The best – and only – bowling game for your NES!
PLAYERS: 1-4 alternating
RELEASE DATE: December 1989
Thank God Championship Bowling is on my reviewing plate today. Romstar published this game, which surprised me. Remember them? They tried to take the reins away from SNK for Baseball Stars 2 on the NES, a rare sequel that actually took away good features from the first game, instead of adding to them. FOR SHAME, ROMSTAR! They deserve props for Champ Bowling, though: this is probably the best (only?) bowling game on the NES. Up to four players (yes, dust off your NES multitap because I know you bought one for California Games!) can bowl, bowl, bowl the night away in a dingy, mid-70s inspired bowling alley, filled with smoke the way God intended. There are two decent looking characters, Happy to Be Alive White Guy and Happy to Be Alive Black Guy. Quickly pick one of them before your friends do, so you’re not left with the creepy Beefcake or the Flip You Off White Girl.
The physics are key to the success of any bowling game. Thankfully, bowling is not too difficult of a sport/entertainment/whatever-it-wants-to-be to reproduce well. In the case of Championship Bowling, you position your character in relation to the lane, set up your control meter which controls the ball’s direction, then wait for your power meter to ramp up to full before letting the ball fly into pins. Before you begin your game, you can pick the weight of your ball. I always went with an eleven pounder, but I’m not really sure the weight matters.
So yes, Championship Bowling probably is the best bowling game on the NES, but who cares? Wii Bowling has since proven itself as the one and only bowling game anyone will ever need for the rest of time, and that includes a legion of retirees at nursing homes ’round the world. If you’re feeling nostalgic and you want to honor the memory of Championship Bowling‘s former reign as the King of Bowling Games, take out a bottle of bub, pour some out on the curb (or if you like, atop an actual Championship Bowling cartridge), take a swig yourself, then go give 50 Cent a hug. Romstar would appreciate it.