offering, especially since they suck 5 bucks a pop out of the player with no more than investment in some cheap plush, a few rings, and a couple dozen empty 2-liter pop bottles. To heck with the tech.

Last edited by RCMAC, Monday, January 6, 2014 6:31 PM
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Monday, January 6, 2014 7:34 PM

I think Spiegel has selective memory when it comes to history. I'm honestly not sure what his clients pay him for.

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Monday, January 6, 2014 10:58 PM

Jeff said:

I'm honestly not sure what his clients pay him for.

Glad someone else believes the same thing.

Met him personally, once, more than a few years ago. First thoughts were "Dick Morris"

Last edited by CreditWh0re, Monday, January 6, 2014 11:19 PM
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Tuesday, January 7, 2014 1:55 AM

Dennis is Dennis, and puts his pants one very morning like everyone else in the industry. Yes, he has selective memory, and I have witnessed firsthand some of it. He should have simply stated that the games of chance have been in parks since, maybe the 1880's, said some 'blue laws on Sunday', and bla bla bla even the largest theme parks benefit from simpler games the family can play.

It's also no secret that those Orlando games pretty much are weak against the Jersey Boardwalk games, Kennywood's, Cedar Points, etc. I do like the Krustyland game additions, being a Simpson fan, but it's not newsworthy.

Dennis also forgets that without the Coney Island team transitioning the start-up at Kings Island, it would have been several long seasons before Taft figured out what they were doing. Never forget the team you surround yourself with.

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