If you hack the Happy Lucky Lottery in 2004’s Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door by altering the GameCube’s system date and time, you’ll get a scolding from Lucky (the Bob-omb who runs the game) that the lottery only works “because the players are happy and lucky.” This is ironic, because luck in fact has zip to do with the lottery.
This assiduous breakdown of a side-game in a 14-year-old RPG comes courtesy of YouTube’s Stryder7x (with credit to Mario games researcher Jdaster64). In it, he lays out all the prizes and odds for claiming one of the four prizes offered by the 10-coin ticket. And he discovers that the numbers drawn are not random at all.
Instead, the game awards a prize based on how many days (real time) after you bought the ticket that you return to check on the drawing.
Returning within the first three days awards the player nothing. Fourth prizes are awarded in days 4 through 10; third prizes come on days 25 to 35; second prize isn’t awarded until days 85 to 115, and first prize takes until the 335th day, through 395 days, or one year and 1 month of real time.
This, Stryder7x correctly declares, is a scam. Especially when you consider that players can exchange an unclaimed ticket for a new one (if they think the number is no good) for 100 coins. As the number has nothing to do with the player’s chances of winning, this is a ripoff akin to an offer on Let’s Make a Deal.
About manipulating the system clock: Yes, there is always that option, but if you revert the system clock and make a game save after claiming your prize, the game will know if you return to play the (un)Happy (not)Lucky Lottery again. That is explained in excruciating detail, but suffice to say, Lucky throws a fit and it’ll cost Mario 500 coins to restart the dumb lottery again.