Skee ball

From Academic Kids

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The object is to collect as many points as possible by rolling balls into the holes.

Skee ball (also spelled skeeball or skee-ball) is a common game found in arcades and one of the first redemption games. It is similar to bowling except it is played on an incline lane and the player aims to get the ball to fall into a hole rather than knock down pins.



Gameplay varies depending on the skee ball machine, but is generally similar across almost all variations. The player, after inserting some quarters (on modern machines, usually 50 cents) into the coin slot, is given (on average) nine baseball-sized wooden balls to use. The machine has a long ramp which the player must roll the balls up. At the top of the ramp, there are several holes (usually separated by circular borders) that the player must try to get the balls to go into. Each hole gives the player a certain number of points based on which hole the ball rolls into, the harder to reach holes usually giving the most points. When finished playing, the player is given tickets dispensed by the machine based on how many points were earned. These tickets can be traded in at the arcade for prizes. The more tickets the player earns, the more valuable the prizes they can get.


Mega skee ball is a version of skee ball in which the machine is much larger than the standard size. Skee-daddle or Mini Skee-Ball is a version in which the machine is smaller, thus allowing young children to have an easier time at playing the game.


The game was invented in 1909 by J.D. Estes in the city of Philadelphia. When it was first created, the game had a 36-foot lane. This was much too big for most arcades, and made it so that only people who were quite strong could play it well. As a result it was later changed to 14 feet, but was eventually changed again to the modern length of 10 feet.

Soon after these changes, skee ball became very common in arcades around the United States. Due to the fact that prizes were given to the players, the game was considered a form of gambling in some parts of the country. This led to restrictions on the number of machines allowed in an arcade in some places, and banning of the game in other places. These laws, however, did not last long, and thus skee ball is now found in almost all arcades in the country. It is also a staple of the restaurant/arcade chain Chuck E. Cheese's.

In 1935, the first ever skee ball tournament was held in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

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