Are All Punching Machines The Same? What’s the Deal?

If you want to demonstrate your boxing prowess, why not take your friends to see you attack a punching machine? The trouble is before you decide to go and hammer that ball and see your score, you want to know are these machines reliable? Will they all give the same result, or could you be cheated or deceived?

So, are all punching machines the same?

No, punching machines are not all the same. There is no international standard for the manufacturing of punching machines. In fact, there are two types of punching machines: arcade punching machines and the BotBoxerTM which isn’t designed to do the same job as the arcade machines.

However, the arcade machines are the traditional machines and while they are often not the same – they all operate under the same physical principles.

Are all punching machines the same? -
Are all punching machines the same? –

All About Arcade Punching Machines

The traditional arcade punching machine belongs to another electronic era, in which fairgrounds and carnivals would be packed with “test your strength” machines. The principles back then were a bit simpler than today – you would punch the bag, hit the peg, or whatever as hard as you could and if you hit it hard enough, you would ring a bell and they would give you a prize.

Over time, these tests evolved moving scales, some in numbers and others in names “Strongman” to “Weakling” type thing.

One of the earliest arcade punching machines can be seen in the episode “Knockout” of American Restoration, it was made in 1910! The first home arcade game for punching was the K.O. Punch game which was published by Sega back in 1981 and used a video game to provide the player with feedback on their strength.

While fairgrounds and carnivals are less common in the modern electronic era, and the arcades that have traditionally come with them have fallen out of favor, you can still find examples of the arcade punching machine around and some modern arcades have their own high-end electronic versions which give you an on screen readout of your punch strength.

Given that there are many different manufacturers of these games and they have been manufactured at different periods in history, it would be impossible for them to be “the same” in terms of how accurate they are in measuring your strength.

However, it is completely true that all arcade punching machines work to measure the strength of a punch in the same way and thus, once you know how accurate these machines are – you can work out a strategy to beat them.

How Accurate Are Arcade Punching Machines?

If you want to compare your strength with a friend, which is what arcade punching machines are all about – it’s best to use the same machine. The issue with using different machines is that there is absolutely no standard for calibrating the scales on these machines and each manufacturer just makes up their own.

Therefore, if your friend goes to a carnival in Texas and smashes out 732 on his machine and you pop to a fairground in Florida and score 568, it is still absolutely possible that you hit harder than your friend. It’s just that the scale he used and the one you used, aren’t the same. So, comparing punch strength in this way doesn’t really tell you anything useful.

How Is The Score Calculated On An Arcade Punching Machine?
If you want to know how to demonstrate your strength to the maximum on an arcade punching machine then you need to know how it calculates your score and then you can hone your punching technique to maximize the score.

Here’s the truth: the machine does not measure how hard you punch the ball. It can’t and if it could, it would need a completely different design. That means it has to measure something else, and that something else is how fast the ball moves after you hit it.

That means even the best boxer is not going to find their best score by hitting the ball they way they’d hit an opponent on the canvas. There are in fact two reasonable strategies for getting the highest number on the readout:

  1. You can swing wildly. This is just fine for anyone who isn’t really accomplished in boxing techniques. Use a massive haymaker with the intent of driving through the ball into the wall behind it. It won’t get the highest score ever, but it will do reasonably well and it’s easy to pull off.
  2. You can strike upwards or downwards on the ball. If you want to make that spring, under (or over) the ball, move as fast as possible, strike in the direction of the sway and then let it add some of that charge back into the movement as the ball sways.

There’s a nice tutorial video on how to get a high score on a punching machine here too:

You can also see how to strike the ball for super speed in this video here:

I think his technique is likely to be beyond most boxers, though.

Are These Machines Ever Rigged?

It seems likely, however, that some machines will never give the “correct” readout because if they’re in a traditional fairground setting with prizes on offer – there’s a big incentive for the stallholder to ensure that you never get the prize. So, the machine is just set to give out random numbers. There’s not much you can do about that. Though, you ought to be able to tell if you strike it more than a couple of times and the numbers are way too varied.

Does Boxing Talent Help To Get A High Score On An Arcade Punching Machine?

Assuming that the machine isn’t rigged (in which case no amount of skill should influence the outcome), then, yes – boxing skill is always going to help you get the highest score on a machine.

In this video, below, you can see Conor McGregor take on a boxing machine in an arcade and yes, in a single punch – he breaks the record on the machine, though only just. I assume that’s because Conor is an MMA fighter and not just a boxer.

If that doesn’t convince you, then you can watch a bunch of MMA fighters getting amazing scores against each other on a punching machine run by the UFC and the results are just as impressive.

One other thing you learn from that video is that your body mass can also help influence the score, the bigger you are, the more force you can put into a punch. Which should be obvious.

Introducing The BotBoxerTM  – A Completely Different Type Of Punching Machine

The arcade punching machine is a bit of fun. It’s designed to let you have some friendly competitions with friends on a night out. The BotBoxerTM, however, is a completely different kind of punching machine and you’re not likely to see one in the arcade any time soon.

It’s a robot training partner which is designed to help a serious boxer train and we assume that the price tag is as hefty as the package it comes with.

The machine can be tailored to behave according to your natural boxing level and it can adapt its deceptive skills and reactions to your punches accordingly. You can also teach it to freeze up after unleashing a particularly effective combo on it.

On top of that, the BotBoxerTM can help you with drills. You tell it the pattern you want to practice and you’re off. Jab! Jab – Hook! And it will be looking out for your mistakes and guiding you to better results in the future.

And the BotBoxerTM is also supposed to be able to run through a full fight with a boxer so that they can take their training to the next level.

We’d imagine that this machine is rather better built and designed than your average arcade punching machine.


Are all punching machines the same? No, they’re not. However, as all arcade punching machines operate on the same principles, you can quickly learn to maximize the way you punch them to maximize your score (as long as the game itself isn’t rigged).

The BotBoxerTM is a completely different kind of punching machine and you’re only like to see one of those in a high-end gym and not after a few beers with your mates.

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