The only good claw machine is a dead claw machine as Socrates once said. HOWEVER Socrates was rubbish at claw machines so he WOULD say things like that. If he had been slightly more contemporaneous with Itch.io he could have honed his claw machine skills with Clawfish [Itch page], a claw machine fishing game made for TOjam. TOjam is the Toronto game jam, FYI, and the theme this time was “Prepare for disappointment” so a claw machine is a pretty good fit.
Clawfish is not a perfect proposition in that it seems to track the lives you have a bit wonkily, but given the game is based on a machine designed to screw you over that doesn’t actually feel egregious. I also like the fish themselves. So far I’ve nabbed a Splambin Gorfkin which “can only be found in flooded libraries” and the Trouble Guppy which is “unhappy with you”.
It’s a cute little project and the grabbing action works with the fish to produce that same sensation of something slippery and awkward that a real claw machine offers.
Tis pay-what-you-want over on programmer David Czar’s Itch.io page.