The Tablecloth Hour: One weird game

Somewhere in the faded files of American Vaudeville Theater, there was at least one act involving the yanking of a tablecloth off a table without knocking over all the dishes and food. Today, a Japanese arcade game called the Tablecloth Hour has recreated this rather dubious skill although no one can quite say why.

The Tablecloth Hour is the brainchild of the creators of the original Space Invaders arcade game. Quirky, weird and ingenious, the game challenges players to quickly yank a small piece of real tablecloth from under a virtual place setting.

The creators of the Tablecloth Hour installed the game at the Taito Station in Shibuya, Tokyo to see if passing commuters would be tempted to give the game, which would incur no additional cost beyond that of the subway token, the old college try.

There are those that insist that pulling off the tablecloth perfectly from the virtual table every time does require a special and very secret technique that takes time and energy to develop.