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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

Player of Games, #30: Strolling Bowling

Novelty or challenge? Why not both?

Sometimes, the simplest things can bring us joy. It's the attraction of darts, say, or blackjack, or Jim Carrey. As a college literature professor once told me, there are fart jokes in Shakespeare. It's great to immerse in complex mind-bending enterprises, and it's also okay to watch America's Funniest Home Videos. We humans are creatures capable of finding value in entertainments both sublime and ridiculous.

So, I give you Strolling Bowling.

Is it a game? Or just a novelty toy? I'm not sure, but I know that I spent enough time with this particular item that I mastered its intricacies in the early 1980s. I became intimately familiar with the Goldilocks sweet spot of the winding mechanism - too much and the spry little ball would veer off the deck, too little and it might not reach the pins with sufficient force. I perfected the angle of approach and developed the deftness of touch on release. See, I think this is what some people, serious people with serious things to do, fail to understand about the mentality of the player of games. Given time and interest, we can unlock the secrets of any seemingly ephemeral exercise, no matter how banal.

We can turn Strolling Bowling into a skill. All while enjoying how silly it is. Games are awesome.

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