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Stacker is a video game merchandiser manufactured by LAI Games. The goal of the game is to align rows of moving blocks on top of each other. A player who can stack 11 rows will win a minor prize, which is usually low in value, sometimes lower in value than the amount of money the player paid to play the game. A player who gets to the top row wins a major prize. The major prize varies from machine but will often include present day game consoles, cellular phones, and mp3 players.
There is a row of three cubes which move side to side on the screen, at the first row. When the player pushes the start/stop button, the row of squares will stop. Then, another row of three moving squares appears above the previous row, moving faster than the one before it. If the squares do not align directly above the previous set, any overhanging squares will be removed. If the player misses completely, the game is over. The number of available squares is automatically reduced to two, then one, during the game. The goal is to consistently get the squares directly above the previous set, "stacking" them to the minor prize and ultimately major prize levels. According to the merchandise manual, a major prize is worth about 100 times the cost per play.
Stacker is a Skill With Prizes game, although the relative proportions are not specified by LAI or in the operator's manual, it does state a disclaimer that it is "100% a game of skill and although it is very difficult, every game played can be a winning game". However it is apparent that there are various mechanisms in place to make the game increasingly harder than it seems. The owner's manual states that at the game's highest difficulty level, the estimated ratio of wins to losses will be near 1 in 800. However, the actual ratio may be lower or higher based somewhat on the skill of the players, with the approximate frequency of winning the major prize being set at the discretion of the game's operator.
If a person wins a prize on the 'Major Prize' level, the blocks will flash on and off spelling the word "Win."
A typical stacker game is 78" high by 27". A newly released version of the game, called Stacker Giant, is about twice the size. Stacker games come in two different color schemes, black and blue, or red and blue. Yet another version has been added to the family recently, the Stacker Mini. It is just like the standard Stacker except it only has 2 major prize arms and 4 minor prize arms, and only has 10 rows of lights instead of the standard 15. It is red, black, and white and stands about 6 feet tall by two feet deep and two feet wide. All of the different schemes are attractively painted to draw in customers. Stacker games have large windows covering the top half of the machine on three sides. The large windows are to allow passersby to be able to view the prizes, which may in turn lead them to play the game. Such techniques use prizes such as the Nintendo Wii, the Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS systems and other products that are either difficult for children to obtain due to cost, or are appealing to kids because of looks. The four "Prize rods" on a stacker game are spread far apart and lit from the ceiling to add emphasis.
In Europe, the primary distributor of Stacker is the Austrian company funworld AG, distributing in 14 European countries: Germany, Switzerland, France, Greece, the Netherlands, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, Spain, Czechia, Hungary, United Kingdom and Cyprus.
Copyright Infringing duplicates
A Chinese manufacturer recently has been found releasing machines very closely alike that infringe the copyrights of the STACKER game as in, Aces High, Pile Up, Go Up, and Chase The Ace. LAI Games has started to confiscate and destroy copyright infringing duplicates of their successful STACKER arcade game.
- LAI Games. Merchandise Manual Comic Book for Stacker game. Accessed 2007-10-07.
- LAI Games (July 2004). Stacker Operator's Manual.
- funworld is selling Stacker in 14 European countries!
- funworld - stacker