I won't make any excuses, and I won't beat around the bush: I'm addicted to Skee-Ball [iTunes link], at least to the very-entertaining iPhone version from Freeverse. In fact, the reason I haven't written about it until now is that every time I get ready, I decide a little more "research" is in order, and I find myself on another Skee-bender. It's getting ridiculous, annoying my friends and upsetting my home life. I'd like to say, "I can stop whenever I want to," but I keep coming back to the warm glow of the LED scoreboard and the comforting sounds of wooden balls racking up just for me.
What makes Skee-Ball so entertaining for me is the realism of the gameplay. It sends me right back to my childhood; carnivals, arcades and Chuck E. Cheese's. The physics of the game are bafflingly realistic, with each roll responding to every nuance of the stroke or swing that launches it. Velocity, top and side-spin, friction... even the effects of bouncing off of the sides of the ramp or the edges of the cups feels natural. The prizes you can purchase with the tickets are reminiscent of the "big scores" of my youth: vampire fangs, bubble gum, fake moustaches, and glitter pencils. There's the occasional oddball prize, too (a banana, a robotic dog, a duck), presumably to remind you that it is, after all, just a game.