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Released: 1979

Genre: Sports

Format reviewed: Atari 2600

Publisher: Atari

Developer: Atari

Submitted by: Nick DeMarco

Bowling may very well be one of the most simple games for the Atari 2600 (and that’s saying something) but it is also one of the more recognizable sports titles for the console as well, and just so happens to hold some fond memories for me. At 32 years of age, I can still fondly and vividly recall this being the very first video game I played at the tender age of 5 years old. I would avidly play this game against my brother and my father, and even though I would get beat quite often, I still enjoyed the game for what it was, a form of entertainment at the time, my first taste of real video game fun.

Bowling has a simple set up, positioning the bowler where you’d want him to stand, the toss of the ball, then, if you were skilled enough, flicking the joystick just a bit to get that exact shot you’d want off. Sure, it wasn’t 100% accurate, but it definitely added an element of skill to a game that was made during a time when most games, especially sports titles, didn’t have much going on in the way of gaming experience. You had those awesome sounds after a spare or a strike, complete with flashing lights, and the game kept your score as went along. Simple, effective, and quite addicting.


Programmers would later create a Cosmic Bowling version of the original, making the bowler and alien, and adding more of that strobe light, glow in the dark feel we all love when we go bowling with friends on a summer night. Both are excellent in their own right. I highly recommend this game for any Atari fan’s personal collection.