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Capcom Bowling is a very fun bowling themed arcade game that was designed by Incredible Technologies in 1988, but eventually licensed to Capcom. It was originally supposed to be titled Beer Frame Bowling, and some gameboards are labeled as such, but they still display the Capcom Bowling title. This game was followed up by Coors Light Bowling in 1989, which was the same game with different graphics. P&P Marketing created the final version of this game, which was an upgrade kit entitled Bowl-O-Rama, which was first available in 1991.

This is an attractive bowling implementation that uses a trackball controller. If you have not yet heard about the game of bowling, then I suggest heading over to the bowling node first, don't worry this one will still be here when you get back. You play from a top-down perspective, using the trackball to position and roll the ball, and using a few buttons to control the "hook" of your throw. This game requires almost no time to figure out, and almost everyone seems to enjoy this title. The right side of the screen is dominated by the alley, while the left side of the screen keeps score, and has a little animation area where cartoonish characters will comment on your bowling abilities.

This is a very common game. I have seen tons of these over the years, and there always seem to be several of them at any given amusement industry auction. They often sell for dirt cheap because they are usually in terrible condition. You see these games actually made money, and they kept making money for a long time. So most Capcom Bowling machines will have a ton of plays on them, and will usually at least need new control panel overlays, and possibly new trackballs. The large supply of beat-down Capcom Bowling cabinets means that they usually sell for dirt cheap ($50-$150 usually). But on the other side of the coin, nice Capcom Bowling machines will often sell for $500 or more. The reason for the huge price variation is two-fold. First off, this game can still make money out on location, so some operators will still buy them if they are in nice shape. Secondly, this is a great family game, so nice examples are often snapped up to take prime spots in people's homes.

The vast majority of these games were conversions. Capcom Bowling kits found their way into just about every kind of arcade cabinet around. I have played many different ones, and I have found that the best ones are conversions of the Galaga/Galaxian/Pac-Man series cabinets, or the Taito Classic cabinet (Elevator Action, Zoo Keeper, et cetera). This is because of the design of the cabinet itself. Most cabinets don't really give you enough room to really roll the ball very hard, because you just end up smashing your hand into the monitor bezel if you try. But the design of the above mentioned cabinets allowed you to roll as hard as you wanted without bashing your hand into anything.

There was also a conversion kit sold for cocktails as well. I suggest trying them out before buying, as some cocktail cabinet designs worked well for Capcom Bowling, while others did not.

There was a small run of these games in upright dedicated cabinets. The cabinet was made out of birch, and featured painted sideart, and a ticket dispenser door. There are not a lot of those around, so don't count on finding one.

This is a great title to pick up for home use. Most people seem to enjoy it, and it is usually fairly easy to find. I suggest buying one of the cheaper "beat-down" ones, and then spending a weekend sanding and repainting it. If you do a good job on the clean up, then you will surely have a game with a high resale value, in case you ever decide to sell it.

On a personal note, the first arcade game I ever owned was a Pac-Man that had been converted to Capcom Bowling. It had a bad monitor, and a bad trackball, but the circuit board worked. Somehow I ended up losing the JAMMA board for the game. I simply have no idea what happened to it.

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