Review by Retro

"Please don't purge the Redemption reviews ever again, CJAYC. *Wishes he had a copy of his old Skee-Ball*"

For many years, I've enjoyed taking vacations to Panama City Beach, Florida as a way to escape the harsh reality of everyday life. One of my favorite things in the world to do is to take a cherished trip to the arcades. Of course, when I was a kid, my main priority (when going to an arcade) other than to show off, was to earn tickets, save them up, and collect a prize. There was always one particular arcade that I always enjoyed going to that had tons of arcade titles and even more redemption (ticket-wielding) games. One of the games I always visited when I was in the mood to stock up on some major tickets was Wheel 'em In.

As soon as your eyes come in contact with Wheel 'em In for the first time, you'll know by its design (an old man wearing a top hat, tuxedo, and an eyepiece, who is holding up a bunch of tickets) that it's a game where you can get a lot of tickets. The machine itself is shaped sort of like a pinball machine. Upon walking up to this red machine called Wheel 'em In, you may also think that it looks like it'd be simple to win and get rich in tickets quickly. If this is one of your thoughts, then there's something else you need to learn. Looks can be deceiving.

Wheel 'em In's conveyor belt-like playing field is always moving forward at a constant speed from the front of the machine (where you stand to play) to the back. The playing area looks like a flat roll of poster paper that has nine different colored ticket designs printed on it. Every lane, or 'ticket design', is about as wide as the width of a quarter (lying face up or down), and each lane is also about a quarter's width away from the next one.

The object of Wheel 'em In is to put a quarter or token inside the machine and to try and make the coin land either entirely on top of one of the lanes (jackpot!), or completely in-between two lanes. It tells you in the back of the machine how much the separate lanes are worth. Those numbers represent how many tickets will shoot out from the machine if you're fortunate enough to have your rolling coin land right on top of any certain lane. You can rack up a maximum of 120 tickets in just one roll of the coin. Others hold lower, but still satisfying numbers, such as 75.

Before you put your quarter or token into the slot, you'll notice that you can move that slot to the left and right. Look at the very bottom of the playing field and you can also see the place where your coin will begin its dizzying journey once you let go of it. All that will happen once you insert your money is that the coin will roll for a bit and then fall into place as the conveyor belt takes it away from you. Unfortunately, there's really no way to tell exactly how far your scrap of cash will roll once it's released. It's against the arcade's set of rules to purposefully shake any machine, so doing that as a strategy is a no-no, which sucks. Therefore, there's probably more luck involved in your winning tickets from Wheel 'em In than there is skill.

The way you can win the most tickets is to make your coin land entirely on top of one of the lanes. If you land on one of them, but part of your dough is hanging off the edge, onto the white part of the field (a white space separates each lane from the next), you'll only get one ticket. Yes, even if you lose, you'll still get at least one ticket. That's the game's way of telling you "nice try." Finally, a good number of tickets can be racked up if your coin lands between two of the ticket designs, to where the edge of it is touching two separate lanes, the machine will give birth to about 20 tickets.

Wheel 'em In has more noteworthy attributes apart from its unique playing ways. Just take a listen. It makes a great "a coin's rolling" sound each time you put a coin into the slot, and then according to what happens, the speaker will say something like "so close," "whoops," or "we have a winner!" If you receive more than one ticket, things will become loud as **** while the machine shows its enthusiasm over your win, which may make you the center of attention to local game players for several seconds. This also succeeds in making you feel like you're at the top of the world for the time being, morphing you into a rich celebrity. When nobody's taking advantage of what Wheel 'em In has to offer, the machine will say "Wheel 'em In" in a catchy sort of way, or play some decent music.

Wheel 'em In is an easy game for all ages to play and I like its strategy, but it's not easy to win at. Depending on your aim, and even more on luck (the part I don't like), you could drop ten coins into the machine without even winning once, or you could wheel in 120 tickets three times in a row like the skillful high roller you wanna be. Either way, it never ceases to be a memorable and even somewhat fun redemption title. If you're ever at an arcade and you're looking to get closer to winning that boombox, clock, stuffed animal, or whatever, look and listen out for Wheel 'em In.

Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 08/09/04

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