Defeating the "Deal or No Deal" Arcade Game

Two teenagers figured out how to beat the "Deal or No Deal" arcade game by filming the computer animation and then slowing it down enough to determine where the big prize was hidden.

Posted on October 8, 2018 at 5:33 AM • 14 Comments

Comments

meOctober 8, 2018 6:23 AM

there was a case where i could cheat:
supermarket "lottery"
you had to chose a number and in the end they extract a number and that is the winner.
the problem?
according to their own document they used "php mt rand to ensure fair game"
the problem is that mt (mersene twister) random generator is not that random, having about 600 outputs you can reconstruct the status so you can predict all the future numbers.

JOOctober 8, 2018 7:46 AM

I'm impressed that the programmers actually legitimately animated the cases to their actual destinations. I would have just made a few stock animations and had it have nothing to do with the actual destinations of the cases, which I just would have made random. Maybe they had to do it for places that have strict gambling machine laws/regulations. I'm not sure why they even do this step to begin with, as the show the game is based on never showed the contents of the boxes beforehand, so it seems unnecessary. Maybe to entice players that thought they could follow the cases, which apparently they could.

RealFakeNewsOctober 8, 2018 9:09 AM

@JO: that's the only reason I could think of. I hope they got to keep their winnings!

WaelOctober 8, 2018 12:28 PM

Two teenagers figured out how to beat the "Deal or No Deal" arcade game

Sounds like the game was designed by fellow teenagers. Defective design.

@Petre Peter,

I have trouble understanding how a quick review can be done in slow motion.

Apparently the kids have enough time to record the "screen shuffle" then play it in slow motion on the phone.

slowOctober 8, 2018 4:40 PM

@Wael I think he meant it is an oxymoron to quickly do something slowly... but yeah, I'm sure what you said is how that can be so :)

JeremyOctober 8, 2018 4:46 PM

As @JO points out, making an animation that shows the actual shuffle is in fact extra work for the programmers, so I have to assume that this was intentional; that is, they specifically intended that it would be possible for a player to follow the shuffle and know the answer. They might not have considered the possibility of using recording devices to make it easier, but it's unreasonable to believe this was intended to be a simple lottery.

Possibly they did this because there's some legal reason they needed the game to be classified as a game of skill rather than luck. Or possibly they did it because it's meant to be a GAME rather than a gambling device; it sounds like the prizes were "tickets" rather than cash.

It's my understanding that using electronic devices to help you win a casino game is generally illegal (as opposed to counting cards in your head, which casinos don't necessarily like but you can't be arrested for it). Anyone know whether that applies to arcade games that award tickets at places like Chuck E Cheese?


I am reminded of the video game "Hand of Fate", where the shuffle animation looks superficially like it won't reveal anything, but with careful observation you can improve your odds above random guessing by following the "Z order" of the cards as they mix (which ones go "above" or "below" others). They don't call attention to this, but it was clearly intended (in the sequel you can even gain abilities to manipulate the animation so that it's easier to track). I thought it was a rather cool feature, although it does mean you can "cheat" using recording devices.

WaelOctober 8, 2018 5:07 PM

@slow,

I think he meant it is an oxymoron to quickly do something slowly

I didn't catch that meaning. Seems I'm the slow one in this case (how degrading.) If he had appended a smiley or such at the end... I still wouldn't have gathered what he meant :-)

Petre Peter October 8, 2018 7:42 PM

@Wael,

Nothing wrong with slow. If used in motion, slow can lead to quick reviews.

JimOctober 9, 2018 2:35 AM

Great idea but I definitely have a different defintion of 'Major Prize' seriously? Jenga? :D

Got to love those ticket machines.

TatütataOctober 9, 2018 4:21 AM

Nothing but a high tech version of the three card monte... You might manage to track the card, but if you ever do manage to beat the dealer's cheating, the goons behind you will quickly intervene.

EdOctober 9, 2018 10:38 AM

I'm curious if the only random element here is the starting positions of the case values, and that the sort algorithm is fixed and pre-determined (i.e. case in position X always ends in position Y)

ChelloveckOctober 10, 2018 1:08 PM

Slow-motion? That's for chumps. They should have made an app which reads the point value of each case, identifies the highest, follows it through the shuffle, and highlights it in real-time on the screen. Kids these days!

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