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January 2014 Retro Gaming Article

January 16, 2014 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

In 2006 Bowling got an injection of retro flare from Cosmodog w/ hints of Predicta style

Being horrible at logistics, I tend to be early for the non-essentials and late for the important stuff. A quest to see Walking With Dinosaurs led my son & I to our local theater with an hour to kill. One can never be too early for this particular theater, since they have a small arcade with a Galaga & Pac-Man combo cab.

Arcade Bowling game They frequently rotate cabinets (Galaga is permanent) so, there's always a good chance of finding something new to drop quarters (and dolar bills) into.

This particular day I stopped in my tracks and gazed at an awesomely funky looking game. It had a very open design and a large metal casing around a trackball with bowling-inspired artwork leading to a display that had hints of the old Predicta TVs of the 50s. Speakers were set into retro-diner style setup beneath the display. It oozed wow-factor!

Alas, it was "Out Of Order" so I couldn't get any indication of the visuals. I was able to discern that this was a fairly modern game with a lot of retro styling to give it an older look. I really liked the design, but was disappointed that it wasn't an older machine.

I didn't see the manufacturer label and upon poking around the web, I could only find reference to is as The Arcade Bowling Game. The next disappointment was discovering Hammacher Schlemmer sold it for $7,000. It looks slick, but it was released in 2006 (licensed to Namco by manufacturer, CosmoDog Ltd.). Not old enough for this retro critic. :)

The Arcade Bowling Game Front view of The Arcade Bowling Game showing the tabletop with cup holders.
The Arcade Bowling Game Side view of The Arcade Bowling Game letting you see the unique shape, the monitor mount and the neighboring Galaga/Pac-Man combo cabinet.

The game provides 6 different game challenges for up to 4 players and has a trackball that allows players to bowl down the virtual lane shown on the video screen. This device tries to add some technical sophistication to video bowling by offering 21 different ball styles with 8 to 16 lb. ball weights. The games include half-game regulation 10-pin, full-game regulation 10-pin, three game series regulation 10-pin, 10-pin poker which earns cards for each strike or spare and the best resulting hand wins, trick shot, and blackjack which challenges players to knock down 21 pins out of three racks without going over.

The game contains precise physics models to more accurately reflect actual bowling, including ball spin and direction. The built-in jukebox plays 30 different songs from (and inspired by) the 1950s.

The Arcade Bowling Game instructions The Arcade Bowling Game instructions.
The Arcade Bowling Game track ball The Arcade Bowling Game track ball.

The Arcade Bowling Game selection buttons The Arcade Bowling Game selection buttons.
The Arcade Bowling Game coin/bill slots The Arcade Bowling Game coin/bill slots.

The Arcade Bowling Game is a beautiful creation with great retro style. As an arcade kid from the 80s, I was disappointed it wasn't an older machine and Hammacher Schlemmer has always rubbed me the wrong way for some reason. But it looks great and seems to have a lot of interesting features making it more than just a coin-drop bowling game. Well done, Cosmodog!

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