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Crafty gamer wins a Nintendo Switch for $50

Shrewd Dave & Busters patron takes the top loot from the prize cage
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

A master at his craft plundered a Dave & Busters prize cage for a Nintendo Switch at an actual cost of just $50. Think about that, if you're trying to find one at retail or, worse, wading through the atrocious markup of the gray market.

Dragon Slaayer, as he calls himself on Reddit, needed only $50 to collect the 100,000 points to redeem for the newest gaming console, which suggests he's either really, really good at his game, or D&B might have under valued the prize.

Dragon Slaayer said he racked up the total on “the ‘Flappy Bird’ game called Floppy Tickets.

“I don't know why, I'm just really good at it,” he added. He says it took him about a month and a half — or 15 hours of combined gameplay — to get that amount. Dragon Slaayer listed his base of operations as New York state.

In the real world, Switch's retail availability, at $299, is going like you'd expect any new Nintendo product. Nintendo didn't make enough, surprise surprise. GameStop, out of stock right now, is getting a resupply and will have the new console on shelves nationwide on March 22.

Either way, Dragon Slaayer got his Switch for a lot less money.

This reminds me of one of my favorite stories of all time, "Robert Jones," the wizard of Drill-o-Matic. It was, literally, his career, looting the prize cages at Dave & Busters nationwide. The pile of red tickets at his feet was breath-taking. I met him in 2004 as two dear friends celebrated their engagement. He would have taken in 100,000 tickets over dinner.

He knew how to hit the game’s jackpot target, top row, about four over from the left, with perfect precision, learning it on a Drill-o-Matic in his parents' grocery store in Georgia. After they died, he was miserable and idle, so he hit the road to find his fortune, claiming prizes, shipping them home and selling them on eBay at nearly pure profit.

He told me his story but not his real name. I shit you not, I slipped a cocktail waitress $20 to seduce it from him. And he fed her that pseudonym, "Robert Jones" as if he knew I was behind the plot, and as if he knew that name was untraceable in the people-finder searches we used at the newspaper.

He didn't want to give any D&B advance warning that he was coming to take everything they had. He'd rather slip into town, sit quietly on his bar stool, and say nothing. Sometimes, as he did in Denver, he became a sideshow, an impromptu attraction even as he took everything they had. Game consoles, power tools, TVs.

Other places, he was thrown out on his ass, tickets be damned. He went to a D&B in Memphis that brazenly advertised a Harley-Davidson motorcycle as a prize for one million tickets. He asked if that was a legitimate offer and, told it was, spent three days compiling that total on Drill-o-Matic. When he sought to claim the reward, he was ejected.

The morning after I met him, a Saturday, I drove to Denver International Airport and waited in the terminal, scanning every face, hoping to ambush him on his exit from town and impress him with my determination to get his story. But either he flew out earlier, or simply passed by anonymously.

I swear on my grandfather's tombstone that man is real, if still living. I feel like I saw one of the last great gunfighters of the Old West. I can still see the tickets, and the D&B attendant kneeling to restock the feeder, as he kept drilling away. I have interviewed hall-of-fame athletes and Nobel Prize winners. This man beat them all by a mile, the absolute perfect best ever at what he did. None can say the same for themselves.

Watch: Nintendo Switch Hardware Review

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