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Thread: Can anything be done? Part 95

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    Can anything be done? Part 95

    Call me a born optimist,but I still think it can.My anecdotal evidence is that while the drip-drip disappearance of quzzies is still happening,I have also seen machines still getting a fair bit of play by people gathered round,often of a student age.When I walk into a Wetherspoons or somewhere similar and see wall to wall bandits and nothing else,I can't help thinking that this can't be the way to maximise punter enjoyment and profit by having a number of machines that all do essentially the same thing.I think the industry is dimly aware of this and that's why we've seen a proliferation of Pac-Man and Space Invaders machines but I would be amazed if they prove to be successful in the long term.We've discussed this before repeatedly,but I think it comes down to two factors when a pub removes its machine - problems with the machine,and not taking enough money. (Sometimes these two factors are connected)
    On the first point,I wonder if the industry is aware just how many varied problems there can be with a machine: Is it accepting any money in the first place? Is the screen not responding properly? Is there some sort of warning dialog box on the screen? Has it crashed and the screen gone black? Will it have enough money in it to pay out any winnings? Or will it crash instead of paying out? (This happens worryingly frequently on the IQuests) Or will some of the money get stuck in the machine? All this is bound to put off or prevent people playing the machine - I would say that there's about a 3 and 10 chance of encountering one or more of those problems. (I've omitted that machines won't take new 5p and 10p coins,something that still amazes me.I wonder if they're going to bother updating the coin mechs to take the new pound coin when it's released,or will we be down to notes,20p and 50p coins.)
    On the second point,their decreased profitability:Well,around the turn of the century,you had jackpots of 20 or 40 - with inflation I wonder what that would equate to now? I don't have the accurate figures but I suspect it isn't 60p.Most people play the machine without expecting to win the jackpot,but you really are giving them no hope with such 'derisory' jackpots.On the subject of hope,we've all probably seen as we've been playing the quizzy,someone go on the adjacent bandit and lose a quick fiver or tenner.Why do people do that? Well,because occasionally they walk away with a decent profit.Why can't we have a quiz game like that? One that can actually give the punters a little hope that they might win a decent prize? Also,perhaps one that visibly gets easier which may encourage people to chase the jackpot.There used to be a few games like that in the 'old days'.
    In a nutshell,I reckon there's still a place for the quizzy in the pub,if it works reliably and offers a decent jackpot.Admittedly some better games would be good too.
    I've said this before,but if anyone has any bright ideas on how to improve things,feel free to post them.

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    Senior Member bubbles's Avatar
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    if they had a game like you said that had a better jackpot that visibly got easier then you pros would be all over it and they would constantly be stone dead, as is what happens with the fruit machines! if there were no pros quiz machines would still be like in the 90s....
    Going skint....

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    Quote Originally Posted by bubbles View Post
    if they had a game like you said that had a better jackpot that visibly got easier then you pros would be all over it and they would constantly be stone dead, as is what happens with the fruit machines! if there were no pros quiz machines would still be like in the 90s....

    You might be right about them becoming pro-dominated,bubbles,but I was envisaging games where,say if the jackpot was 50,it would basically be unwinnable until 80 quid or so had gone through it.With huge question banks,and perhaps some time pressure element to the game,that should be possible whilst still having the jackpot theoretically available each play.You mentioned the 90s - there were a few games like that then - but the smaller question banks meant a pro could learn enough of the answers to win no matter how difficult it got.That shouldn't be the case now.
    You mention that the bandits are 'stone dead' nowadays,is it tough times for bandit pros at the moment too?

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    Senior Member quizard's Avatar
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    Surely bandits can never ALL be stone dead by the way they work. If you catch them at the end of a take part of their cycle are you not +EV
    Give Us A Break 30th Anniversary

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    Many Wetherspoons are closing down now....in small towns where there's two in close proximity one is usually going...have noticed this in Tamworth and Walsall on my patch so imagine it's similar. That and of course any new Wetherspoons that open rarely have a quiz machine.

    So you are left with Hungry Horses....Beefeaters...Marstons etc...still a fair few floating around but many getting a refurb and the machines are slowly going.

    The end is certainly nigh.

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    Senior Member bubbles's Avatar
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    most "pro targetted" machines are left stone dead after is what i meant, it is the nature of anything progressive as muddle suggested.

    as soon as anyone knows something they are targetted and then taken on at the earliest possible time.

    fruit players quite often take on certain machines too early for fear of anyone making on them!!!!

    at least with fruits a few decent hits can yield a reasonable weekly wage but there were alot more better machines out a year or two ago!
    Going skint....

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    Senior Member bubbles's Avatar
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    oh, and quizard, timing is everything. imagine a grand prix with 300 cars and trying to time your pit stop to come out without traffic!
    Last edited by bubbles; 14-08-2016 at 05:15 AM. Reason: double post
    Going skint....

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by muddle View Post
    You might be right about them becoming pro-dominated,bubbles,but I was envisaging games where,say if the jackpot was 50,it would basically be unwinnable until 80 quid or so had gone through it.With huge question banks,and perhaps some time pressure element to the game,that should be possible whilst still having the jackpot theoretically available each play.You mentioned the 90s - there were a few games like that then - but the smaller question banks meant a pro could learn enough of the answers to win no matter how difficult it got.That shouldn't be the case now.
    You mention that the bandits are 'stone dead' nowadays,is it tough times for bandit pros at the moment too?
    But a 50p spin on a fruit machine takes a second. A 50p game on a quiz machine can last you 5 minutes or more often with no significant prize (or any enjoyment) in sight. It's pretty clear why both players and operators prefer fruit machines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sloach View Post
    But a 50p spin on a fruit machine takes a second. A 50p game on a quiz machine can last you 5 minutes or more often with no significant prize (or any enjoyment) in sight. It's pretty clear why both players and operators prefer fruit machines.
    Well,my point there was that I would like to see a game that was quite quick (lasting more than a second though) and offered a decent prize.I am also going to dispute that playing a fruit machine is a more enjoyable experience than playing a quiz machine but that's by the by.Really there should still be room for both as there has been for many years previously,and I think the increasing paucity of quiz machines is at least in some part due to how crap they've become,to use a technical term.
    So,why I've started this thread is I'm not sure the games companies realise just how many problems there are with the machines when they're out in the field.I've said this in a previous thread but what I think we should all do is point out problems and possible improvements.It might do no good at all,and I've no idea if industry people still read this forum,but it's at least worth trying.

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    So,to point out a few things: Every so often a machine is so ridiculously loud that it's embarrassing playing it.It used to be possible to completely turn the volume off on Paragons,could you bring that feature back?
    Fat Cat softworks: It seems that you are now responsible for the content on both Gamesnets and the rarer (thankfully) Hotwire machines.The latter's line-up is awful compared to Gamesnets - no Pointless,Colour of Money,Bullseye etc.Could we perhaps have some of these more popular titles on the Hotwires? And also,why is Pointless often on the second screen now on Gamesnets?

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    Senior Member bubbles's Avatar
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    oh and can you put connect 4 and casino royale back on? and the note changer that the laminated note works on?!!

    maybe if anyone high up in the industry hears of your post he'll transfer you any money you've ever lost through those faults and set you up with a hot female relative?! sorry forget that final comment, i know not many of you would be into that lol
    Going skint....

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    double post thing should be fixed at some point?
    Going skint....

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    Quote Originally Posted by muddle View Post
    So,why I've started this thread is I'm not sure the games companies realise just how many problems there are with the machines when they're out in the field.I've said this in a previous thread but what I think we should all do is point out problems and possible improvements.It might do no good at all,and I've no idea if industry people still read this forum,but it's at least worth trying.
    I guess everyone knows places where a sequence of visits over several months goes: machine switched off - blank screen - switched off - not accepting money - switched off - hopper error - replaced by Minions grabber cabinet, presumably with the operator wondering why the quiz machine never generated any income. Maybe a means for the public to report faults rather than waiting for the management to do it? Given that a switched-off machine benefits nobody, surely that's in the operators' interests...

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    Do Pubs really want them though?

    If they're constantly breaking down as many are, I doubt many landlords are thrilled at having to get the operators out again to fix it again if a simply switch on and off dosen't make it right.

    We know Fruit machines are far more profitable for the pubs and bars.

    Plenty of new wetherspoons opening and I hardly ever see a quiz machine in any of them...who is making the decision, Tim Martin?

    Same thing is happening with the other re-furbed pubs.

    When I think back to 2011-12 things were still reasonably healthy imo. We're on the last rites now I reckon.

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    Senior Member Nil Satis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoccerHQ View Post
    We're on the last rites now I reckon.
    That's my view too. Things are too far gone by now for there to be any realistic way back. I have seen a minimum 50% machine loss in all of my locations (which cover a reasonably wide area), and in many of the nearby towns that's more like 80-90%, and even 100% in a few cases. All of those machines have gone and I can't see more than the occasional one or two coming back - you do still get the odd surprise when a pub acquires a machine again but it is a pretty rare occurrence.

    If I were in the industry and trying to make any attempt at all at salvaging things, there are two fundamentals I would look at:

    - machine reliability

    There is no other mechanical or electronic device I know that is remotely as unreliable, in a myriad of different ways, than quiz machines, especially the Paragons. Can you imagine if anything of a similar nature - ATMs, vending machines, ticket machines - was even close to being as unreliable as SWPs? - there is just nothing to touch them for the range and regularity of problems they suffer from. It is no wonder that pubs get rid of them after the fourth or fifth call is made to the engineer, especially given that these problems are one of the key issues in keeping profits down - if people simply can't play the machines in the first place, everything else is secondary.

    - poor games

    Most games are just a miserable experience to play, including virtually everything on the iQuests and Gamesnets. The general experience is of a slow, tedious progress to a 3 JP with no flair or imagination in the game design, and for punters they have the same, but without any realistic chance of that "huge" prize. Most games are simply not able to work in the multiplay environment, where the credits played are spread so thinly. GWHL have had a few decent attempts at showing imagination and trying new ideas, and also in investing in links to well-known TV shows that will attract the non-committed player, but they now appear to have given up the ghost in terms of quiz game development and are instead releasing "apps" in the vain attempt to persuade punters to spend 50p on something they can get for free elsewhere.

    If they could get the reliability up to a remotely acceptable standard, bin 80% of the dross and concentrate on a few well-designed titles that can actually function in the multigame environment, i.e. by taking money quicker and having a varying payout structure that can alter according to the money coming in, they might have a chance.

    But sadly I think the ship has long since sailed on this one.
    Last edited by Nil Satis; 15-08-2016 at 11:37 AM.

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