Eight Bowling Alley Animations That I Regret Making for PinBuddies Entertainment Between 2000 and 2010

At the start of the new millennium, I was hired by PinBuddies Entertainment to create a handful of 3D bowling animations that play on the scoreboard when you get a strike, spare, gutter ball, etc. Now that bowling centers across America are updating their systems with newer animations, I’ve been reflecting on my work. These are the ten animations I regret the most.

Caveman, 2001

When you roll a strike, the ball turns into a caveman on the screen and knocks the pins over with his club. This was one of the first animations I produced and the quality of the art is subpar.

Smoking Gun, 2002

Video footage of an attractive woman appears on screen with her backside to the viewer. She is wearing low-cut jeans and a paisley vest. Through her legs, you can see a 3D animated bowling ball knock down all the pins. Then she turns to the camera and blows pretend smoke off of her finger that she’s holding up like a gun. As she turns, the viewer can see a Sheriff’s badge on her vest that says “Donna.” She winks at the camera.

Mafia Hit, 2007

The ball appears in a three-piece suit with a mustache and stabs every pin to death with an ice pick. Later I realized the pins shouldn’t have had an extended death sequence where they struggle on the ground pleading for their life.

Proposal, 2004

Another strike animation. After knocking down all the pins, the bowling ball comes through the ball return wearing a nice button-up shirt. The same woman (“Donna”) appears wearing a dress. The bowling ball gets onto one knee and an animated hand pulls a ring out of its thumb hole. “I love you, Donna. Will you marry me?” appears in a word bubble. I made this one to propose to Donna in real life. It was accidentally bundled with the other animations and shipped out to bowling centers by PinBuddies.

Rambo, 2008

The ball ties a red bandana around its head and pulls out a machine gun. It shoots all of the pins. This one got complaints for the spare version, where the ball sneaks up behind each pin left and slits its throat with a combat knife. There’s a lot of blood. I’m told I shouldn’t have included text that said “The pins choked to death on their own severed tongues.”

Adventurous Explorer, 2005

If you roll a gutterball, the bowling ball swings onto the screen dressed like Indiana Jones. Then he’s chased by an even bigger ball until he dives out of the way into the gutter and a word bubble appears that says “I’m Indiana Jones!” This provoked a massive copyright lawsuit, forcing me to forgo two years of my salary from Pinbuddies.

The Split, 2006

Anytime there’s a split with four pins left, Donna comes onto the screen in her jeans and vest and says, “Finish what you started, cowboy!” in a word bubble. If you then roll a gutter ball, she comes back and says, “Before we got married my mom warned me about you!” Then the ball responds, “Please, Donna, I’m trying my best to give you the life you deserve.” Another word bubble forms over Donna’s head that says, “What life? I married you, but you’re married to the computer and those fucking bowling animations!” Then the ball says, “What puts food on our table?!?” and Donna quickly retorts, “My job as a nurse!” and then that shuts the ball up pretty fast.

This was probably too personal.

Jurassic Ball, 2009

The ball turns into a T. Rex and bites the head off of the lead pin. The rest of the pins run screaming but are torn to shreds, intestines spilling out onto the lane. The T. Rex slips on the intestines and breaks its neck. That part doesn’t even make sense.

The Open Frame, 2010

If you miss a spare, a pin will turn into a 3D-animated woman who looks awfully like the woman from the other animations (“Donna”), only with a snaggle tooth and an eye patch and a big scar on her cheek. The pin woman will hold up her pointer finger and thumb close together and a word bubble will appear that says “You missed because you’re a small-dicked loser.” Then a ball from another lane will walk over and she’ll start making out with it for an extended period of time.

This one got a lot of complaints from parents. Probably because it was too long.

The Crash, 2000

If you leave two pins on the first ball but pick up the spare, the ball climbs into an airplane that then crashes into the pins. They really should have pulled this one from the rotation a lot sooner for obvious reasons.

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