Skee-Ball is a beloved classic arcade game that’s fun for all ages! From playing at a carnival with family to challenging friends at the arcade, Skee-Ball provides endless entertainment and many opportunities for engagement. Now, with Skee-Ball machine rentals, it’s easier than ever to play. Here's everything you need to know about Skee-Ball: its history, why it’s so popular, and how to bring this classic arcade game to your next event.
Why is Skee-Ball so popular?
Play just one round of Skee-Ball, and you’ll quickly see why this game has captured minds and hearts for generations. The whole family can get into Skee-Ball: it’s accessible, easy to play, and simple to learn. This classic game certainly has its tricks -- many longtime players have skill, technique, and focus honed over years of playing -- but those with no prior experience can step right up and have a blast.
Its long history as an arcade and boardwalk staple contribute to Skee-Ball’s place in the hearts and minds of many. Many adults reflect back nostalgically on after-school arcade sessions, where they’d head to the alley with their friends and siblings and play for hours. That loving attachment to Skee-Ball is often passed from adults to kids, not only creating a bonding experience for families, but passing on love for the game to the next generation.
For a game that only lasts a few minutes at most each round, Skee-Ball players stir up a competitive fervor! Players love to try to beat their own high score, hit the most difficult targets, or rank higher than the other people playing beside them.
There’s a prize-winning factor that can’t be forgotten about, either. Winning something at the end entices players to go for more rounds, mastering the game through practice and knowledge in the process. While some Skee-Ball machine rentals don’t give out tickets anymore, it doesn’t mean you can’t give out prizes to winners at your event!
History of Skee-Ball
In December 1908, New Jersey resident Joseph Fourestier Simpson patented his idea for a game that had a “skee-jump” mechanism, which took shape as an alley that would launch balls into different targets. Simpson licensed his idea to John W. Harper and William Nice Jr., who formed Skee-Ball Alley Co. and brought the game to amusement venues around the U.S.
While the game may have made its way to entertainment venues around the country, Skee-Ball is often associated with the world-famous Coney Island boardwalk in Brooklyn, N.Y., where the National Skee-Ball Company trademarked the term “Skee Ball” in 1929. While the company may no longer be headquartered in iconic Coney Island, as of 2016, Skee-Ball machines are still manufactured in the U.S. out of Pulaski, Wisconsin.
In the decades since the National Skee-Ball Company formalized the sport, many Skee-Ball leagues have organized around the game. To this day, competitive Skee-Ball leagues can be found around the U.S., gathering at bars and arcades to top each other’s high scores.
How to play Skee-Ball
The rules of Skee-Ball typically change depending on each league’s rules and the venue’s house rules. Many bars and arcades will place their own twists on rules that do not follow typical Skee-Ball regulations. There are, however, some general guidelines that can help you play.
The main object of the game is to roll the ball up the 10-foot long alley and aim to score as many points as possible by getting the ball in different targets. The targets are labeled with the number of points the player will receive if the ball lands in that specific hole. Various lights and sounds will turn on to indicate when a ball lands in a target.. Alleys normally consist of holes with 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 points available. Some Skee-Ball machines have two corner targets each worth 100 points; they are considered to be the most challenging shot.
Players typically try to aim for the holes placed higher on the target as they are worth more. If a player aims high but winds up missing the desired target, the odds of obtaining a lower score increase as the ball rolls down.
Each player has one frame consisting of nine chances to rack up as many points as they can. Balls come down a chute all at once but only one ball is rolled at a time. Players must stand behind a marked line when rolling. Each ball should be rolled up the ramp with enough force to make it to the target, but also carefully to ensure proper aim. After the player has rolled one frame, the next player takes their turn. For machines that are designed for two players, the game will automatically start each round and select a winner based on points. If the machine is programmed for single player use, competitors will begin the rounds when ready and keep track of their points after each turn.
What makes Skee-Ball the perfect arcade party game rental
While planning a party or event, it can sometimes be hard to choose which interactive activities will be best suited for your guests. You need to think of the type of event you are having, the theme of your event, and the age of guests. With entertainment around a Skee-Ball machine rental, you’ll be able to please almost everyone!
Here are some reasons why you should rent a Skee-Ball machine for your next party:
- Very easy to learn: The game itself is fairly simple: roll the ball up a ramp and win points by hitting targets. The smaller and harder the target, the more points you win. Plus, since Skee-Ball is so ubiquitous and popular, it’s likely that your event attendees already know how to play. However, if they don’t, everyone will be able to catch on quickly once you briefly explain these rules.
- Family friendly: For parties that include children and adults, Skee-Ball is a great option because everyone can participate easily. Children can play for fun while adults can get more competitive. The sound effects and lights also create an exciting atmosphere to help encourage interaction among all guests!
- Challenging, yet rewarding: While there is a certain technique to the game, it’s not out to “get” you with weird tricks and loopholes. There are no levels to worry about or controls to press -- just practice and get better over time. It may be difficult to score the 100 point holes in the beginning, but you can master it after some practice!
- Quick to play: Depending on the setting of the machine, each player will only take a couple of minutes per turn. Guests won’t wait in line too long to take a turn.
- Play individually or as a team: Your guests can take on Skee-Ball on their own in single-player mode, or you can link multiple Skee-Ball machines for a competition. Players can also be split into teams. This is a great way to boost energy and encourage cheering!
- Play indoors or outdoors: No matter the location of your party, Skee-Ball machine rentals are available for use! As long as you have a source of electricity and protective covering (like a tent or pavilion), the game is all ready to go.
Creative prizes to give away to Skee-Ball winners
If you have played Skee-Ball at an arcade or on the boardwalk before, you probably remember racking up lots of tickets at the end of each round and trading them in for silly toys or prizes. Why not give your attendees something more? There are many other creative giveaway ideas to take your Skee-Ball machine rental to the next level, even if your Skee-Ball machine rental doesn’t give out tickets. Consider some alternative prize options you can award the high scorers:
- Company swag
- Gift cards
- Cash prizes
- T-shirts or hoodies
Get your Skee-Ball machine rental from Phoenix Amusements
Since we opened our doors in 1959, Phoenix Amusements has been focused on creating memorable and unique experiences for event attendees of all kinds. We turn our attention to the details that make your event easy to plan and manage: our Skee-Ball machine rental, and dozens of other arcade game rentals on our website, are available for nationwide delivery and setup. Our trained staff can also manage the event rentals for you, giving your event organizers one less thing to worry about on the day of your event. And when it comes to customer service, we have an open line of communication; we love helping customers find the perfect entertainment for their event.
Our Skee-Ball machine rental is one of our most popular items. Rent a single machine, or line them up with multiple skee ball lanes for the ultimate showdown. This beloved arcade classic is perfect for a carnival, birthday party, trade show event, or any other event where you need to keep gameplay simple and your guests entertained. You can rent our Skee-Ball machine long-term for use in your bar, arcade, restaurant, company break room, and so much more. Looking for something truly special? Consider a customized Skee-Ball machine rental, where we can customize five separate areas -- including the alley -- to display your branding or message.
Regardless of the theme or party type, we at Phoenix Amusements are here to bring your event to the next level. By renting a Skee-Ball machine. Contact Phoenix Amusements today -- we’ll be thrilled to hear from you!