Mark Plays ‘Elf Bowling’

Hello, friends! Read this all the way to the end, as it will have info on what posts you can expect in the near future on this site. HUZZAH. Anyway, the lovely April commissioned this game from me, inspired by my Frog Fractions post. (Which, I should remind you, will not give you a complete review experience unless you read the comments.) She wanted me to play a classic, and that means of course I hadn’t played it. At this point, aside from the three games I always mention in half my reviews, I’m pretty sure this site would take the longest to get through my list of suggestions. There are so many video games out there!

All right, I’m getting off track. After a bit of trouble with some emulators and ROMs, I was able to get a copy of this game that worked beautifully, and thus my first experience with a round of Elf Bowling was born.


I am happy to report I scored a 168, which is 8 points higher than a beautiful game I bowled in December. (You shush about those gutterballs, I GOT A LOT OF STRIKES, TOO.) Coming off of Frog Fractions, this game was deliciously simple and silly. And it got me thinking about how much gaming has changed over the years. Like, for real, sit me down with Duck Hunt and a bowl of popcorn, and I could be occupied for HOURS when I was a kid. Now all I want to play are super complex RPGs! Oh god, what have we become.

The game jogged my memory, though, because despite knowing I’d never played it, I could swear I’d seen something recently about it. That’s when I remembered early this morning that someone on my Tumblr dashboard posted the Elf Bowling trailerTrailer. They wanted to make a movie out of this game, and I’m warning you: this trailer is bad. Horrible. Terrible.


Anyway, I have time this weekend that I’ll be devoted to play The Walking Dead, so I should have no problem getting a post or two up about my progress. On top of that, I have commission coming through for a game called RE: Allistair that I’ll be completing this week, too, so there’ll be a post for that. YAY!

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22 Responses to Mark Plays ‘Elf Bowling’

  1. affableevil says:

    Aw man I used to play this all the time! Nostalgia bomb!

    omg I've got to watch that trailer HOW COULD YOU MAKE A MOVIE OUT OF ELF BOWLING??

  2. Passing by says:

    Well, I've never heard of this game before… I guess I missed out.

    " And it got me thinking about how much gaming has changed over the years. Like, for real, sit me down with Duck Hunt and a bowl of popcorn, and I could be occupied for HOURS when I was a kid. Now all I want to play are super complex RPGs! Oh god, what have we become."

    As any medium of art/entertainment, games have evolved over time, and though much has been gained, a lot has also been lost.

  3. Ninjababe says:

    I'm so glad you enjoyed the game, Mark. It's been a favorite among my friends for years.

    As Mark said, it is available on an emulator (Gameboy Advance and Nintendo DS actually). The game started out as a free Christmas gift to the fans of NStorm in 1998. It was a flash, webpage imbedded game. They made at least 6 Elf Bowling games for the pc, plus one called 'bocce style' since then. The Gameboy and DS version didn't go over well with audiences. After all, I don't see myself paying $15 or so for that game.

    Gah! This post is turning into the history of elf Bowling! :)

    I've never got the beheading on the first round. Just so you know, the elves will do interesting, ramdom things during the game (you saw the 'Santa Sux' sign) if you ever have the urge to replay. :) Yvxr fvat 'rys rys onol', fzbxr, zbba gur cynlre, punag 'yrff gblf, uvture jntrf', punag 'thggre onyy!', jnir qvssrerag fvtaf… And, there is a way to hit the animals. I just can't remember how.

    I was working in hotel reservations when this game came out, and I showed it to my supervisor. Many days after, we'd here little tinny screams coming from her cubicle. She thought it was great stress relief. I still remember her shouts of glee when she was able to hit the reindeer, and that was 14 years ago. Oh my… It didn't really hit me until just then how long I've been playing that game.

    I still pass the original around to friends at Christmas time because it's just so much fun.

    As for an Elf Bowling movie? Gah! o.0

  4. Passing by says:

    Totally unrelated to Elf Bowling, but a suggestion as to one of the games in the confirmed list.

    I once said in the suggestion thread it might be wise to think over what edition of D&D you'd be playing, as the rules and mechanics vary wildely between different editions. I think it might be better to wait for the release of 5th edition. It is currently undergoing (sorta public) playtests. For the moment, there's an NDA on the materials, so I cannot give too many details. Evenso, things are looking positive, though there's a lot more work to do before it's ready.

  5. Ninjababe says:

    As to the evolution of games… I was complaining this weekend to friends as I started a game (zr bar) on the pc that came out a few years ago. There are at least 26 keys to remember! Plus, the mouse!

    Granted, it only took me a few hours to memorize them, and there are tutorials. But, it's still a lot of keys… And, it was only through trial and error I even figured out how to transition from one mode to another… (I think a few hours to memorize keymapping is a good thing!)

    I sometimes miss the days when all I needed was my SNES controller.

    • Passing by says:

      At first your ROT13 confused me, because all I found on ZR bar was some musician. Then I realised it was a contraction. Silly me. Anyway, unless I am completely wrong about the meaning of this contraction, I didn't find Znff Rssrpg that hard to learn: the basic controls are pretty much standard PC shooter afair. Though, if you've never played a shooter, I can see that it would be quite daunting.

      Of course, there's fdhnq pbzznaqf and the possibility for hot keys for pbzong, grpu and ovbgvp novyvgvrf complicating matters a bit. I myself completely ignored fdhnq pbzznaqf, since the enemy AI was too dodgey to warrant proper tactics.

      • Ninjababe says:

        Yeah, I was being probably a bit too vague (Even though, ZR bar would be a great band name. I may have to use that). I did know the most keys before hand, even thought I don't play many shooters. I play with a gaming keypad, which is 24 keys under one hand, plus a thumb joystick. Using that and the mouse is easier on my wrists. When I get it memorized, it's great. Before that, I get upset, and reach over for the keyboard. V'z 13 ubhef va, naq V'ir lrg gb hfr nal grpu be ovbgvpf rkprcg fuvryqf, svefg nvq, naq havgl. V whfg unir zl vasvygengbe naq gjb fbyqvref fubbg favcre evsyrf. V nqber gur favcre evsyr, naq ungr, ungr, qrfcvfr, gur znxb.

        • Passing by says:

          Zl Furcneq vf na Vasvygengbe nf jryy. V nz pheeragyl va n arj tnzr cyhf. Nccneragyl, lbh trg gb xrrc nyy gur trne naq yriryf sebz gur svefg cynlguebhtu. V nz dhvgr yvgrenyyl qrfgeblvat rirelguvat gur tnzr vf guebjvat ng zr ng guvf cbvag. Rkprcg Xebtnaf.

          Speaking of games that are hard to learn/master, the most difficult game I played, control-wise, would be TIE-Fighter. It is a space flight simulator from the late 80's, in which the player starts as a lowly TIE pilot, flying in one of the, no, THE most expendable space craft in the entire Star Wars canon. The amount of stuff you need to manage in your ship is quite daunting: turbolaser recharge rate, shield recharge rate for higher end crafts, all of which draw their power from the engines, meaning you'll be slowed to a crawl if you set everything to maximum. (This is Star Wars, space has friction here, apparently). It can be quite complex, but it's also very rewarding when mastered, since you're given complete control over your crafts performance.
          [youtube puvD_FDS_jE youtube]

          • Ninjababe says:

            Bbb! V cynl tnzrf sbe gur fgbelyvar, fb V nqber arj tnzr cyhf. Vg znxrf nyy gur ercynlf rnfvre.

            My father is huge fan of 'cockpit' games. If the player is in a cockpit, flying something, he wants to play it. And, being a Star Wars fan, he grabbed that game when it came out. And, then, gave up because of the complexity of it. Only to watch my brother as he proceeded to spend hours playing it.

            I had fun with it, but would die within a few missions.

          • Passing by says:

            I mostly had problems because my flightstick was very low-end, which made shooting things rather hard, because I could not make precise enough movements.

            I mostly play games for a combination of story and gameplay; I can usually forgive slight faults in narrative or gameplay, if the other is good enough to compensate. Even better would be a game where narrative and mechanics blend together, or reinforce one another. ICO is a nice example of that, I think.

  6. alpacabot says:

    Note to self: don't drink while watching Mark's videos. I nearly spat coffee all over my screen several times!

    I've never played this, but it's nice to be reminded of those really simple games that can still be so entertaining. I still steal my Mum's old phone sometimes to play the bowling game on that (I WAS SO GOOD AT THAT GAME.)

  7. Plactus says:

    And it got me thinking about how much gaming has changed over the years. Like, for real, sit me down with Duck Hunt and a bowl of popcorn, and I could be occupied for HOURS when I was a kid. Now all I want to play are super complex RPGs! Oh god, what have we become.

    (Mass Effect 2 spoilers. Minor, but still.) "V jvfu gurl fgvyy znqr ebyrcynlvat tnzrf yvxr gurl hfrq gb. Gurfr qnlf vg'f nyy ovt pubvprf naq ivfpreny pbzong."

  8. david says:

    Holy SHIT this takes me back

  9. Kiryn says:

    Oh man, this game was a favorite in my house for YEARS. Mark, you need to replay this game, and pause and wait and watch the elves, for they will do other things. When they said, "Hey, Santa", they were about to do something to you. Zbba lbh, zbfg yvxryl.

    Zl fvfgre hfrq gb yvir sbe ehaavat bire naq fdhnfuvat gur enoovg naq gur sebt, naq gura fur tbg ernyyl tbbq ng fraqvat gur objyvat onyy sylvat gb xvyy gur ervaqrre. V fbzrgvzrf tbg gur enoovg, naq gur sebt zber bsgra, ohg V pbhyq arire uvg gur ervaqrre yvxr fur pbhyq.

    …Wow, this game really is super violent, isn't it? That never quite registered until Mark pointed it out. XD

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