Randomness of those old "Pop-O-Matics"?

I guess this is more about math and physics than gaming, hence GQ, but how “random” were those Pop-O-Matics from board games of yesteryear?
Was pushing a plastic bubble mounted on a springy piece of sheet metal ('70s style) that when released shot two or more dice around inside the bubble more random than shaking the same dice in a cup and dumping them on the table, or even just vigorous hand shaking of the dice?

When I was a kid, I did a lot of testing to see whether things were random or not. I was too young to understand the statistics, so I didn’t come up with confidence intervals, standard deviations, etc. but I did eyeball the numbers after hundreds or thousands of trials to see if they more or less matched up.

Under such standards, I concluded that pop-o-matics were acceptably random as long as you pushed them all the way down and released them cleanly.

Trouble, Trouble, that’s the name of Koner’s pop-o-matic game.

What are you talking about, SirRay? First of all, there’s nothing “old” about Pop-O-Matics! They’re still state-of-the-art when it comes to self-contained, self-randomizing, pair-based, mod-6 numerical move generators!

Plus, they weren’t meant to be “more random” than shaking a pair of dice in a cup or in your hands. (Though both those options introduce opportunities for cheating that are prevented by the Pop-O-Matic. It’s only a matter of time before Las Vegas does away with expensive stickmen and replaces them with cheap, reliable,fun Pop-O-Matics!) You can’t be “more random” than throwing dice, since properly weighted dice are practically the gold standard for randomness! The purpose of the Pop-O-Matic was to make boardgames for children who are liable to lose the dice in a regular boardgame or pocket them and use them to start floating cee-lo games in the back of the school bus. Plus they make a cool popping sound!

Yeah. No flame or offense intended, but you owe me a beer for the memories!:wink:

Jebus Khrist. My old man loved this freaking game. I think I was around 7 or 8 when we got one (in the mid-late 60’s).

Every now and then we’d find him walking around the house with the board in his hands stalking up kids to play it. If we had friends over we were doomed. Even in high school he’d glom on to kids to play.

Some dads like poker, mine LOVED TROUBLE, I shit you NOT!!!

I’m not kidding! My Pop loved this game and kids we didn’t even care for would come over to play and it got real intense!!! I’m not kidding!

Trouble. Trouble! That starts with T and that rhymes with P and that stands for Pop-o-matic!

Well, would you have preferred Old-School then?
To me, Pop-O-Matics are irrevocably entwined with the games of my Childhood in the '70s (our family preferred “Cross over the Bridge” of the Poppo-games, that one may still be stashed somewhere in the basement). So, yeah, old (and what jogged my memory was watching an “old” MST3K episode, where-in Tom Servo repeated the old tag-line “Pop-O-Matic pops the dice. Pop a six and you move twice”)

Ah, this is what I’m asking about - how random could the Pop-O-Matic be if the user doesn’t push the bubble robustly (as you might do toward the end of a game) - does the die just sort of flop over as opposed to really randomly bouncing around? Sort of like a weak or straight hand throw so that the dice don’t really turn over?

I know what the purpose was (in retrospect, it did make a great advertising gimmick too).
I wonder if SNL or Kids in the Hall ever made a skit with '40s style gangsters running a craps game using Pop-O-Matics

When I was testing it, the best way to affect the roll was to keep your hand on it when it popped, so that it couldn’t pop up at full strength. You get exactly what you describe - a sort of weak flopping around. You couldn’t control the results exactly, but they weren’t random.

Pushing it down weakly might have the same effect, but I seem to remember that the design mostly prevented it from popping like you’d expect unless you pushed it all the way down. Without the pop, everyone would know that you were screwing with it.