. . . would you mind if I ask you a question ? Did you (honestly) ever make any serious money out of playing quiz machines, back in the day ? I'll tell you why I ask this.
A couple of nights ago I was with a former colleague from work in a drinking establishment. Now, you know me well enough by now to know that I don't touch the hard stuff. In fact, if I'm honest I don't even go overboard on the soft stuff nowadays, but I digress. The fact is that its nice to sometimes get together as a group with former members of the gang who have gone on to pastures new, and a pub is as good a place as any to do it. Now, to cut a long story short, there was one of these new-fangled quiz machines in there , of the sort which gives you the choice of about several different TV based games to play. One of my colleagues called me over, and immediately expected me to win at least a £5 return on her £1 she'd shoved in the machine.
I don't know if you're the same, but I do find that sometimes my heart sinks on the rare occasion when I'm asked for an impromptu demonstration of my quiz credentials. With a non quizzing group you know you're on a hiding to nothing. If you succeed what you tend to get is - well of course you did. You won that show so I wouldn't epect anything less. - But if you don't. . . Which to be honest is what usually happens whenever anyone asks for my help on these machines. In my experience while the gameplay is fair, it is very difficult to get to the stage where you actually earn any money from playing them. OK - alright - this time it worked, and immediately we'd won the £5 she wanted I sat down and refused to give any more answers, mainly because I knew that if I did it would only be a short time before all of that fiver she'd just won went back into the machine, and heaven knows how much more besides.
As I sat down - ah , here come the point at last - as I sat down one of my friends made a comment along the lines of " I know a guy who reckons that he used to make a lot of money from playing the quiz machines. . . " You'll have heard this sort of thing before I'm sure. This leads me to my question.
You see the heyday of the quiz machine had really probably passed by the time my quiz career really started, and I never even saw a quiz machine in a pub for the first 2 years I was quizzing. I'm quite happy to come clean that the most money I ever made from playing a quiz machine was about £20 from a knackered old Dave Lee Travis Give Us A Break ( or whatever it was called ) machine in Llandeilo Rugby Club. Yet I too have met people who clam to have made frankly staggering amounts of cash from quiz machines in the mid-late 80s. One of them, a friend from Bridgend tells me that he used to go to Blackpool to play the machines and would easily make several hundred pounds on them in a single weekend. Alright, maybe this stretches credibility a little, but I have to say that he is not the kind of guy to lie about it.
So what I'm intrigued about , what I'm asking is how easy actually was it to make serious cash from these machines, and how widespread was it ? Did you yourself ever manage to supplement your income in this way, and if so, what do you think of the quiz machines that are around today ? Do you know of anyone who claims that they can make good money from playing quiz machines today ? I have my doubts, but its an interesting question. . .