Shaggy's Weekly Review – Rockin' Bowl-a-Rama by Namco

Shaggy November 21, 2007 1

I had a chance to play a bowling arcade game this past week and I figured it would be nice to check it out. Since bowling games have had a surge in popularity as of late, it’s only appropriate to see what the arcade side of the genre has to offer.  Unfortunately I cannot find any direct screenshots of the game, so next time I come across this game, I will take some pictures. Here’s Rockin’ Bowl-a-rama!



Rockin’ Bowl-A-Rama by Namco

Players: 1-4

Released: 2006

The Game

Rockin’ Bowl-A-Rama provides a fun experience for any player who seeks virtual bowling entertainment. There are four game types to choose from: Regulation, Trick Shot, Blackjack Bowling and Ten-Pin Poker. The different types create appeal for any type of bowler, whether they are seeking a standard game (Regulation), something a little more interesting (Blackjack and Ten-Pin) or for a real challenge (Trick Shot). Each one of the game types can be played by 1-4 players. Blackjack and Ten-Pin turn bowling into a hybrid-poker tournament, for example in Blackjack, the pin count becomes the players blackjack card where you get three sets of ten pins and you need to try and take out 21 pins without busting. It’s not only a challenge but a lot of fun at the same time.

When you begin any game, you can select a skin for your ball and surprisingly, there are quite a few to choose from – the most popular of all being the Pac-Man bowling ball.

As with most arcade bowlers, the ball is controlled by a trackball and by spinning the ball in a certain manner one has great control over what the ball does, from the speed, rotation and angle that ball can take. The physics of the game are quite accurate and by spinning the trackball the right way you can pull off some nice shots. The lane is even oiled so the player can pull off hooked shots if they wish. Hooking a shot is easy, you just line up the ball in the position you wish then pull back on the trackball (some stars will appear then launch it. In addition to the trackball there are four buttons that can bring up additional options – Start/Select, Instant Replay (for a slow-mo replay of your last shot), Score card and Jukebox.

Bowling games themselves don’t offer a lot of content that will dazzle the eyes but Rockin’ pulls off what the games needs almost flawlessly. The only flaw I could discover is the lack of anti-aliasing which causes jagged edges around the balls, but otherwise the textures look great.


True to it’s form, Rockin’ offers a selection of period music in the jukebox that pulls from it’s 50’s themed design. Between that and the sounds of pins clattering with bowling balls, the player gets the feeling that they are in a classic 50’s bowling parlor.


If there is anything about Rockin’ Bowl-A-Rama that makes it stand out, it’s the cabinet. Designed specifically to attract retro bowling fans, the unique shape and design of thenamco_rockin_bowl-a-rama.jpg cabinet features a large control panel that is aesthetically pleasing as well as user-friendly. Two cup-holders are built into the cabinet (it would be nice if this was a more common feature with cabinets although some operators may not agree) and it is topped off with a 17″ monitor.


Rockin’ Bowl-a-Rama is a fun bowling title that offers more than a standard bowling game though it’s unique game modes, it’s pleasing cabinet design and a soundtrack that oozes nostalgia for the older crowd. It also is not a sequel of one of Namco’s other IPs that they love to pound to death so that is a bonus in itself. To finish it off, the game is relatively cheap for operators, almost breaking the $5000 point, making one of the more affordable Namco games on the market right now.

Adam Pratt.

One Comment »

  1. Steve June 9, 2009 at 4:48 pm - Reply

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