I was recently looking at pictures of my family’s trip down to the Jersey Shore went I was younger. I was reminded of the game that infuriated me since I was about 8. It’s the climb the ladder game. It was also the game that had the largest prizes, so you know that it attracts all the kids but is also the hardest. The carnival is betting that you can’t beat it. The game consists of a rope ladder only held to the ground and the wall by a single point on each side. This is what makes it almost impossible.
I wanted to know how to beat the game, so after watching a few youtube videos, I think I have found the answer. The tricky part of the rope is that when you move too far to one side, it will start tipping. Gravity will begin to act on you, and you will fall into the mat. This means that there is a place on the rope ladder that is a center of balance or center of mass. This area is a thin line through and up the whole ladder. To win the game, you must keep your center of mass over this line as well. The easiest way to accomplish this is to stay steady and to also use the opposite hand and foot at the same time and press down on the rope of the ladder, not the rungs. This ensures that the force being exerted down is equal and at the same time. By doing this, it will limit the movement of mass away from the center of mass of the rope. This line is very small, so it takes a lot of practice to get it right, but once you get it right you can beat it anytime. This is why they limit the number of times a person can win.
The concept of center of mass is also present in many other well-known carnival games like the milk bottle game. Many of the bottles are bottom heavy, so the center of mass is lower than a normal bottle. This is why when playing this game aim towards the lower row of bottles and throw with enough force at below the center of mass to displace the bottles. Next time you are at a carnival, pay attention to the physics of each game, and you might walk away with some great new prizes!