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Yesterday I went to the arcade with my wife, and they had a game whereby you have to stack up a series of blocks. These blocks will move horizontally across the screen. The blocks need to be placed on a stack. As the stack gets higher, the blocks need to be placed on a narrower surface, and the speed of the blocks moving horizontally will increase. The objective of the game was to reach to the top by lining them up, with prizes awarded based on the final height of the stack; the ultimate prize in this case was a Playstation 3.

An example of this type of game can be found on Wikipedia here.

Like most arcade games, this game requires money to play. Many of the prizes are worth more than this amount, but failure to stack to a certain height results in winning nothing. While the game itself relies on skill to play and win, the fact that you may or may not ever receive a prize still made it feel like a game of chance.

After playing a few rounds, I went back. I was worried that even if I won the grand prize, would it be considered haram?

  • Can you please give link to some site that describes this a more detail (e.g. wikipedia). Also do you need to spend money to play the game or is it free? – goto Jan 28 '14 at 8:11
  • Hi there @goto, i did a search in wikipedia, couldn't find it. Yes had to spend money to play it. – Newbie Jan 28 '14 at 8:16
  • I've seen similar games (under a variety of names) in local arcades etc. Does it look like this? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stacker_(game) – goldPseudo Jan 28 '14 at 8:18
  • Brilliant @goldPseudo! exactly the same type of game. This is it. It reduces the amount of bricks as it goes higher. – Newbie Jan 28 '14 at 8:20
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If you're paying money to play a game with the hope of winning a prize, that's gambling and gambling is considered abhorrent in Islam.

O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah ], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful.

What exactly counts as gambling has some dispute, but one narration attributed to Malik describes his consideration of "gambling" as "he is not buying something from him for something definite which he pays. Everything which resembles this is also forbidden."

So in the case of the arcade game you are paying a price to play a game, where you will either get a minute of playing a game that's rather boring, or a minute of playing the game and getting a Playstation. This is a simple case of buying something that is not definite since you don't know what you're getting until after you're done.

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