I really don’t need to explain to you the appeal of the classic “claw game,” and even if I tried it would probably just sound silly. Navigating a flimsy toy crane over to some cheap trinket and then praying that the weak little arms actually make it move is an exercise in frustration, and paying a dollar or more for every attempt is downright stupid. That being said, there’s something extremely addictive about the entire exercise, and now that I can play dozens of different claw game machines from the comfort of my a browser, iPhone, or Android device, someone might need to stage an intervention.

Crane Game Toreba is a live online claw game where you can pick from a bunch of different machines, each filled with specific prizes, and then pay a buck or two (via a credit system) for a chance to win them. If you win, your prize is shipped to you, but that’s not likely to actually happen. A live video feed, two camera angles, and a couple of buttons are all you have to work with and, just like the claw game at your local arcade, it’s almost entirely impossible to actually win anything.

The game has been around for a while already, though it got off to a slow start and seems to have grown in popularity over time. Today, people are playing the machines around the clock, getting in line for chances to snipe prizes from each other and watching as players succeed or (in the vast majority of cases) utterly fail.

That last point is largely why I’m so completely in love with Toreba. You don’t really have to spend a single dime for the pleasure of watching other people waste their hard-earned cash on toys and crappy gadgets that are worth less than the cost of a single attempt. You can relax, kick back, and enjoy some silly music while people you’ve never met tear their own hair out, and that’s some seriously priceless entertainment.

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