The Key Master: Classic Arcade Fun


Everyone loved going to the arcade as a kid. Play games, win tickets, get cool stuff with tickets. Bring up any arcade game to a 90’s or 80’s baby, and they’ll likely wax poetic about all the dope stuff they did at the arcade back in the day.

Thankfully in 2016, there’s a grown-up version of a classic arcade game that appeals to the kid in all of us. There’s a good chance that as a young whippersnapper (been waiting to use “whippersnapper” in an article for a while TBH), you played a variation of the Key Master game. In the event you didn’t, here’s a quick rundown: you try to perfectly position a key to fit through a hole so it can knock down a prize that’s usually very valuable. Your chances of winning were low…but the hope you’d nail it kept you coming back.

Today, several sneaker boutiques have Key Master machines with valuable sneakers hanging inside. For a few bucks ($5-10 typically), you can take a crack at winning yourself a valuable pair of kicks. Who wouldn’t want a shot at winning a pair of Yeezys worth over a grand for only a few bucks?

Sneakerheads try and try again, and most of them fail, but the lucky few that do win crazy kicks from the machine give everyone else hope that they can do it too. It’s a good time, and it’s a win-win for the store and the customers: the store gets increased traffic, revenue from people playing the game ($5 plays add up faster than you might think, even when someone wins), and free press when a player does in fact win. The sneaker head gets the chance (no matter how small) to hit on a rare pair of kicks.

What’s not to love? The combination of old arcade fun with new-age sneaker culture is great, and if you ever stop at a shop with a Key Master (will one come to Minnesota soon? We’ll see!), give it a few plays. If nothing else, you’ll at least get a few good laughs!


What do you think of the Key Master machines? Have you ever played one before? If so, did you win some kicks? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter, check our Facebook page for daily updates, and, as always, be sure to follow us on Instagram for all the fire sneaker pictures you can handle.


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