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Elf Bowling

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Elf Bowling
Elf-Bowling-1-&-2.jpg
Elf elf, baby!
Protagonist(s): Santa Claus
Genre(s): Sports
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows
Mobile
Game Boy Advance
Nintendo DS
Engine: Adobe Flash (1999-2005)
Developer(s):
NStorm
Cybiko
Black Lantern Studios
Hot Lava Games
Publisher(s):
NStorm
Ignition Entertainment
MumboJumbo
Made in: United States
First game: Elf Bowling
First release: November 12, 1999
Latest game: Elf Bowling: Hawaiian Vacation
Latest release: July 9, 2008


"Have you ever gone bowling? I bet you have. Now let me ask another question. Do you like Christmas? Of course, you do. Then a combination of these two things would be great, wouldn't it? I wish I was fucking right."
DX

Elf Bowling is a Christmas-themed video game franchise created by NStorm. All games, except for the console versions of the first two games and Super Elf Bowling Collection, were released as shareware. Most of the games were created on Macromedia Flash.

The Elf Bowling series, as the title suggests, is based on the throwing sport which is bowling with a Christmas theme, where instead of bowling pins, ten elves are arranged in a triangle.

List of video games

Game Year Developer Publisher Platforms
Elf Bowling 1999 NStorm, Cybiko (mobile), Black Lantern Studios (handheld) NStorm, Ignition Entertainment (handheld) Microsoft Windows, mobile, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS
Elf Bowling 2: Elves in Paradise 2000 NStorm, Black Lantern Studios (handheld) Microsoft Windows, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS
Elf Bowling 3 2002 NStorm NStorm Microsoft Windows
Super Elf Bowling 2003
Elf Bowling: Bocce Style 2004
Elf Bowling 6: Air Biscuits 2005
Elf Bowling 7 1/7: The Last Insult 2007 NStorm, Hot Lava Games MumboJumbo
Elf Bowling: Hawaiian Vacation 2008

Collections

Super Elf Bowling Collection

Super Elf Bowling Collection is a compilation of five games released in 2005, developed by NStorm and published by MumboJumbo for Microsoft Windows. It is behind Elf Bowling 1 & 2, one of few instalments released in a physical version. Additionally, it was released only in North America. The collection includes Elf Bowling, Elf Bowling 2: Elves in Paradise, Elf Bowling 3, Super Elf Bowling, and Elf Bowling: Bocce Style.

Elf Bowling 1 & 2

Elf Bowling 1 & 2 is a 2005 compilation of the first two sports games which is including Elf Bowling and Elf Bowling 2: Elves in Paradise. Black Lantern Studios is responsible for the collection and Ignition Entertainment is responsible for the publishing process. It is the first game released for consoles, including the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS. Similar to Super Elf Bowling Collection, it was released only in North America.

Cancelled Elf Bowling collection

Elf Bowling: Collector's Edition was going to be a collection of five Elf Bowling games[1] for the Nintendo DS, developed and published by Detn8 Games, but was cancelled prior to release.[2] Despite the cancellation, the game already had its cover ready, and it was rated E10 by the ESRB.

Gameplay

Overall

The games follow the same basic rules as bowling, where you play as Santa Claus and the elves act as the pins. Your task is to hit the pins. In later games, you have the opportunity to face your opponent in bowling. In the first Elf Bowling game, instead of the force of throwing the bowling ball, arrows appear, where the displayed yellow arrow (which appears one after the other), which is responsible for throwing the bowling ball, after pressing the shot button, the displayed triangle cools down in place after throwing the bowling ball.

Elf Bowling 2: Elves in Paradise

The player grabs the thong bathing suit that the elf is wearing, then snaps it to propel the elf forward. There are 100, 200, and 300 point scoring zones, and a player can score 400 points if their elf slides all the way to the edge of the board without falling into the ocean.

Elf Bowling 3

The task is that to shoot with the elf with a slingshot, where you have to shoot at targets located on the snow-covered ground, and shooting penguins flying with balloons.

Elf Bowling: Bocce Style

In Elf Bowling: Bocce Style, you play a European game called bocce. In the case of the fifth instalment, you have to kick the elf on the selected field as far as possible in the fenced ground you are playing on.

Elf Bowling 6: Air Biscuits

In this game, Santa has broken his bowling ball so he will throw elves. The gameplay is to throw the aforementioned elf (which replaces the bowling ball) as far as possible.

Why They're A Gutter Ball

Overall

  1. The gameplay is excruciatingly boring with painfully simple rules, and in the worst case, almost non-existent, just like in poorly done 1990s-2000s Flash games. The most notable is Elf Bowling 6: Air Biscuits. It doesn't help yet that they aren't free as mentioned in WTAGB#3.
  2. False advertising: The four games in the series (including Elf Bowling 2: Elves in Paradise, Elf Bowling 3, Elf Bowling: Bocce Style, and Elf Bowling 6: Air Biscuits), while the names suggest they are bowling, are actually completely different games with other rules.
  3. None of these games are free, even though they literally look like Flash games. While there is the trial version that allows you to play for free for a limited time (only one hour), there is absolutely no point to buy the full version for $20 because it offers nothing, except unlimited gameplay time.
  4. Humour, even for the times between the late 1990s and early 2000s, is not funny at all.
    • Humour is based solely on toilet jokes that are more disgusting than funny.
    • There are jokes that are intended to offend Santa Claus, for example in the first game, one of the elves carries a sign saying "SANTA SUX!", which means "Santa sucks".
  5. Horrible graphics and animations which are the most notable in early 3D Elf Bowling games, Elf Bowling 6: Air Biscuits, and the handheld collection of both games.
    • Super Elf Bowling is most noticeable due to its horrendously low-quality textures, which certainly bring to mind early Atari Jaguar or Nintendo 64 games. The character models are hideous and the animations almost don't exist.
    • While the graphical presentation in Elf Bowling 3 is surprisingly fine, it's inexcusable that the flying penguin sprites are embarrassing, especially since it's a 2002 game, and the disgustingly stiff elf's fall animations.
    • The collection for Nintendo's handhelds entitled Elf Bowling 1 & 2: Although in both first games for Microsoft Windows they were dominated by graphic simplicity and typical amateurishness, the console versions look much worse, especially the elves' sprites in the second game cause strong gag reflexes, and the animations have been painfully downgraded.
    • Elf Bowling 6: Air Biscuits is by far the ugliest game of this questionable franchise. The game returns to the concept of 2D gameplay after a few previous games, but there is an overall chaotic muff between hideous 3D models and poor 2D graphics, which was not impressive in 2005.
  6. Overall cheesy sound effects, and at worst, unbearable and ear-bleeding, especially the elves' voice. Also, some games tend to abuse similar sound effects.
    • For example, in Elf Bowling 1 & 2, the silent main menu is accompanied by annoying elves' that are screaming "Elf elf, baby!" every few seconds and a fart sound effect when selecting one of the two games.
    • In Super Elf Bowling and Elf Bowling: Bocce Style, sound effects reminiscent of old Hanna-Barbera cartoons, are overused and repeated in a given activity.
  7. Generally bad soundtrack. The music has nothing to do with the Christmas atmosphere, but closer to a badly made cartoon from the 1990s. It sounds cheesy, so repetitive that it's almost unbearable to the ears. In some games, it sounds like you can feel a typical composition in a MIDI file. Worst of all, there is no soundtrack in some games, which is noticeable in the first two games, not counting the short jingle from Elf Bowling 2 at the start of the round, while the third game only offers music from the main menu.

Elf Bowling (1999)

  1. There is almost no gameplay to speak of. All you have to do is press a button at the right time to throw the ball and watch what happens. After you figure out the right timing, it becomes very easy to strike every single time, since you have no influence on the ball's side momentum and the direction of the throw.
  2. In the first game, when the ball goes in the gutters (which is almost impossible to happen unless you do it intentionally) the elves mock you.
  3. The elves fall in one dimension, making it impossible to strike a few that are standing in two different corners, at least if you don't aim for the center.

Elf Bowling 2: Elves in Paradise

  1. The second game is frustrating and tedious to play. The mechanics aren't explained at all, you can't tell your strength, and you can't even see your score until the game is over and the winner is announced.
  2. The Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance versions suffer from broken collision detection. It is very common for you to penetrate through previously thrown elves while throwing a current elf.

Elf Bowling 1 and 2

  1. Despite both games looking like they were aimed at children, they contain crude and inappropriate content. In the first game, the elves bleed a lot, and, in one case, the machine releasing the elves/pins malfunctions, snapping away the elf's head in a very graphic manner. The second game, on the other hand, features partial nudity and the main mechanic of the game revolves around using the elves' bathing suit as the shuffleboard.
  2. The plot of both games is the icing on the cake: apparently, the elves are protesting for better work conditions, and Santa is retaliating by using them as bowling pins. The second game's plot is instead similar to that of the feature film.
  3. The handheld compilation features one of the worst main menus in history of gaming, alongside with Dr. Dolittle and World War III: The Fight Against Terrorism. It does not have any useful options, for example related to the sound or save settings, only the choice of two games, where in this whole menu you will not hear any music, only an extremely annoying sound of elves shouting "Elf, elf, baby". The only way to silence this chunk of abomination is by setting up the console sound.
  4. And to finish off about this collection, it was illegally ported to the Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance, since NStorm hadn't given the permission to Ignition Entertainment to publish the game for those systems. It did not help that it also costed $20 which is too much for a compilation of two casual games, and of course, the game sold extremely poorly on both consoles because of those issues and was pulled from stores only a week after its release.

Elf Bowling 2 and Bocce Style

  1. Completely unfair opponent, both in the second and fifth games.
    • Dingle throws the elf harder than you, no matter how weak or hard you throw. Additionally, the opponent has always held all the multiple points and other bonuses that facilitate the game.
    • In Elf Bowling: Bocce Style, the opponent at the beginning of the game kicks a penguin that can quickly slide on the ice, according to their nature. Similar to Elf Bowling 2, the opponent kicks the elf harder than you do, regardless of whether you are kicking weak or strong.

Super Elf Bowling

  1. The controls are incredibly bad, being absolutely the worst of the series. It has three types of bowling ball throwing: One is the one that was seen in the first Elf Bowling (called Classic), throwing with the mouse (Super Elf Bowl), and Slingshot. In principle, this may be banal in the case of Super Elf Bowl, it turns out to be torture, because in contrast to the old method which determined which way to throw, in this case, regardless of a weak or strong throw, the ball will mostly go crooked, rarely in the center, even if you aim at where you want to target Additionally, it is not possible to manipulate the ball after throwing.
  2. The game is devoid of realism. Technically it's a remake of Elf Bowling, it rather feels downgraded. After the elves have been captured, after taking any unthroned by ball elves and clearing the field, at this moment nothing appears, and ten elves appear after a few seconds before the next round starts. Regardless of the round, this situation will always arise.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Since Elf Bowling 7 1/7: The Last Insult, NStorm stopped making games on Adobe Flash, which has resulted in better quality and presentation, even though both last games are still below average, though better than every previous Elf Bowling game.
  2. Elf Bowling 3 is the only game that looks good graphically, despite the hopeless animations and penguins' sprites.
  3. Purchasing the full version of Super Elf Bowling is more profitable than in any game because in the trial version you only can play bowling as Santa Claus on one level, the candy factory lane, and get the best results. The full version will unlock more levels, more characters to choose from, and even modes with different types of throwing a bowling ball.
  4. Although the rest of the Elf Bowling games require payment for the full version, the first Elf Bowling game is completely free.

Reception

Elf Bowling

The game received positive reviews when it came out. GameHippo gave a 9/10.[3]

Retrospectively, The Game Hoard negatively reviewed the game, giving it the BAD rating, considering "It's not awful to play, but it's so shallow that it wears outs it welcome before you have really spent too long playing it."[4]

Elf Bowling 2: Elves in Paradise

The reception of the Elf Bowling 2 was a bit weaker than its predecessor. GameHippo gave the same rating, as for the first game.[5]

Just like its predecessor, the reception was significantly worse than at the time of release. The Polish website VictoryGames gave 1/5 stars, saying that it gets boring quickly, is short, and the price is inadequate to the quality.[6]

Elf Bowling 3

Elf Bowling 3 received mixed reviews at launch. GameHippo gave for Elf Bowling 3 a 6/10.[7]

VictoryGames gave the same rating as for its predecessor, criticizing the same thing the previous game suffered. In this case, they praised the game graphics.[8]

Elf Bowling 1 & 2

Elf Bowling 1 & 2 received overwhelmingly negative reviews by critics, scoring a 12/100 score on Metacritic, making it the fourth lowest-rated game in history of the review aggregating website Metacritic.[9]

Modojo gave a rating of 1/5, summarizing "Dropping $20 on the DS or Game Boy cartridge would be a complete waste on your part, as you find yourself hosed by a game promising holiday cheer and instead of visiting the reindeer stalls and giving you the content."[10]

PAL Gaming Network gave for the first time the lowest rating in their rating system, giving Elf Bowling 1 & 2 a 0.5/10, saying "Elf Bowling 1 & 2 is, without a doubt, the single worst video game released since PALGN began operating. Congratulations to Ignition for being the first to receive our lowest possible mark."[11]

Elf Bowling 7 1/7: The Last Insult and Hawaiian Vacation

GameZebo gave for Elf Bowling 7 1/7: The Last Insult a 5/10, summarising "Outstanding? No way, Jose. Liable to burn brain cells: Heck, yes. Even so, let's be honest... Much as you'll be ashamed to admit digging it in public, Elf Bowling 7 1/7 proves a guilty pleasure the whole family can enjoy - at least for a while."[12] Hawaiian Vacation received a 4/10 from the same website, saying "Beginners will undoubtedly get a kick out of the same elements that the rest of us previously found so fresh and amusing before experiencing them 500 times over. Nonetheless, like last Christmas (seriously, as of press time it’s mid-summer... who's thinking of Santa hats instead of Bermuda shorts?) we'll be happiest when the whole experience is just a fading memory."[13]

Film adaptation

In 2007, an animated film was released in theaters based on the Elf Bowling game series, titled Elf Bowling the Movie: The Great North Pole Elf Strike. It was extremely panned by critics and audiences alike, due to its inappropriate-for-a-children's-movie humor and nonsensical plot. Due to this negative reception, it earned a score of 1.8/10 on IMDb, 24% on Rotten Tomatoes, and 1.5/10 on Filmweb.[14][15][16]

Trivia

  • Elf Bowling 3 and Super Elf Bowling were made for promoting TechTV.
  • The game ranks as one of the lowest rated games on both GameSpot and Metacritic, receiving only 1.4 out of 10 at GameSpot and and 12 out of 100 at Metacritic.
  • Elf Bowling 1 & 2 is the only game that wasn't developed by NStorm.
    • Speaking about the handheld collection, it was released without the permission of the copyright and trademark owner Matthew Lichtenwalter, the CEO of NStorm, the subsidiary of Commotion Interactive.


Videos

Elf Bowling

Elf Bowling 2: Elves in Paradise

Elf Bowling 3

Super Elf Bowling

Elf Bowling: Bocce Style

Super Elf Bowling Collection

Elf Bowling 1 & 2

Elf Bowling 7 1/7: The Last Insult

Elf Bowling: Hawaiian Vacation

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