Also known as a "high striker", "strength tester", and "strongman game", this attraction is a staple in carnivals and Amusement Parks, where the contestant uses a mallet to hit the button or puck on the base. The button is attached to a lever which causes a weight to fly up a tower. If the button is struck hard enough (or a rigged version is hit the right way and merely permits the whacker to make progress) and the weight reaches the top of the tower, it rings a bell that's suspended there. The game usually has different "scores" written on the side of the tower denoting the player's Power Level, such as "wimp", "strong", "Hercules", etc.
In cartoons and series featuring characters with Super Strength (or are just ridiculously strong), a common occurrence is for someone to hit the device so hard that the weight hits the bell and sends it flying into the air. Sometimes characters forego the use of the mallet and just hit the device with their bare hands.
Conversely, the device can be used to set up a joke where a character makes a pitiful showing, either because he's just that weak or because somebody sabotaged the works to mess with the user.
Though high strikers are the most commonly seen, any arcade or fairground attraction that tests the player's strength counts.
Not to be confused with the "Test Your Might" minigame from Mortal Kombat.
- In this advert for Duracell's Copper Top Tester, an anthropomorphic Duracell battery tries its hand at one of these.
- In an early McDonald's commercial, one which features the McDonaldland characters, the Hamburglar sets up a carnival (the admission to which, as well as each attraction therein, was one hamburger). Upon entering, Ronald tries his hand at the test your strength game. After Ronald only gets the weight up a few notches, the heavy-set Grimace accidentally steps on the lever, sending the weight up to knock the bell straight up in the air.
- In the late stages of Dragon Ball Z, a punch-strength machine is set up for the entrants of the tournament. The heroes all give the machine light taps that send it to the maximum rating (to the horror of the organizers)... then Vegeta comes up and destroys the machine in one punch.
- In an episode of Wedding Peach, a devil pulls one of these out of his pants to show an ancient devil that he need to regain his strength after getting out of his Sealed Evil in a Can.
- One of the gags during the hero exams in One-Punch Man involved a punching a machine to test strength. Like the Vegeta example above, Saitama doesn't hold back and sends it crashing into a wall.
- In YuYu Hakusho, Yusuke and Kuwabara go to Genkai as she's holding exams to find out who will become her student. The second part of the exam involved playing some arcades to secretly gauge their spirit energy, one of which is a punching machine. We see Yusuke get a high score when he plays it, much to Kuwabara's chagrin. A jock gets a low score and complains the game is rigged because he always gets a high score at other punching machines. Genkai says the punching machine measures spirit strength, not physical. The jock tries to attack her and is taken down.
- Achille Talon has a High Striker at which Achille hoists the hammer over his head... then falls over backwards, with the shockwave of his landing sending the weight up to hit the bell.
- Gaston Lagaffe finds a boxer-shaped machine at a junkyard and takes it home. Predictably, it gets away from him wheeling down a slope and rams De Mesmaeker's new car. The last panel has a cop writing a ticket for De Mesmaeker (the punch machine had right-of-way), while Gaston notes that the needle reads "Champion".
- The titular character of Itty Bitty Hellboy hits "the Strongman Test-Your-Strength Thingie" with his powerful fist, which earns him some plush toys for his female teammates.
- Kid Paddle has a variant with a punching ball instead of a piston. He goes up to it wearing a motorcycle helmet and delivers a headbutt that gets him the high score.
- Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman: In "Wonder World" 15 year old Diana wins large stuffed animals for Riley and her friends at a high striker while the shocked attendant looks on.
- In one episode of Suske en Wiske, Lambik tries a high striker, but finds himself barely able to lift the hammer and makes a pitiful performance. Then Jerom steps up, casually lifts the hammer with one hand and strikes the device while blowing his nose, sending the striker into low earth orbit.
- Ashes of the Past : Chapter 127: Wishmaker 1 : Ash and some Pokemon want to play a Strength Test Game, May asking him not to because their Aura powers may break the machine.
"No, Ash," May said firmly.
"Aw..." Ash said. "But May-"
"I've already had to tell Blaziken not to," May added, unmoved. "And that goes for Lucario, too! No Aura enhanced super strength on the test your strength machine!"
- In From Dusk To Night, the Fetlock Falls Winter Festival features one of these (a pony variant with a vertical target for kicking). Like several other games at the festival, it's rigged: the target is just high enough to be awkward for the average pony to hit it. As a result, the only one to win a prize is Night Flurry, the least athletic of the protagonists.
- Opal, Sapphire, Ruby, and STEVEN!: From Chapter 7, The Wallflower:
"Here!" Steven pulled her over to the tall, red metal structure with a brass bell on top. 'STRENGTH-O-METER' blinked on a sign beside it. He grabbed the heavy mallet and turned to Opal as he explained, "Just hit the pad to see how strong you are!"
- In My Huntsman Academia, one of these is set up for Hunter's Day in Mountain Glenn. Yang, Nora, and Coco beat it with ease even without their Semblances. Izuku is horribly embarrassed when he comes up just short despite more than a year of Training from Hell and months of living with an Aura.
- Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, the punch strength variation is set up at the U.A. Culture Festival. Izuku immediately runs up to win it with his Kryptonian Super Strength after spotting a rare Beebo doll among the prizes. His plans are cut short when it turns out that Kendo Rappa is after the same doll. While Izuku initially tries to back out, the two end up getting egged on into a strength contest that ends with Izuku destroying the machine while actively trying to lose. The strength levels range from city-destroying, to country-destroying to planet-destroying, to wrecking the space-time continuum itself. The student manning the stall admits that she didn't know it went that high.
- One game that's in the bonus features of the Open Season 2 DVD is called "doggie strength test", where you play a strength test game as the dog characters.
- In The Peanuts Movie, at the last-day-of-school carnival, one little boy tries his hand at one of these games, but before he can try to hit the target with the hammer, Charlie Brown races through the fair on his way to the Little Red-Haired Girl before she leaves for summer camp and accidentally steps on the target. He rings the bell, and the little boy is happily rewarded with a giant teddy bear.
- In The Secret of the Hunchback there is one at the Day of the Innocent festival. Quasimodo plays one and he is so strong that he breaks the device.
- Beetlejuice: When the Ghost with the Most is summoned in the climax, he gets rid of Mr. and Mrs. Dean by putting each on high strikers and, by turning his arms into mallets, sending them flying through the ceiling.
- In Grease, there's an end-of-school-year carnival toward the end of the film. Someone rings the bell just before the final number of "We Go Together".
- In Hell Fest, there is a test-your-strength game kept in the employee locker area. When Gavin wanders in to steal a prize for Natalie, The Other attacks and ultimately kills him with the strength game's mallet, smashing his head while it was on the target... and ringing the bell.
- In Strangers on a Train, Bruno follows Miriam and her two beaus to an amusement park where he impresses her with his strength by winning the "Test Your Strength Game". The vendor half-jokingly says that Bruno broke the bell.
- In Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the big guy whose nerves Caractacus gets on is seen winning at one of these.
- In a The Berenstain Bears book, Papa Bear faces off against a very large guy in one of these games. The big guy makes the bell ring. Papa Bear is stung by a bee, and the shock makes him hit the device hard enough to make the bell fly off.
- In Ace Lightning, the Carnival of Doom has a "Test Your Strength" game which Anvil hides in.
- In a 2019 SNL sketch with Kyle Mooney during the Idris Elba episode, Kyle Mooney plays a new SNL cast member who can't get screen time. Although this isn't the way the show works, the cast member gets himself a weekend update slot through this.
- There's one at the carnival in Anne with an E; Billy can't make the bell ring.
- In Hetty Feather, there's one at the open day of the Foundling Hospital. It's fixed: the bell won't ring unless a lever at the back is turned, so they don't have to pay up so often.
- The Monkees: During a music video a few of the guys are used as the puck. We see a closeup of the bell and a foot or two of the tower, and the guys' heads rise up from the bottom and hit the bell.
- In The Six Million Dollar Man, Steve Austin tries this at a carnival. Using his bionic powers, he knocks the bell off the hook, freaking out the barker.
- Step by Step: The intro theme is set in an amusement park where the whole new family is enjoying their time together. J.T. tries hand in "test your strength game" and he reaches the top score "WIN".
- In Series 20 of the UK Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond held an invitational 'Star in a Reasonably Priced Car' segment for the Vauxhall Astra, with a few features including an arcade punching machine. Boxer David Haye ended up going past 700, while Clarkson almost totaled himself attempting to punch with style.
- Wonder Woman: In "Fausta, the Nazi Wonder Woman", Wonder Woman sets the goal for a war bond drive via a Test Your Strength game. She hits the machine so hard that the bell rockets into the sky!
Wonder Woman: The sky's the limit when it comes to buying bonds!
- An episode of Sesame Street has Cookie Monster try one of these games. The barker reveals in an aside to the viewer that the game is rigged. Because the prize for the game is a cookie, the Cookie Monster wins anyway.
- Pie Face!: In Pie Face Sky High!, the player tests their strength by strongly hitting the plate with a hammer and making the pie hit the opponent.
- In Banjo-Tooie, in the Witchyworld level, there is a strength test game called the Cactus of Strength, where the grand prize is a jiggy. Banjo and Kazooie must hit the button three different ways note within the time limit in order to ring the bell.
- In Chapter 4 of Bendy and the Ink Machine, among the attractions in Bendy Land is a strength test game. Hitting the bell will cause Alice to sarcastically remark that Boris's rescue can wait.
- Bioshock Infinite. One of the attractions at the Raffle fair is a High Striker. Booker can pick up a large mallet and hit a board, which will send the weight up and hit the bell.
- In Bully, you can play a strength game when you visit the carnival. To play, you must mash the A button to build up strength as Jimmy, the player character, swings back the mallet.
- Castlevania: Chronicles of Sorrow: Used as a puzzle in Dawn. The solution is to strike it with a mace-type weapon, gaining a better prize the stronger the weapon used.
- In The Cave, the Hillbilly's level takes place in a carnival where you need to get 6 tickets to win a giant pink stuffed bear so that the Hillbilly can impress The Amazing Two-Legged Lady, and one of the tickets comes from winning this kind of game. The puzzle here is that the wimpy hammer that comes with the game can't win the game; you need to find a sledgehammer to do that.
- Chrono Trigger has one at the Millennial Fair. Because it's a video game, it's actually a test of the player's timing- Crono moves back and forth, and the player has to hit "A" when he's at the farthest point from the game.
- One of the puzzles in Contrast involves using the shadow of the weight of a Test Your Strength machine as an improvised moving platform (it makes sense in context).
- This was one of the games in the Fall Fair (later known as The Fair) events in the original Club Penguin, and it was more a matter of timing than actual strength.
- The goal posts at the end of each non-boss level of Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest are a variation of this. Jumping on the target normally completes the level as usual, but jumping on it from a high-enough height will send the barrel up the pole and win you a prize. The prizes include a single banana, a bunch of bananas, an extra life, the "G" letter of the word "KONG", a banana coin, or a DK coin. The key to getting the prize you want is to jump from the right height at the right time.
- Haunt the House: Terrortown: The Ghost Train has one on the Carousel car. It's one of the many items that the ghost can possess.
- A variant in Kirby Star Allies: the minigame Star Slam Heroes has multiple Kirbys trying to slug an incoming meteor into space. Time the charge meter and precision meter precisely, and the Kirbys will slug the meteor further and further away (in points).
- Left 4 Dead 2 has one in the Dark Carnival campaign where you have to strike the button with a melee weapon to hit the bell. It is possible to hit the bell if your health is high enough, but nothing happens. The real prize comes from whacking the button with a melee weapon while under the effects of an adrenaline shot, which knocks the bell off, unlocks an achievement, and alerts the horde.
- In Mario Party 2 and Superstars, the board-specific (no longer the case in Superstars) mini-game in Space Land is "Hammer Slammer". This involves one of these games, with different prizes rewarded depending on how high your character sends the weight up the pole. If your character hits the target too hard, the weight will be bounced back by a spring at the top and land on the Baby Bowser (Bowser Jr. in Superstars) item at the bottom, resulting in your character getting nothing.
- Moshi Monsters: The circus features a playable strength test game. At first, it was rigged with a rubber hammer, but then the Super Moshis fixed it, so it's playable now.
- Putting its famous minigame aside, Mortal Kombat parodies the original carnival game in both Sektor's Friendship in Mortal Kombat 3 and Shao Kahn's Friendship in Mortal Kombat 11. Both of them easily hit the bell at the top though in Shao Kahn's case, he naturally strikes the bell so hard it splits and flies off. The bell's also branded "Outworld Oddities", it's fittingly titled "Test Your Might" and it's highest strength is, wait for it, "Shao Kahn."
- In New Super Lucky's Tale, one of these games is present at Carnival Court. However, some Bedlam Boxes are blocking the path between the weight and the bell. Lucky must first find and press the switch that gets rid of them so that he will have a clear chance at ringing the bell. When Lucky rings the bell, he wins a ticket.
- In Octodad, an anaconda-themed version is one of the minigames you have to beat in order to win prizes in the arcade.
- Pajama Sam 3: You Are What You Eat From Your Head to Your Feet has a high striker at the carnival at Muscle Beach. Because Sam isn't strong enough to ring the bell from the bottom, he has to come up with his own unique solution. He has to untie the shoes of a balloon vendor, who will give him his balloons while he re-ties his shoes. Sam can then use the balloons to float up to the bell and ring it from there.
- In Popeye Beach Volleyball for the Game Gear, one of the bonus games involves Popeye trying to ring the bell of one of these.
- Dr. Eggman's Circus Park in Shadow the Hedgehog had a variation involving Shadow's homing attack. The loud "DING!" of the bell and the prize (fifty rings) are the same.
- In the Krustyland level of The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants, there is a strength test game located next to the high dive act. Since merely jumping on the platform that sends the weight up won't help it reach the bell, Bart has to climb to the top of the high dive and jump off there to provide enough force. When Bart does ring the bell, he wins three coins and the disembodied head of Jebediah Springfield.
- In Stardew Valley, one of these appears among the attractions in the Stardew Valley Fair during the fall season. Instead of a hammer, a pickaxe is used. Perfectly timing the bar with the top of the meter nets one star token. Perfectly hitting the bottom of the meter will also get you a token, simply because the guy running it is actually impressed by how weak you are.
- In the carnival room of Stay Tooned!, there is a strength test mini-game featuring Frank. Clicking will make him lift his hammer, and the longer you wait before clicking again, the more strength Frank will build up. Waiting too long causes Frank to fall over, but clicking at the right time will cause Frank to hit the target. What follows is a cutscene corresponding with the height, and if the weight reaches the top, the player will win a door key (the first time only, though).
- Team Fortress 2 had one as the center piece of the 2014 Halloween map.
- Toonstruck has one in the arcade. Naturally you have to cheat to win it.
- In Yooka-Laylee, Galleon Galaxy has one of these, where the grand prize is a Pagie. In order to ring the bell, Yooka must first swallow a cannonball to make him metallic. Then, he and Laylee must jump from a high-enough height and land on the target before the effect wears off.
- My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Rainbow Rocks Shorts: In "Perfect Day For Fun", Applejack and Rainbow Dash try a high striker. Surprisingly, despite their noted physical strength, they fail to hit the bell, then Spike tries it and hits the bell.
- DEATH BATTLE!: "Harley Quinn VS Jinx" features one in the amusement park that serves as the battleground. Harley rings the bell before the battle begins, owing to the hosts estimating Harley's strength as being at least strong enough to lift 1,200 pounds. The fight begins after Jinx blows up her prize. The battle ends at the test your strength game, with Harley's severed head hitting the button with enough force to ring the bell.
Boomstick: Don't just stand there, Jinx! You just won a free teddy bear! What if it's Tibbers?
- Parodied in Cyanide & Happiness with a strip featuring a "Test your Patience" game. After a character hit the target, the dial did not raise visibly at all... Then a few days later, a sequel strip was aired, where in the final panel, the dial rose a minuscule amount.
- In The Easy Breather story "A Day at the Carnival", the heroes take one turn each at the high striker game. Christopher and Samantha both miss, but Darla wins easily.
- Neopets: In the Deserted Fairground, Arnold the Mynci oversees such a game.
- In the SuperMarioLogan episode, "Jeffy Goes to the Arcade!", Jeffy plays one of these games at Sam's Fun City. On his first try, he's only able to get into the blue section. On his second try, Mario tells Jeffy to pretend the machine is bullying him, and Jeffy hits it harder, getting to the top.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "The Runaway" has Toph hitting a high striker, complete with the weight going flying into the air to the amazement of the audience.
- Beetlejuice turns monster clowns Scuzzo and Fuzzo into a test your strength machine at the end of "Dragster of Doom."
- The Berenstain Bears 80s episode "Ring the Bell" features a "Strongest Bear" contest at a fair with a high striker. Among finding out he's going to compete in the contest, Papa Bear decides to test it out before the contest begins, but only succeeds in getting the striker to go up one third of the way. Then during the actual contest, Too-Tall's father Two-Ton Grizzly easily gets the striker to hit the bell, but when it's Papa's turn, the bees seeking revenge on Papa for stealing his honey to make his famous six-flavored honey for the fair's honey contest (which he won) all fly towards Papa in the shape of a harpoon and sting his behind, resulting in Papa hitting the striker so hard he breaks it and wins the "Strongest Bear" trophy!
- Blaze and the Monster Machines: Stripes and Zeg are shown trying a rocket-themed high striker at the beginning of "Runaway Rocket". They fail to hit the puck hard enough, while Pickle succeeds.
- Danger Mouse places Penfold atop a test your strength machine in order to catch Greenback's pet caterpillar Nero, who had acquired telekinesis (episode "Nero Power").
- On the Donald Duck cartoon "Canvas Back Duck", Don tries his hand at a high striker, but he slips and falls headfirst on the machine, with the mallet hitting him immediately afterwards. This makes it strike the bell, and Don wins a prize.
- In the MGM cartoon "Daredevil Droopy," Spike holds the weight down when Droopy tries the test your strength machine, only Spike's head pops up and hits the bell.
- The Flintstones: In "Time Machine", one appears at the World's Fair. In an exaggerated fashion, Fred barely gets the button to move, while Bamm-Bamm uses his fist to knock the button into the bell, knocking the bell off the hook.
- Gravity Falls: In "Dipper vs. Manliness", Dipper's inability to get a high score on a grip-strength-testing game (combined with relentless teasing from others) is what prompts him to try asking the Manotaurs for help in becoming more manly.
- On the opening titles of The Huckleberry Hound Show, the Kellogg's Corn Flakes rooster (later Huck himself) hits the button on this machine and launches himself into the air so he can ring the bell with a hammer.
- Johnny Bravo: In "Going Batty", a vampire named Lois goes on a date with Johnny to spite her ex-boyfriend. At a carnival, Johnny tries the high striker to win Lois a prize, but her ex-boyfriend, who was following them, uses telekinesis to stop the weight from hitting the bell three times. The attendant mocks Johnny as a weakling and Lois is disappointed in him.
- Kick Buttowski: Gunther and Kick both try the mallet machine. Gunther barely moves the weight. Kick finds the mallet unbalances him and he falls on the target instead; the weight hits hard enough to send the bell flying.
- In the The Loud House episode, "Kings of the Con", one of Lincoln's attempts to win the judges of the Ace Savvy convention over is by playing the Hammer of Justice game. When he tries it, he only gets up to The Old Maid. Then Lynn (as the Strong Suit) tries it and manages to get the weight and the bell through the convention center's roof.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has one appear in the Iron Pony competition. Since the characters are ponies, the test involves kicking an upright target rather than using a hammer. Applejack, who bucks trees for a living, hits hard enough to shatter the target and blast the weight into the sky.
- In the PB&J Otter episode, "World's Strongest Otter", Jelly insists that Peanut win a prize before the Otter family go home from the carnival that the Snooties rented, as she already won a magnet and Butter won some balloons. Peanut tries his hand at one of these games, but he isn't even strong enough to lift the hammer.
- Peppa Pig: One of these appears in the episode "Funfair". After Mr Bull, who is manning the game, makes a rude remark about Daddy Pig's weight, Mummy Pig (who has had sexist remarks doubting her skill made to her by characters manning fairground games) is pushed over the edge. In a fit of rage, she whacks the button so hard it hits the bell five times, winning her all the giant teddies at the fairground.
- Popeye: In their debut short, Popeye and Bluto try their hands at a ring-the-bell game to impress Olive. Bluto grabs a hammer (and the guy holding it) and hits the bell, while Popeye slams it with his fist and the puck shoots past the bell and all the way up to the sun (giving it a black eye).
- Popeye does this again in "Abusement Park," hitting the bell using his fist over and over again and cleaning the barker out of his stuffed toy prizes.
- One of the Hanna-Barbera Popeye shorts is set at a carnival. While Popeye and Bluto try to sabotage each other at the high striker, Olive takes the mallet herself and wins by accident.
- The Ruff & Reddy Show: In the first episode of the Treasure of Skipper Kipper story, Reddy tries the test your strength game at a carnival. He misses and hits a police officer's toe (Reddy had already gotten on the policeman's bad side after accidentally hitting him with a baseball).
- Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, "Foul Play in Funland": Scooby and Shaggy compete to see who is stronger on one of these. Scooby is the winner, until the Monster of the Week comes along and hits it so hard he breaks it.
- In the Steven Universe episode "Know Your Fusion" Sardonyx sets up a variety of carnival-esque challenges for Smoky Quartz to attempt, including a high-striker.
- In Storm Hawks, when Arygyn is training the Storm Hawks with carnival games, Piper gets the test-your-strength game.
- In the Transformers: Rescue Bots episode Cody's 11, Heatwave goes to a carnival and keeps ringing the bell with one finger, earning lots of stuffed toys for all the happy kids of Griffin Rock - and an exasperated look from the carnival worker.
- Wander and Lord Hater compete in one in Wander over Yonder. Wander hits it hard enough to ring the bell and it hardly moves at all for Hater.