Before we jump into the earliest video games, we should take a look at carnivals. The moment money was introduced into games, people invented weighted dice.
Carnival games realized they could charge a small price, offer large prizes and rig the game to never allow anyone to win using simple tricks. They would set the difficulty so high that almost no one would win because they knew people would try again and pay more money.
In this article: “Police officer-magician shows kids tricks of carnival games” (Teresa Stepzinski, The Times-Union Brunswick News March 28, 2002) The Glynn County police officer, Glenn Hester, shows off several popular carnival games and how to easily rig them in his favor.
Though there are many honest games at carnivals these days, game design in early arcades did carry this over with quarter-muncher levels. We will talk about that in our next post.