Buffalo, NY (WBEN) Today's episode of "The Price is Right" celebrates the 30th anniversary of the show's most popular pricing game, Plinko. Every contestant who makes it to the stage will get to play the game for various prizes in addition to cash.
What makes the game so popular? Bob Thompson of Syracuse University says the game is quite simple. "You've got to build up the number of chips by guessing the digits for the price of stuff. That's interesting because these are products you don't normally know the price of," says Thompson. "The real appeal of Plinko is going up the stairs and dropping the chips in. The randomness of how physics and Newtonian forces make this thing go down."
Thompson believes this may be a metaphor for life. "So much stuff happens to us, and we have no control. But we make an effort and make decisions as to what we will do to control that fate. Everybody has to make that decision of where they want to drop that chip," explains Thompson.
Contestants play for up to $50,000 in cash, another appealing aspect of the game. "When you give wonderful things away like RVs and trips, there are a lot of people for whom they're not appealing," notes Thompson. "If I were to win an RV, I would be thinking about how to sell it for cash so I can pick what I want."