In theory, carnival games seem like a great idea. Like how hard is it to throw a ball into a basket? But those little bastards are rigged for you to lose and for you to look like an a-hole in front of your girlfriend.
But believe it or not, it is possible to win at carnival games, no matter how rigged they are. You just have to know what the trick to it is. Here's how to beat the system. (We can't help you with not looking like an a-hole in front of your girlfriend, though.)
If you decide to test your strength at the Test of Strength, you can still win if you have the upper body strength of a weak little kid. Believe it or not, this is a game of brain over brawn. The game has more to with accuracy than it does with possessing god-like strength. Although, having god-like strength probably wouldn't hurt you any.
Just like every other carnival game, there's a trick to it. “The real key is accuracy, hitting the center of the pad squarely (not at an angle) with the mallet, which is why the little guy has as good a chance as any to show up the muscle heads," says Derek Potter on Theme Park Insider. "Think of it as chopping a piece of wood or swinging a sledge, the same technique applies here.”
It's almost embarrassingly hard because of how simple it looks. It's a small ladder with only a few rungs. But turns out, it's harder to stay on than a bucking bronco. You guessed it, there's a trick to this one too! The first thing to do is stay low and flat, then shimmy up.
But how do you shimmy up? Use "opposite and equal body movements." So, move your right arm and leg up at the same time, then your left arm and leg up at the same time. And remember, it's all about that shimmy! You also should ignore the "rungs" - they're only there to fool you - and climb up using the outside ropes.
The Milk Can Toss is probably the hardest carnival game known to man. The metal milk cans stand there, taunting you. Both you and the cans know that you'll never be able to get that ball in there. The opening of the can is only 1/16 of an inch larger than a softball. Everything is against you. But believe it or not, you can get the ball in. It's all in the wrist.
The carnival game was discussed on The Art of Manliness (because there's nothing less manly than not being able to get it in - the softball that is). “The secret to winning Milk Can is to give the ball a bit of backspin and hit the back of the can’s rim," says The Art of Manliness. "The backspin will decrease the ball’s momentum, and instead of bouncing off the can, it will slide into the hole. Easier said than done, of course!”
Sure you could lean over a little too far and just plop the rings over the bottles. But you could also win the game by actually doing it right. According to Lifehacker, “The name of the game here is trajectory." We thought it was "Ring Toss," but whatever. We'll go with it.
Like all carnival games, winning isn't about what you do, but about how you do it. "Don’t flip the rings like coins, and don’t load them onto the board," says Lifehacker. Try to put a little spin on them and toss them low and horizontally. Just pretend each ring is a little Frisbee. Don’t aim for one particular bottle. With enough spin and a horizontal trajectory, the ring may very well get hooked on one bottle then bounce off onto another. That’s your best bet.” Easy peasy!
How do you win at the Darts and Balloons game without poking an eye out? Two words. Throw. Hard. The tip of the dart is usually dull, and the balloons are under inflated. So throw that baby as if your life depended on it. Because it does.
The water gun race is pretty easy to win at, but it does require some calculation. Watch the race before you play and try to find the best gun. Sure, you might look and feel like some weirdo creep standing off to the side. But winning is about being the best, right?
It might feel like the milk bottles are glued together just to make you feel stupid, but they're not. You're not stupid either, because the bottles are heavier than normal milk bottles, which makes it harder. According to Theme Park Insider, "First, take a good look at the stack and how it stands. Then aim for the space between the bottom two bottles with a stiff fastball. If accurate, any wrinkle that the attendant has thrown in here can typically be eliminated with brute force." Who's stupid now, Milk Bottles? Huh? Who's stupid now???
It looks like basketball. It sounds like basketball. If you licked it, it would taste like basketball. So it must be basketball, right? Wrong. The rims are usually smaller and misshapen so that the ball is designed to bounce off, plus the balls are usually over inflated. So how do you flex your Kobe Bryant skillz off the court? Go for the swish. It'll be nothing but net - and also you winning the game.