Catching love with claw machines
Viewers of TV dramas “Doctors,” “Legend of the Blue Sea” and “Guardian” will have noticed by now the frequency of claw machines appearing in trending Korean shows.
In the ongoing SBS show, “Legend of the Blue Sea,” a claw machine serves as the symbol of a love not yet realized between the male and female lead.
Early in the show, the male lead Heo Jun-jae (Lee Min-ho) fears that Shim Cheong (Jun Ji-hyun)’s determination to win his love is waning.
Heo takes Shim to a claw machine and tells her that, whatever she does she cannot give up on the goals she has set her heart on. While outwardly he is talking about the dolls inside the game machine, he is actually alluding to Shim to never give up on him.
Throughout the rest of the show, Shim continues to return to the claw machine to fetch the stuffed octopus that just won’t get caught.
The smug Kim confidently takes the handles but fails to get his catch every time. Ji ends up having to pry the desperately determined Kim off the claw machine.
The increasing appearance of claw machines in popular dramas is reflective of the game’s growing presence in younger generation’s entertainment and dating culture here.
According to Yonhap News Agency, Tuesday, the number of claw machine shops have grown 24-fold over the last two years.
Cultural critics have credited the worsening economy as a trigger behind people’s newfound interest to win at a game as a compensation.
The spread of social media, where the few triumphant people tout their prizes, is also seen as a factor that eggs on more people to try the game.
By Lim Jeong-yeo (firstname.lastname@example.org)