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1975 (USA)  »

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The bowling ball goes.... and only 5 pins are knocked down.
4 September 2016 | by See all my reviews

So, you're a bald guy. And you're bowling. Is it as simple as that?

Simplicity is not a virtue sometimes, and Bowling is.... really simple. You're a bald guy on a screen holding a bowling ball, and on the right side of the screen are blue/black squares that are supposed to be the "pins". You can go up or down to change where you throw, and you click the button to throw the ball. The goal is just like regular bowling. You get two chances to hit all the pins down. And then it's the next round, and you do it again, for about 10 rounds (12 if you strike on the tenth round). If you hit all the pins down in the two chances, you get a spare, which adds depending on your next throw, and your character does a small dance. If you hit all the pins down on the first throw of your two chances, you get a strike, and it adds up based off your next round. The goal is to get 300, the perfect score by always hitting strikes. The variations add a little something, though. The first variation lets you move the ball after throwing, but only once, and it will continue on that path (it's basically a curve). The third variation lets you move the ball all the time after throwing, which should theoretically make it always able to strike, but sometimes the pins can be.... weird (the pins can hit other pins down, and sometimes physics does not obey). Then there's the fifth variation, which is just regular bowling, but you can't move the ball at all after throwing. You'll hate this, I promise. There's also the second, fourth, and sixth variations, which are the same, but with a friend, and I have no social life, so...

The visuals are minimalistic. Atari minimalistic. Bald guy, blue sphere, pale tan background, blue/black squares, and two blue thin borders. No music either, and there's sound, but it isn't much better. There's a growling sound while the bowling ball rolls, and beeps when the ball hits the pins, and the pins hit other pins. There's also a cool color and sound display when you get a spare, or if you're lucky, a strike, which has a longer parade, with dancing included.

As I said, it's really simple. You can get spares easily, and a strike every now and then, with no difficulty. The only difficulty is when physics defies your expectations and that strike escapes you.

It's extremely short, and very monotonous. You'll never want to play the fifth variation, and it's probably better with friends, but it's not something to come back to, unless you're really that bored. Although the third variation may have you coming back. It didn't have me.

Would you like it? Probably not. It's way too simple, but I guess it's playable? Getting too many spares hurt my eyes for a bit, and the graphics are a real turn off. This hasn't aged nearly as well as the rest of the Atari library.

I'll give this game a 5 out of 10.


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