“An Internet Christmas Story.”
Christmas-themed video games suck. I should honestly just induct every one of them ever made to the Bad Game Hall of Fame all at once, and save myself the chore of having to write about any of them individually. But I reckon that’s not really in the spirit of the site here, is it? No, it feels like my duty is to take on the worst of them one-by-one on an annual basis, until such time as the abolition of all December holidays or the heat death of the universe. Well, as long as we’re in it for the long haul here, I may as well get what is largely considered to be “the worst of the worst” out of the way nice and early.
Elf Bowling 1&2 was launched concurrently on Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance and DS on December 1st, 2005, to what can only be described as a overwhelmingly negative critical response. I may as well mention right upfront that they are almost identically the same game, with only minimal differences in terms of presentation between them. I should also mention that these retail products serve as conversions of a pair of freeware PC games, which were nearly six years long in the tooth prior to their consolization treatment. Oh, and to top it all off; the current owner to the Elf Bowling trademark once waged a Wikipedia edit war to condemn the “unauthorized” releases of these games — a trademark he only owns because his company bought the rights second-hand for themselves, right out from under the original creators’ noses.
Well, to hell with my plans for the holidays, I guess! It looks like I’m gonna have to put in the hours getting down to the bottom of this incredibly stupid mystery. You know, I really thought I was just picking out an easy little game for myself this month at first? I seriously had no idea what I was getting myself into. But now that I know what I know, I feel obligated to share it with the rest of the world. So, here we go folks: It’s time to thoroughly examine the circumstances and history behind a novelty Flash game from the late 90s, and to dissect its cheap cash-in of a cartridge conversion. Let the festivities begin!