The Return of the Santa Claw


For those of you who are new to the ways of Real Art, here’s the skinny on one of our silliest and most celebrated projects.


2010, Real Art
The Santa Claw started out as one of those “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” projects: a giant claw game stocked with Santa’s rejected toys, played online by anyone in the world. If they won something, we’d mail it to them. The original Santa Claw was concepted, built, and launched with its accompanying website in a matter of weeks. Much to our surprise, it became an award-winning international hit with coverage from the likes of Laughing Squid, Mashable, and others. More than 102,000 games were played with a total of 5,636 prizes mailed to over 150 countries across the globe.


2011, Gizmodo Gallery
The folks at Gizmodo were so impressed by our colossal claw game that they asked us to install it in their 2012 Holiday Gallery in New York City. Certain prizes were only available to folks who played on-site, but thousands of online players also earned prizes.


2013, Super Bowl XLVII
The Santa Claw got a makeover for this excursion to Super Bowl Boulevard in New Orleans. Re-branded as the Verizon Prize Claw, the game was an iPad-controlled crowd-pleaser dispensing mini footballs and helmets to adoring fans.


2014, Proto BuildBar
Our obsession and expertise with claw games has only grown with time. This year, the Santa Claw finally found its permanent home in our favorite neighborhood hackerspace, Proto BuildBar. But just getting it through Proto’s human-sized door was a challenge. The machine had to be specially disassembled, cut into modular pieces, and then put back together using custom-made couplers. It also got another surface redesign, replacing the old vinyl panels with specially painted raw OSB. But the biggest change was the addition of a monster-sized joystick made from a concrete bollard connected to some hopped-up arcade buttons. The game continues to surprise and delight visitors, especially on Fridays when Proto places a special prize inside.



Learn more about Proto:

Building Proto BuildBar
How we created this next-generation maker space

Bringing the Maker Movement Mainstream
Why Proto BuildBar is the future of making

Proto’s Wall Graphics
Behind-the-scenes look at making Proto’s wall-sized signs and mural

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