This week’s game is that carnival favorite Skee Ball.

The original variant of Skee Ball that didn't have the 100 point cups up to the sides.

The game is pretty simple.  You get a number of wooden balls which you roll up the ramp in an attempt to jump them into the rings.  The harder the ring, the more points you get for successfully sinking the ball.  After you use all your balls (typically 9, but I’ve seen anything from 5 to 14 used), you are given a score based on the total points.  These points are used to determine if you’re eligible for a prize.  That’s pretty much it.

Skee Ball has been a carnival and redemption game for years.  Skee ball was created by J. Dickenson Este in 1909 and was first installed as a carnival game in 1914.  Since then it’s seen numerous variations.  More recently, it was a featured redemption game in just about any arcade you went to.  Redemption tickets would be rewarded based on the number of points you racked up during a round, and these tickets could be traded for cheesy prizes within the arcade.  These days, with most arcades having failed in the face of more accessable home-based video games, Skee Ball has moved back to being primarily a carnival game.  Indeed, rare is the carnival you can go to these days that does not have at least one skee ball tent.

I loved playing skee ball at the fair as a kid.  For 25 cents you got 9 balls to roll, and heck, you might win a prize!  For $2 you could get about a half-hour’s worth of entertainment and win a few kleeky prizes to bring home.  These days I’d imagine that the skee ball lanes are more expensive, and the prizes cheaper, but the fun is probably still there.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

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