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Stacker is a game merchandiser manufactured by LAI Games, first produced in 2004. The goal of the game is to align rows of lights on top of each other. A player who stacks 11 rows can choose to 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. Major prizes vary from machine to machine but will often include high-value items such as game consoles and mobile phones and gift cards from 50 to 100$. There are three different colorways for the machines; blue and black, red and black, and red, yellow, and blue.
There is a row of three LED blocks which move side to side on the screen, at the first row. When the player pushes the start/stop button, the row of blocks will stop. Then, another row of three moving blocks appears above the previous row, moving faster than the one before it. If the blocks do not align directly above the previous set, any overhanging blocks will be removed. If the player misses completely, the game is over. The number of available blocks is automatically reduced to two, then one, during the game. The goal is to consistently get the blocks directly above the previous set, 'stacking' them to the minor prize and ultimately the major prize level. According to the merchandise manual, a major prize is worth about 100 times the cost per play.
Stacker is a skill with prize 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.' 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.
However, despite the claim in the operator's manual that the game is '100% a game of skill', some versions of stacker have settings that allow the operator to adjust the frequency of pay outs by making it impossible for the player to stack rows beyond a certain height; usually just before the major prize. Even if the player pushes the button at the right time, the moving squares will either skip a certain column or keep moving after the button is pushed.
If a person reaches 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 more recently 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 two major prize arms and four 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.
The examples and perspective in this section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (June 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
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, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the United Kingdom and Cyprus.